Culpeper Kicks Off Women’s History Month with Cornelia Hancock

March 12, 2024 Updates

Culpeper Kicks Off Women’s History Month with Cornelia Hancock Image

Earlier this month, Visit Culpeper unveiled the latest Civil War Trails site which puts guests in the footsteps of Cornelia Hancock, a young trailblazing pioneer of medical care. The new site is located at Shiloh Church, 15055 Stevensburg Rd. in Brandy Station, Virginia. In addition to Cornelia’s inspiring story being developed as a site for visitors, Old Trade Brewery, a women-owned business has created a beer to honor her.

The new sign was researched and originally written by Karen Quaintance, a Culpeper resident, Registered Nurse, and staff member at the Culpeper Museum of History. Her guidance enabled the Civil War Trails team and Visit Culpeper staff to review the story alongside the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, noted Culpeper and Civil War historians and travelers of all ages and interests levels. The response to Cornelia’s story was singular.

“What a tough young woman,” said Drew Gruber, Executive Director of Civil War Trails. “She was inspiring not only here in Culpeper but her entire life is one inspirational story which resonated with our review committee.” The Civil War Trails team was equally excited when Shiloh Church, whose structure sits at the base of the ridge where the she camped and was photographed alongside the Union Army of the Potomac. Pastor Reese Washington said, “We at Shiloh are honored to offer a place of remembrance and history.”

Culpeper, VA currently offers 8 Civil War Trails sites but this ninth site will be the first dedicated to telling the story of a courageous woman. Cornelia at the age of 24, defied socio-political norms of the era, a lack of support from superiors, and undeterred by active military operations made a noticeable impact in service of her nation. Paige Read, Director of Tourism and Town Economic Development said, “Cornelia’s story reminds us the Civil War wasn’t just limited to men in uniforms.” Paige continued, “No spoilers but alongside Cornelia we are developing a second story which we are also confident will help bring new audiences to Culpeper who will want to stand in the footsteps of tenacious women.”

Each Civil War Trails site is marketed internationally by state tourism offices, regional destination marketing organizations, and municipal partners. This means the educational product is part of a much larger economic development mission. According to the Civil War Trails organization the average visitor is growing younger, spending about $1,100 per trip with a specific focus on locally owned eats, drinks, lodgings, and especially outdoor activities. Adding new stories like this one will help continue to attract this audience to places like Culpeper.

“Telling these stories is important to understanding Virginia’s history,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Having these stories widely available will attract new visitors to the area and allow them to gain new travel experiences.”

Inspired by her story? Snap a #signselfie when you visit the new site and post it with #womenshistorymonth, #civilwartrails and @visitculpeperva. To find out more about the new Civil War Trails site, or the beer produced by Old Trade Brewing in honor of Cornelia contact Nicole Warner, Communications & Marketing Manager for Visit Culpeper at 540-729-4658 or NWarner@culpeperva.gov. For more information about the multi-state Civil War Trails program contact Drew Gruber, at 757-378-5462 or executivedirector@civilwartrails.org.


Editorial Note: We hope the following photos and captions will help promote the site, the story, and this project. We do not recommend publishing, printing, or posting a photo which shows the entire sign content. Doing so actually decreases visitation.

Culpeper CWT 1. Nicole Warner (left) from Visit Culpeper and Pastor Reese Washington (right) from Shiloh Church place the new Civil War Trails interpretive sign. There are 9 Civil War Trails sites in County, over 560 in Virginia and over 1,500 across the nation but few tell the stories of tenacious women like Cornelia Hancock. Courtesy, Civil War Trails, Inc.

Culpeper CWT 2. Drew Gruber, Executive Director of Civil War Trails, Inc. installs the directional “trailblazer” sign at the entrance to the site located at 15055 Stevensburg Rd., Brandy Station, Virginia. Courtesy, Civil War Trails, Inc.

Culpeper CWT 3. Chris Brown, Assistant Director of Civil War Trails, Inc. squares up the new sign. Although the landscape isn’t as open as it was when Cornelia Hancock was photographed there during the Civil War the sign helps visitors better image the place as they stand in her footsteps. Courtesy, Civil War Trails, Inc.