Monday, February 01, 2010

News---Looking For A Camp, Finding A Battlefield

In Search of the Battle of Appomattox Station, Chris Calkins, News Advance, Lynchburg, Virginia, January 31, 2010.

Chris Calkins inadvertently stumbled upon the lost battlefield of Appomattox Station while searching for what he believed was a Union army campsite.

He was led there by a sentence in the Official Report of Brig. Gen. Alfred Gibbs: “The brigade camped for a night (April 9) at a wood near Martin’s house, one mile in the rear of Appomattox Court House.” Calkins then referred to a 1867 topographical map of the “Appomattox Court House and Vicinity” and identified two houses next to each other, each named Martin.

Armed with this information, Calkins looked at a present-day map of the area and, surprisingly, found that the two houses were still there, tucked away behind a school and trucking company in the town of Appomattox.

Calkins then went to scout out the property with a metal detector and, to his surprise, began turning up iron canister rounds and other artillery remnants. It turned out that the camp Calkins had originally sought was in another area entirely and misidentified by Gibbs as “Martin’s” when, in fact, the house was named “Morton’s.” The mishap, however, led Calkins to the lost battlefield of Appomattox Station, which he later confirmed with the aid of a diary sketch by Union cavalryman Roger Hannaford.

Chris Calkins, who wrote of his discovery in The Civil War Preservation Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine, in an article titled In Search of the Battle of Appomattox Station.

Text and Image Source: News Advance, Lynchburg, Virginia

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