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History calendar: Emancipation, P.T. Barnum, and the Civil War Soldier

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Town & County’s History Calendar for week of April 15-21, 2012


“New Discoveries About Mary Ball Washington and Her Children.”   7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 19.  Laura Galke, an archaeologist with the George Washington Foundation at Ferry Farm, will present an illustrated talk on new research into the   mother of the United States’ first president. At the George L. Gordon Jr. Government Center,  1300 Courthouse Road, off  U.S.   1 in Stafford.

Anne Frank: Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 19.  Sid Jacobson, author of “Anne Frank: The Authorized Graphic Biography,”  will speak about the Holocaust diarist, at George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium, University of Mary Washington. Free;;  540/654-1065.

Brandy Station Foundation Annual Dinner.   6–9 p.m., Friday, April 20.  Brandy Station Volunteer  Fire Department Hall, 19601 Church Road, Brandy Station.  After dinner, historian Daniel Beattie will present “If You Want to Have Fun, J’ine  the Cavalry’: What Cavalry Really Did in the Civil War.”    Beattie is author of “Brandy Station 1863: First Step Towards Gettysburg.” Book available for purchase.  Contact Cecilia Schneider–Vial at 540/718-3654 or

“Years of Anguish: Slavery and Emancipation.”  1–5 p.m., Saturday, April 21, Fredericksburg Baptist Church. Nationally renowned historians David Blight  of Yale University and Thavolia Glymph of Duke University will speak at the third annual lecture series, part of the region’s commemoration of  the Civil War’s 150th anniversary. Free. Visit;    click on Special Events.

P.T. Barnum: Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 24.  Neil Harris, author of “Humbug: The Art of P.T. Barnum,”  will speak about the legendary showman at George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium, University of Mary Washington. Free;;  540/654-1065.

“Ezra Carman and the Maryland Campaign of 1862.”  Wednesday, April 25.  Dr. Thomas G. Clemens will address the Civil War Round Table  of Fredericksburg about the Battle of Antietam’s first official historian, who was himself a veteran of the Civil War’s bloodiest single day. At University of Mary Washington’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center, 1119 Hanover St. Bar opens  5:45 p.m., social 6 p.m., dinner 6:45 p.m., program 7:30 p.m. Advance reservations   required, 540/361-2105.  Men should wear coats and ties;  equivalent attire for ladies. Supper: $30, members; $35,  others. By noon   Friday, April 20, call 540/361-2105 or email to make reservations.

The Civil War Soldier: Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 26.  Virginia Tech professor emeritus James I. Robertson Jr.,  author of “The Untold Civil War: Exploring the Human Side of War,”  will speak about soldiers and soldiering, at George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium, University of Mary Washington. Free;;  540/654-1065.

Cash in the Attic Weekend.  On Friday, April 27, the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center holds its 15th annual Silent Auction and Gala at the Jepson Alumni Center of the University of Mary Washington.   Tim Luke of the HGTV series “Cash in the Attic” will serve as auctioneer. The independent consultant formerly worked at Christie’s auction house in New York City, and has appeared on   programs including PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow.” Cocktails  at 6 p.m., sit-down dinner at 7 p.m., live auction at 8 p.m.   Make reservations for auction and gala  at The Museum Store;  $100/person or $175/couple.  Businesses may sponsor a table of  10 for $1,500. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, several appraisers will be   in Market Square,  behind  Town Hall/Market House, to appraise personal objects, antiques and heirlooms.

Civil War tours, dinner, silent auction, Friday–Sunday, April 27–29, during Central Virginia Battlefields Trust’s 2012 Annual Meeting.  On Friday, National Park Service historians   Greg Mertz and Eric Mink, joined by historian–preservationist   Clark  “Bud” Hall, will lead tours of  Cedar Mountain  and  Brandy Station battlefields in Culpeper and two antebellum homes, Auburn and Rose Hill. On Friday, there will be a dinner at the historic Inn at Kelly’s Ford;   J.E.B. Stuart   IV will give a talk, “Jeb Stuart, The Making of the Man: The Pre-War Years,” about his ancestor. Kelly’s Ford is where Confederate Maj. John Pelham was killed. At Saturday’s dinner,  Robert K. Krick will present “Some Amazing and Amusing Anecdotes From the Early Days of Battlefield Preservation Around Fredericksburg.” Dinner includes annual trust meeting,  drinks, silent auction.  Sunday, breakfast and  tour  of private White Oak Museum in Stafford. Mink will lead tour of the grounds of Brompton,  wartime  residence of Virginia secession convention delegate John Marye. Reserve by email,,  at  540/374-0900 or via Event site is Country Inn & Suites, 5327 Jeff Davis Highway, Spotsylvania.

“To Freedom,” Friday–Sunday, May 4– 6.  Includes bus and walking tours of Stafford’s Trail to Freedom, with stops  including Old Mill Park, Union Church, Chatham, Lincoln Review sites, Brooke Station and Aquia Landing. Ferry Farm,  childhood home of George Washington, and Kenmore, home of Washington’s sister Betty, will host re-enactments of the escape of slaves into freedom. Culminates  May 5 in historic Fredericksburg’s Riverfront Park on Sophia Street at old Shiloh Baptist Church, the former African American Baptist Church. Community invited to participate in brief ceremony. Participants will carry stones to  field below  City Dock and shed them as a symbol to crossing into freedom. Music, theater and storytelling will follow. Known names of 300 of  10,000 slaves who crossed into freedom will be read, followed by a light display across the river.  For more  on sesquicentennial  events, see or

“Beyond Gettysburg: The Life of Richard S. Ewell” Monday, May 14.  Ewell biographer Don Pfanz, staff historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, will address Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table during its meeting at Brock’s Riverside Grill, 503 Sophia St. Fredericksburg. Social, 6 p.m.; dinner, 6:45 p.m.; program, 7:30 p.m. Dinner reservations due by Wednesday, May 9: Questions? Call Gene Beverly, 540/775-3711.

“Songs and Remembrances of the Civil War.” Saturday, May 19. Robert E. Lee’s birthplace, Stratford Hall Plantation  in Westmoreland County, Northern Neck, hosts concert by the Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg.

Spotsylvania Civil War Weekend and Re-enactment.  Saturday and Sunday, May 19–20, Spotsylvania Courthouse Village, corner of Old Battlefield Boulevard and Spotsylvania Courthouse Bypass.  9 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Sunday:  interpreters, sutlers, speakers, vendors will bring Civil War to  life. Children will experience civilian and military life. Battles held 2 p.m., Saturday and 1:30 p.m., Sunday. Rain dates: 2 p.m., June 16 and 17.

President Lincoln  in Stafford and Fredericksburg. Historian Jane Hollenbeck Conner will speak  at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24,  about  Lincoln’s many wartime visits to the front line here.  Part of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Lecture Series at the England Run Branch of Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 806 Lyons Blvd. 540/899-1703;


Civil War Balloon Corps.   11 a.m. to 3 p.m., April 28. Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site hosts a Civil War 150th  living-history program with “Professor Thaddeus Lowe” and a partial, full-scale reproduction of a 19861 Union Army observation balloon. Free. 4301 West Braddock Road, Alexandria.; 703/746.4848.

Please enter information at; select “History” category. You may also email (subject: History Calendar), or fax to 540/373-8455. Deadline: Noon Thursday preceding  the section’s Tuesday publication. Questions: 540/368-5029.