February 1, 2009

Stoneman's Station

There are several photos that show Stoneman's Station on the USMRR Aquia Line. What is not clear to me, was Stoneman's Station (or Stoneman's Switch" as shown on the map on my earlier post) a station on the original RF&P or just a military station?

The Union Cavalry commander at this time was General George Stoneman. He lead the Union cavalry of the Army of the Potomac until spring 1863 when Hooker relieved him of command. But he soon returned to field service in the western theaters. He was once captured, becoming the highest ranking Union officer prisoner of the war. Once paroled, he lead several famous raids deep in Confederate territory as the war wound down.

It was a common practice for USMRR to name stations after the commander's of the units the station served. I have searched my RF&P references and did not see a mention of Stoneman's Station. The earliest time table I have on the RF&P was 1871, and it only shows Brooke Station, but no Stoneman's Station. The current VRE has a station stop at Brooke and Leland Road, which is very close to where Stoneman's Station was. But I conclude that Stoneman's Station was named after General Stoneman.

There are several photos in the Library of Congress showing views of Stoneman's Station. Four are shown here.

In comparing the scenes of the railroad station area, it is not clear to me that the third photo is the same location as the first two images. The track and buildings don't match up. The dirt pile in front of the loading platform is not visibile in the third photo. The caption for the third photo has the word "Stoneman's" scratched out and the word, "Brandy" replacing it. But is cataloged in the LoC as "Stoneman's."

This shot shows a typical winter camp scene. Note how the tents have log walls at the floor level.

There is also a picture of a large bakery named after Stoneman, but I suspect it is not on the Aquia line, as a fairly large city can be seen in the background.

During the winter, several Union units were stationed near Stoneman's Station. This Paul Strain painting shows the 20th Maine marching to battle from Stoneman's Station.

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