In May 2020, Friends of Cedar Mountain, a preservation organization located in Culpeper, received a grant to undertake field research on the Rapidan Front. The grant was awarded by the National Park Service through the American Battlefield Protection Program. This grant was one of four awarded in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The area of study encompasses Somerville Ford, Raccoon Ford, and Morton’s Ford along the Rapidan River, and the 1863-1864 winter encampment of the Army of the Potomac north of the river in Culpeper County.
As stated in the grant application, “The overarching goal of this 2020 grant is the protection of Civil War battlefields, encampments, and associated sites throgh achieving enhanced documentation. The majority of the grant research funding will focus on amassing heretofore unrevealed documentation that will establish an outcome that this area will finally be recognized for its nationl significance. Researchers will concurrently document other nationally significant pre- and post-war histories that occurred on the Civil War landscape. This will lend greater depth to our understanding and interpretation of the battlefields and the war, in a historic continuum.” The cultural landscape assessment will yield a layered look at the area’s history that includes Native American, African American, farming, post-European settlement and other resources.
Field and documentary research will be undertaken by a team composed of architectural historians, Civil War historians and archeologists.
This study effort forms a major portion of the the Middle Piedmont Virginia Civil War landscape mapped by a 2013 ABPP grant, which laid the groundwork for smaller and more detailed cultural landscape evaluations such as this new effort.