Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Elstner to Speak Monday on Ellwood: Reserve a Seat Now

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Carolyn Elstner, whose family was the last private owner of the Wilderness battlefield’s only surviving pre-Civil War house, will addresses the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table, on Monday evening, Nov. 11.

Elstner, who has been instrumental for many years in restoring Ellwood and opening the circa-1790 plantation mansion as the battlefield’s de facto visitors center for Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, will share its history.

The Round Table meets at Brock’s Riverside Grille, 503 Sophia St. Social 6 p.m., dinner 6:45 p.m., program 7:30 p.m. Dinner reservations due before Nov. 7; email

The public is welcome to the attend the whole meeting—or drop in for the program only. See

The grave marker in Ellwood’s family cemetery for the amputated left arm of Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

This engraving on display at Ellwood shows the house’s position during the Civil War. A National Park Service sign reads: ‘Ellwood appears in the center of this wartime engraving by artist Edwin Forbes. Drawn from a point overlooking the Wilderness Tavern, the engraving shows Union troops and wagons moving forward on three major roads: the Orange Turnpike (modern Route 20), the Germanna Plank Road, and the Parker’s Store Road. Fifth Corps artillery crowns the ridge around Ellwood, while the headquarters wagons of Generals Ulysses S. Grant and George C. Meade rest quietly on a nearby knoll. Note the clouds of smoke indicating the fighting on the Orange Plank Road (left) and the Orange Turnpike.’

TOP PHOTO shows Ellwood in 1963. The house was sold in 1971 to the National Park Service. Many famous people have visited the house, including the Marquis de Lafayette and President Warren G. Harding.

MORE EVENTS from this week’s History Calendar in the Town & County section: