On Friday, April 30th, the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield and Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park celebrated the completion of a restoration/exhibit project at Ellwood Manor on the Wilderness Battlefield.
Deputy Regional Director Mike Reynolds spoke at the dedication ceremony, praising the Friends for their truly collaborative work with the National Park Service
The project involved the restoration of the first floor of the house and the installation of exhibits telling the story of both the battle and the house. Two rooms contain exhibits, while a third is restored to its Civil War appearance. Digital programs allow visitors to receive an introduction to the battle, including a program entitled "Be the Commander" in which they are faced with the same decisions faced by generals Grant and Lee on the battlefield.
The Friends have thus far put $380,000 into restoration of the house. Part of that money was used as a match for a $248,000 Centennial Challenge grant for the exhibits. The Friends also staff the house and maintain the grounds.
Built in the 1790's, Ellwood served as the headquarters of two Union generals – Warren and Burnside – during the Battle of the Wilderness. It is the only surviving period structure on the battlefield.