Groundbreaking for New Memorial Site Honoring African American History

Howard Lambert (Freedom Foundation) and Adam Gillenwater (PEC) discuss plans for the memorial.

Earlier this winter, The Piedmont Environmental Council was proud to join with The Freedom Foundation, Reverend Douglas T. Greene of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and members of the Tingler family, at the groundbreaking for a new memorial site in Culpeper County. Once complete, the site will honor the contribution of United States Colored Troops (USCTs) during the Civil War, as well as the history of nearby Maddens Tavern and Ebenezer Baptist Church. 

Located near the intersection of Rt. 610 and Rt. 724, along Maddens Tavern Road, directly across from Ebenezer Baptist Church, the memorial will include an obelisk/monument dedicated to the USCT soldiers and 3 Civil War Trail markers (one on Madden’s Tavern, one on Ebenezer Baptist Church, and one on the 4th division 9th Corps USCT soldiers), as well as parking and a bench.  

The first site of its kind in Culpeper County:

Howard Lamert
Howard Lambert of the Freedom Foundation.

Howard Lambert, Founder and President of the Freedom Foundation (and Culpeper native!) started off the groundbreaking by saying, “this is near and dear to my heart. It’s been a long time in the making – it’s been years. So today is certainly a historic day…it is the first site, to my knowledge, given all the history in Culpeper County, dedicated to the African-American experience during the Civil War….in part, but not just that, also the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which came after the war, and also we have the historic Madden’s Tavern, which existed prior to the Civil War. So the site is designed to encompass all three coming together.”

“This is very historic in more ways than one. It’s historic in terms of Culpeper County because it’s the first historic location – with all the rich history of Culpeper County – dedicated to recognizing the sacrifice and contributions of United States Colored Troops.” 

The Freedom Foundation has identified at least 120 USCTs who identified Culpeper, VA as their place of birth. On May 8, 1864, approximately 300 yards from Maddens Tavern, 9th Virginia Cavalry troops executed at least 3 USCT prisoners who were captured guarding the Union supply line. 

“We don’t know their names, but we know what happened – this is dedicated to those men, who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Howard said during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Video from the groundbreaking:

Additional Detail / Next Steps:

The land itself is owned by members of the Tingler and Hawkins families, who have provided an easement for the memorial site. Across from the proposed educational area between the tavern and the church, the 119-acre Madden’s Tavern historic site is protected with a conservation easement held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  

The Piedmont Environmental Council raised $25,000 to provide for the interpretive signage, obelisk, landscaping, and site development.

The memorial should be completed spring / summer of 2021. Stay tuned for more detail!

Helpful Links:

  • Learn more about the Freedom Foundation.
  • Howard Lambert’s remarks were recorded by PEC’s Kat Imhoff and are available via Youtube.
  • Photos of the groundbreaking were taken by Bri West, PEC. The full album is available on Flickr.