Home of Brandy Station Foundation, Graffiti House served as a headquarters and field hospital for both sides during the Civil War. The soldiers who stayed there made charcoal drawings and inscriptions on the walls that give us a glimpse into their lives. One wall sports the giant curlicue initials of Union cavalry officer George Custer, and on another the modest signature of Confederate cavalry officer J.E.B. Stuart. There are cartoons, gibes against 'Jeff Davis', boasts about 'giving the Yanks Hell,' and even a little 19th century potty humor.

The house was built in 1858 and most likely served as a commercial structure as it fronted the Orange & Alexandria Railroad. Civil War battles raged all around Brandy Station - a town probably named for the most popular beverage served at the local tavern - and soldiers and supplies were transported to the battlefields along the railroad. In the decades following the war the walls of Graffiti House were covered by paint, wallpaper, and even paneling by its various occupants. By the 1990s the house had fallen into ruin. Miraculously, a member of a salvage crew serendipitously tugged at a piece of peeling wallpaper and discovered the historic graffiti underneath.

A Portrait of Lt. Lyman C. Gale, 10th Vermont Infantry, is on display at The Graffiti House at Brandy Station Foundation along with a charcoal graffiti drawing of Lt. Gale's Lady.

For over 20 years Brandy Station Foundation has been dedicated to the tasks of stabilizing and restoring the once ramshackle Civil War era building as well as the delicate work of uncovering and preserving the historic graffiti that lies under decades of paint and plaster.

Three upstairs rooms showcase the bulk of the graffiti left by Civil War soldiers who served in the Battle of Brandy Station and other actions in the Culpeper area. The Foundation offers fascinating guided tours that take you through the graffiti-filled rooms and into the lives of the soldiers who left their marks there. More graffiti has been uncovered in some of the downstairs rooms as well, and the Foundation has created a 'Hall of Honor' wall for the descendants of soldiers who fought at Brandy Station to write their own names and graffiti.

The Graffiti House features a museum containing exhibits and artifacts as well as a media room and gift shop. The staffed visitor center provides local battlefield information and offers battlefield tours, seminars and special events.

Pictured at the very top: The restored ca. 1858 Graffiti House is home to Brandy Station Foundation.

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On the left is a drawing of 'Lt. Gales Lady', a lady who apparently visited the lucky Lt. Gale while he was staying at Graffiti House, and on the right is a fierce caricature of 'Jeff Davis'.

Union Gen. George C. Custer signed the walls of Graffiti House while on a visit here. Brandy Station Foundation received guidance from the Smithsonian on the painstaking process of uncovering the graffiti.

Another drawing depicts a man in a bowler hat facing a horse's rear end. A caption above the man's head reads, 'He smells a rebel.'

Graffiti House features a Civil War medicine exhibit with interpretive panels and artifacts.

Historical Photo

Brandy Station Foundation purchased the dilapidated ca. 1858 Graffiti House and restored it to its former glory to serve as a museum and visitors center.