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History Calendar

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Town & County’s History Calendar for the week of April 22, 2012


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.

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. George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium, University of Mary Washington. Free;; 540/654-1065. Video. Robertson is also author of a major biography of Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.

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., 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.

Separately, 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. For $20 per item or $50 for three, participants can meet these nationally renowned appraisers, have items appraised and support the museum. Items may be collectibles of any kind, including household items, art, jewelry, furniture, textiles, toys, coins and equipment. Firearms must be antique. Reservations are not required.

Civil War tours, dinner, silent auction, Friday–Sunday, April 27–29, during Central Virginia Battlefields Trust’s 2012 Annual Meeting. Friday activities, scheduled from 12 to 8 p.m., include a tour of the Cedar Mountain battlefield in Culpeper and 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 Prewar Years,” about his ancestor. Kelly’s Ford is where Confederate Maj. John Pelham was killed. Saturday includes an 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. tour, with Brandy Station as a highlight. At Saturday’s dinner, which begins at 6:30 at Country Inn & Suites in Spotsylvania, 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, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a breakfast and tour of private White Oak Museum in Stafford. There will be a tour of the grounds of Brompton, wartime residence of Virginia secession convention delegate John Marye. Reserve by email to, by calling 540/374-0900 or via Event site is Country Inn & Suites, 5327 Jeff Davis Highway, Spotsylvania.

Ellwood Manor Launches 2012 Season with Living History. 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Saturday, April 28. On Ellwood’s newly restored second floor, John Pelletier will portray a Civil War surgeon and give a presentation on period medical practices. A Civil War nurse will share stories. Ellwood is off State Route 20, a half mile south of State Route 3. The circa-1790 house on the Orange–Spotsylvania line was a Confederate hospital after Battle of Chancellorsville and Gen. G.K. Warren’s headquarters during Battle of the Wilderness.

James Monroe Birthday Celebration. Saturday, April 28: The James Monroe Museum invites you to help celebrate President James Monroe’s 254th birthday with cake and punch, music and stories from Monroe’s era by harpist–storyteller Eve Watters, and living history presentations by actor Jay Harrison. 11 a.m.: Cake service begins. 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Eve Watters, “I Love My Love With an ‘A.’” 2 and 4 p.m.: Living history presentations. Museum will be open, free of charge, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Join Friends of Chatham Night. 4:30–7 p.m., Wednesday, May 2. Friends of Chatham, a new affiliate of Friends of Fredericksburg Area Battlefields, invites you to a behind-the scenes, self-guided tour of Chatham Manor’s three floors, brick dependencies and grounds. Consider joining the group, which is raising funds to enhance and restore circa-1770 Chatham; enjoy light refreshments; and view the traveling exhibition “Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, A Man of All Times.” Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions. Chatham Manor, at 120 Chatham Lane in southern Stafford County, serves as headquarters of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Contact Lynda Baer, acting president of Friends of Chatham, at, or 540/373-3450.

Music at the Museum: A First Friday Concert Series. Historic Market Square, corner of Princess Anne and William streets. 7–9 p.m., on first Friday of each month, with activities for children; 5–9 p.m., free admission to Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. May 4: Fredericksburg’s own street brass band, Elby Brass. June 1, World Jam Club. July 6, Steve Jarrell & Lee Quisenberry of Sons of the Beach, Unit 2. Concerts are free. Aug. 3: Sabor Afrocubano. Sept. 7: Pan Masters Steel Orchestra. Oct. 5: a family-friendly film. 540/371-3037, ext. 135;

“To Freedom: A Celebration.” Saturday and Sunday, May 5–6. A Civil War weekend, hosted by the Fredericksburg–Stafford–Spotsylvania Sesquicentennial Committee, to mark the passage of 10,000 slaves to freedom on the Rappahannock River in the spring and summer of 1862. Includes historical drama, walking tours, bus tours and culminating program of music, performance, words and illumination of 10,000 lights along the Rappahannock River.

On Saturday, May 5: 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., at Ferry Farm, “River Jordan: Crossing the Rappahannock to Freedom,” a historical drama. The George Washington Foundation will present a performance, interpreting newly discovered research, of Civil War stories at Historic Kenmore and George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm. First act will be at Kenmore; second act at Ferry Farm. By reservation only: contact Vickie Hayes, 540/370-0732, Rain or shine. $15 per person. Appropriate for ages 12 and over.

