The Graffiti House, located in the eastern end of the town of Brandy Station, Virginia, is believed to have been built in 1858 by the local postmaster. It is one of few dwellings in the village built before the American Civil War to survive intact to this day. Because of its location — on the Orange & Alexandria Railroad and adjacent to the village depot — the house was used extensively by both Union and Confederate armies.
Using charcoal from the central fireplace, these soldiers decorated the plaster walls with signatures, drawings, and commentaries on their lives. Today over 200 readable pieces of graffiti survive. The graffiti could have been made by soldiers recuperating in the hospital, by other soldiers posted at Brandy Station, or by soldiers passing through the town.
The graffiti in this house went undetected until a previous owner renovated the building in 1993. The Brandy Station Foundation purchased Graffiti House in 2002.
Location: 19484 Brandy Rd, Brandy Station, VA 22714 (`~45 min. from Fredericksburg)
Hours: Weekday and weekend tours between 11AM and 4PM may be scheduled.
As the Brandy Station Foundation is an all volunteer organization, please call the Graffiti House at 540-317-5581 to verify that they are open. Also, tours by appointment for small groups of up to ten may be scheduled with an advanced reservation time of two weeks; those tours may be scheduled between 11AM and 4PM any day of the week by calling the Foundation at 540-317-5581 to leave a message or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Two years ago in 2021, when we visited Brandy Station, arrangements were made through Bob Gilbert, the volunteer coordinator. We reached him at 716-939-7612. The minimum advance reservation time required is 48 hours. Every effort will be made to accommodate your request, but please have a couple of dates that would work for you. Not sure if he is taking calls for these tours.)
Cost: $5 person
Website: Brandy Station Foundation
Can you find the signature of Michael Bowman of the 7th Virginia Calvary? He was from Harrisonburg, Virginia, and is one of the few soldiers who is documented as having killed an enemy in battle.
Our tour of Graffiti House was fascinating. The guide was very knowledgeable and shared so many interesting stories about the graffiti and the Civil War. At the end of our tour we had a short lesson on civil war drumming and signal flags.
It was interesting seeing the modern day graffiti on the first floor hallway. Visitors who are descendants of soldiers who fought at Brandy Station are invited to sign the wall with graphite pens.
After leaving the Graffiti House, we decided to check out one of the three trails that explores the battlefield at Brandy Station. The Battle of Brandy Station was the largest cavalry battle ever fought on the North American continent. The three trails are near the Culpeper Airport (~3 miles from Graffiti House). We headed to St. James Church Battlefield Trail. The trail was nicely marked, but we were disappointed that the signage was worn and hard to read. This particular trail is a one-mile path that takes you past four wayside signs interpreting the 1863 fighting at St. James Church and the 1863-64 Winter Encampments.
One thought on “Graffiti House – Brandy Station”
This reminds me of a place we visited in Germany called Karzar.
And I love how Number 6 has his arms crossed, as to say they were tough and I can be also. Also to say I will respect history. And I love how delicate Number 5 is touching history to connect and feel the past.
History is a beautiful part of our future, no matter how the circumstances where then. Yes, they were hard times but those men fought with passion and purpose for the future of mankind.
Love this post!