Unlike the more opulent Chatham, Ellwood was no symbol of wealth and power. Ellwood was a prosperous, antebellum agricultural operation of middling size—designed for function, not show. Perched on a knoll overlooking Wilderness Run, Ellwood stood at the center of an extensive 5,000-acre tract of land that encompassed much of what in 1864 would become the Wilderness battlefield.
The Civil War
In 1857, the Lacys purchased Chatham, in southern Stafford, and the family used Ellwood as a summer home, preferring the more palatial Chatham (now park headquarters) as their primary residence. J. Horace Lacy was an ardent defender of slavery and secession. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Lacy evacuated his family from the region, while he took a position in the Confederate army.
Ellwood faced years of neglect and a slow recovery. In 1872, the Lacys moved once again into Ellwood full time. In 1873, the press proclaimed Lacy the “White Man’s Candidate” when he ran for the state legislature. He won and served one term in Richmond. For the rest of his life he was an ardent proponent of the Confederacy and its Lost Cause, often making speeches defending Confederates.
Last updated: October 14, 2023