11 a.m.–3 p.m. “A Slave’s World and Beyond, Fredericksburg: A Walking Tour.” Departs Market Square, 904 Princess Anne St., every hour. 75 minutes. Free. A National Park Service program.

6:30 p.m. Culminating Event: “Bearing of the Stones.” A community procession beginning at Riverfront Park Sophia Street, next to Shiloh Baptist Church (Old Site), and proceeding to below City Dock. After a brief ceremony, participants will be asked to carry a small stone, symbolic of one of the known slaves who crossed to freedom in 1862. Along Sophia Street, the procession will pass children reading the names of those whom historians have been able to identify. At the crossing site below City Dock, participants will separate the stones from the names and place the stones—both as a remembrance and as a symbol of the shedding of slavery.

At 7:30 p.m., “Ten Thousand Lights to Freedom” will feature vocalists Anthony Campbell, Jim Thomas and Dana Foddress–Bland. This program will blend music, words of those who were there, theater, readers of power, and storytelling to convey the Journey to Freedom, the Crossing. Sunset program will conclude with illumination of 10,000 lights on far bank of the river, symbolic of the 10,000 who passed to freedom 150 years ago.

On Sunday, May 6: 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., at Ferry Farm and Kenmore. “River Jordan: Crossing to the Rappahannock to Freedom,” a historical drama at Ferry Farm and Kenmore.

1:30 p.m. Traveling the Trail to Freedom: A Bus Tour. Gathers at Market Square in downtown Fredericksburg, and will visit sites in town, John Washington’s crossing site on the Rappahannock, the Moncure Conway House, Chatham, sites associated with Lincoln’s visits, Brooke Station, and Aquia Landing. Presented by NPS historian John Hennessy. Three hours. $20 per person; reservations Required. Call Eastern National at 540/372-3034. For more on sesquicentennial events, see or

Living history at Ellwood Manor. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday, May 5. On the plantation house’s newly restored second floor, Jackson Foster of Spotsylvania will display and discuss his collection of Gen. U.S. Grant memorabilia. Ellwood is off State Route 20, a half mile south of State Route 3. The circa-1790 house on the Orange–Spotsylvania line was a Confederate hospital after Battle of Chancellorsville and Gen. G.K. Warren’s headquarters during Battle of the Wilderness.

Book-signing with author Jeff Toalson. 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Saturday, May 5, at Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center. Toalson’s latest book is “Mama, I Am Yet Still Alive,” a composite diary of 1863 in the Confederacy as seen by Southerners from all walks of life, including soldiers, wives, farmers, clerks, merchants, surgeons, nurses and chaplains. Includes previously unpublished diaries, letters and journals in the archives of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Richmond. Also available: two Civil War books previously edited by Toalson, “No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion” and “Send Me a Pair of Old Boots & Kiss My Little Girls.” 540/786-0759.

10th annual Dinner and Auction, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield. Saturday, May 5. Daniel Technology Center, Germanna Community College, Culpeper. Proceeds benefit the Ellwood Manor Cultural Landscape Project. Reservations:

148th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday, May 6, Ellwood Manor. Visitors will see a Confederate camp site, Union artillerists and members of the 23rd United States Colored Troops. The 13th Virginia, Co. D, will camp on Ellwood’s grounds and demonstrate weaponry, uniforms, gear, food. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park’s cannon crew will fire a 12-pounder Napoleon at 11 a.m., 12, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Programs will highlight the role that cannon played at the Wilderness, and explain how an artillery crew worked together. Denise Benedetto will give a talk “Uncommon Women With Uncommon Courage,” about women in the Civil War. USCT re-enactors will discuss their uniforms, gear and the stories of the 23rd Infantry Regiment as well as other USCT units, especially those that served alongside the 23rd in the 4th Division of Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s 9th Corps. Hospital steward Kevin Williams will discuss his medical kit. The Rev. Hashmel Turner, regimental chaplain and color sergeant, will explain his roles. Men of the 23rd were born in Culpeper, Orange, Rappahannock, Stafford, Spotsylvania and Louisa. Admission free; donations always welcome. Visit, or call Chancellorsville Visitor Center at 540/786-2880.

“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. spotsylvaniacivilwar .com. Volunteers needed; download application at, mail to Debbie Aylor at the Spotsylvania County Department of Economic Development & Tourism. The volunteer coordinator is Mark Wakeman of Friends of Wilderness Battlefield; email him via the Battlefield Volunteers category at

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., Saturday, 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.