The Rappahannock County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee elected new officers for 2012 last month. Elected as chair to succeed Brian Taylor, who has led the committee since it was reorganized in January 2011, was Angela Deavers, who was appointed to the committee by the board of supervisors in March 2011. Deavers has a strong interest in the history of the county and a substantial number of contacts here who might be called on as resources for the committee’s activities.
Arthur Candenquist was reelected secretary/treasurer. Also a committee member since January 2011, Candenquist has been an historian, researcher and lecturer on the War Between the States for more than 50 years. He writes the “150 Years Ago This Week” column, appearing in this newspaper and the Page News & Courier in Luray.
Taylor chose to step down due to increasing personal and business responsibilities but vowed to remain active with the committee – which is preparing for a Heritage Days event in the county in late September, tentatively to feature reenactors performing infantry drills and demonstrating the firing of cannon. Also planned are lectures on local history during the war.
In June 1862, the population of Rappahannock County exceeded 65,000 when the Union Army of Virginia was established at Sperryville. The commander of this 60,000-man force was Major General John Pope, who established subordinate commanders and troops in various locations throughout the county, including Washington, Sperryville and Woodville. The county and its permanent residents suffered extensive privations and depredations – including a number of cases of sexual assault – during that summer. Gen. Pope moved his army out in August 1862, engaging Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army at Cedar Mountain in Culpeper County Aug. 9, but Rappahannock County would see military action and occupying Federal troops through the autumn of 1864.
The sesquicentennial committee, which welcomes new members with an interest in the history of the war and of Rappahannock County, meets monthly at the Rappahannock County High School. For more information, contact Art Candenquist at firstname.lastname@example.org.