The President’s 2017 Annual Report of the Civil War Study Group, Inc. Locust Grove, Virginia 

The Civil War Study Group, Inc., and its informal public organization, Civil War Study Group at Lake of the Woods, completed its seventh successful year. 

Attendance at regular monthly meetings continues to exceed 25, sometimes as high as the 50s. We have more than 200 names on our email list. The organization does not have general membership, nor does it have dues. Its officers and directors serve with no remuneration and its projects are funded through donations and an annual golf tournament.


In September, the board expressed its regret on the death of founding member, Vice President and Board Member Dwight Mottet in late August.

Officers elected in late 2016 to serve three-year terms beginning January 1, 2017, were 

President - Charles Brewer

Vice President - Jack Phend

Secretary - Joe Rokus

Treasurer - Boggs Wright

Other Board members are: 

  Craig Rains

                            Bob Johnson

                           Allie Felder

Greg Stoner

In September founding Board member Dwight Mottet passed away.          



February 24.  John Hennessy, NPS Chief Historian in Fredericksburg spoke on the October 1862 bombardment of Fredericksburg.  His talk was titled “Vile Spirits or War Transformed?  The Looting and Bombardment of Fredericksburg.”

March 24.   Eugene D., Betit, PhD, spoke on “The Hite Family in the Civil War.”

April 28.  Pete Rainey, founding member and past President and Chairman of our group, spoke on “An Artist, a Gold Miner and a Writer in the Battle of the Wilderness.”

June 23.  Carolyn Elstner spoke on “Burying the Dead, J. Horace Lacy and the founding of the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery.”

July 28.  Author and historian Frank S. Walker, Jr., spoke on the Mine Run campaign of the winter of 1863.

August 25.  Orange County middle school teacher Rodney Hawkins described his experience at the Civil War Trust’s National Teacher Institute in Memphis during July.  Rodney was this year’s recipient of a $1,000 scholarship towards expenses for the Institute.

September 29.  Board member Bob Johnson explained his use of GPS technology to identify historic trails, skills he used to put together the driving tours he has made available on our website.

October 27.  Annual dinner, 75 in attendance.  Speaker was John Hennessy, NPS, Chief Historian for Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park.  His topic was “Home Disrupted:  A Community Amidst War.”

November 17.  Rebekah Oakes, NPS Historian for Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park spoke on “Still on Parade:  Civil War Veterans and a Usable Past in Great Depression-Era America.”


LAKE OF THE WOODS 50TH ANNIVERSARY. For the first three months of the year, the Lake of the Woods 50th Anniversary special exhibit at the James Madison Museum in the Town of Orange included five items from the Clubhouse display case to become part of Orange’s James Madison Museum exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishing of LOW. Joe Rokus and Charles Brewer coordinated this. The items were returned to the cabinet at the display’s conclusion.   (As a side note, founding member and past President and Chairman Pete Rainey and Charles Brewer were responsible for producing 17 high-quality interpretive panels discussing various aspects of local history as well as the history of Lake of the Woods community for the past 50 years.)

CO-SPONSORED DINNER WITH FRIENDS OF THE WILDERNESS BATTLEFIELD  We co-sponsored with FoWB a March 29 dinner at Lake of the Woods Clubhouse with NPS historian Frank O’Reilly speaking on “The Battle of the Wilderness:  Bloody Road to Peach with Lee and Grant.”  The dinner was oversubscribed, with 140 attendees.

ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOLS HISTORICAL PROJECT. In May, the Civil War Study Group conducted the judging of posters by Locust Grove Elementary School and Lightfoot Elementary School fourth-grade students in the annual History Day Educational Program. Charles Brewer and Jack Phend were in charge of the project that involved several CWSG volunteers who did the judging 

BATTLE OF THE WILDERNESS MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT. This was the seventh year for this major fund-raiser for CWSGI. Jack Phend served as tournament director for the tournament at Lake of the Woods Golf Course. Fifty golfers and a record 27 sponsors helped raise about $3,500.00 for CWSGI projects. LOWVets again set up a raffle during golfers’ check-in and raised several hundred dollars for “Families of the Wounded” and the Hunter Homes McGuire VA Hospital in Richmond.

INFORMATIONAL SIGN INSTALLED AT THE SUSSEX MAIL SUBSTATION:  In June, the board ordered a sign installed at the Sussex Mail Substation on Lakeview Parkway memorializing the Confederate and Union battle lines immediately preceding Gordon’s Flank Attack, part of the Battle of the Wilderness.  This 36” wide by 24” tall panel, designed by Charles Brewer and Craig Rains, was gifted to Lake of the Woods Association, and was erected by LOW Facilities Management late in the month of October.

CO-SPONSORED WITH ORANGE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY THE REPRINT OF A MONOGRAPH COVERING THE MINE RUN CAMPAIGN.  Frank Walker and the Orange County Historic Society gained Civil War Trust approval to reprint a 1969 article titled “The Campaign That History Forgot.”  To allow them to obtain economies of scale, CWSGI agreed to purchase 20 of 50 copies to be printed.

DISPLAY CABINET REDEDICATED.  By unanimous vote, the Board voted in the Spring to rededicate the artifacts display cabinet in memory of Dan Hartwick, a long-time member responsible for the cabinet’s design and construction.  Many of the artifacts in the cabinet were found by Dan, who passed away in 2016.


Respectfully submitted,

Charles Brewer

President Civil War Study Group, Inc.

December 11, 2017