Ellwood Catalpa Tree
The Ellwood Catalpa Witness Tree, Ellwood Plantation, Wilderness battlefield, Virginia (approximately 170 yrs old)
This tree witnessed many things during its long life. Within a year’s span two flags flew over the house: the Confederate Hospital flag and the blue swallowtail flag of the U.S. Army of the Potomac’s Fifth Corps. In 1863, it served as a Confederate recovery hospital for six months following the Battle of Chancellorsville. The family cemetery became the burial site for General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson’s amputated left arm. One year later Union General Gouverneur K. Warren set up his headquarters in the parlor there. Generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant were at the house in 1863 and 1864, respectively.
Ellwood, a circa 1790 home located in the western portion of the Wilderness Battlefield, is significant to the nation because of the role the house and grounds played during the Civil War.
William Jones, the builder of Ellwood, was a very social man and opened his home to America’s founding fathers. He hosted James Madison, James Monroe, “Light Horse” Harry Lee and the Marquis de Lafayette, all of whom arrived for a meal or a several-night stay via the carriage entrance. The Catalpa stood next to this access road. Equidistant from Fredericksburg, Orange and Culpeper, Ellwood was the perfect layover for those traveling by private coach.