I bet you are a little curious as to what this is all about and wondering if Culpeper got any of that $500,000. We may not discover why it took Congress twenty-five years to make this decision, but let’s lift the curtain and see what we find.
The “war claims” noted in the headline pertained to the damage resulting from the American Civil War. I find it interesting that the secondary headline states that the this comes after twenty-five Years of defeats. Using a calculator to avoid even the simplest of mathematical errors, twenty-five was subtracted from 1915. The result is 1890! Are we to understand that despite the 1865 end of the Civil War that claims were not submitted until 1890? One can comprehend a reasonable amount of wait time accounting for political chaos and confusion related to the assassination of Lincoln and general bureaucratic procedures, but twenty-five years before submission seems implausible. In fact, records support that many claims were submitted before 1865. If the headline was not a typographical mistake, then it should be made clear that the claims were approved fifty years after the fact.
Moving beyond the remarkable span between the submission of claims and the receipt of same, the article identifies by county where located which entities were successful. Claims were submitted for damage to property by Union forces. Some destruction transpired during the battles from artillery engagements and subsequent fires as in St. James Episcopal Church at Brandy Station, VA in 1863.
The majority of claims, however, were for damage to buildings used for hospitals, headquarters or the quartering of livestock during the non-combat periods of occupation and winter encampments. In many cases, the buildings were dismantled for the materials. The encampment of an estimated one hundred thousand troops during the winter of 1863-’64 resulted in veritable military cities in three primary locations of Culpeper County: Culpeper Court House, Stevensburg, and Brandy Station. Where there was a shortage of existing housing or none at all, materials were appropriated for huts, chimneys, and walkways.
No doubt, readers are now waiting anxiously to find out who were the fortunate few in Culpeper that received remuneration for their losses and just how much was the sum they collected. Reparations were paid to twelve entities for a total of $12,780-the equivalent of 315,059.90 in 2018. Without further ado, this is what was reported.
To the trustees of the Baptist Church of Culpeper, $1,750.
To the trustees of Fairfax Lodge No. 43, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, of Culpeper, $700.
To the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of Culpeper, $1,850.
To the trustees of the Presbyterian Church of Culpeper, $760.
To the vestry of St. Stephen’s Protestant Episcopal Church, of Culpeper, $1000
To the trustees of Calvary Protestant Episcopal Church, of Culpeper County, $1,650.
To the trustees of the Cedar Grove Church, of Culpeper County, $390.
To the trustees of the Cedar Run Baptist Church, of Culpeper County, $900.
To the trustees of the Chestnut Fork Old School Baptist Church, of Culpeper County, $1,180.
To the trustees of Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal Church, of Culpeper County, $900.
To the trustees of New Salem Baptist Church, of Culpeper County, $1000.
To the wardens and vestrymen of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, of Culpeper County, $700.
The 1915 list suggests that some of these churches have been renamed, no longer exist or were misidentified as being in Culpeper. All fodder for another article.
Until next week, be well.
This column was published on 04/26/18 in The Culpeper Times www. culpepertimes.com