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History Calendar

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Monroe Hall on the University of Mary Washington's Fredericksburg Campus. (WILLIAM CRAWLEY)

Town & County section’s History Calendar for week of April 29-May 5


UMW characters and events: Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 3. In a “Great Lives” lecture-series bonus, William Crawley, author of “University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History,” will speak about interesting individuals and events in UMW’s history. Lecture at Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, UMW. Free;; 540/654-1065.

Music at the Museum: A First Friday Concert Series. Historic Market Square, corner of Princess Anne and William streets. Free, 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. 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. Complete schedule on home page at Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center,

On Saturday, May 5: 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., “River Jordan: Crossing the Rappahannock to Freedom,” a two-act historical drama. The George Washington Foundation will present a performance, interpreting newly discovered research into 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 the Rappahannock to Freedom,” a historical two-act drama at Ferry Farm and Kenmore. (See Saturday item.)

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. Buy tickets at bookstore behind the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, 1013 Lafayette Blvd. For more on Civil War sesquicentennial events, see or

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. Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, Ellwood Manor. Friends of Wilderness Battlefield will commemorate the 148th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness with two full days of living history. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Jackson Foster will display and discuss his collection of Union Gen. U.S. Grant memorabilia. On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. there will be a multitude of presentations and activities. The 13th Virginia Infantry, Company D, will set up camp on the grounds and demonstrate an array of activities, including weaponry, uniforms and other soldiers’ gear, as well as food and cooking practices. The interpreters enjoy the opportunity to interact with inquisitive visitors. Steward Henderson of the 23rd Regiment, United States Colored Troops, will discuss uniforms, gear and stories of the 23rd. The unit’s hospital steward, Kevin Williams–medical kit in tow–will talk about his duties. Men of the original 23rd were born in Spotsylvania and neighboring counties. Denise Benedetto, a local resident, will present “Uncommon Women with Uncommon Courage,” a talk on the rolse of African American women in the Civil War. 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. Admission free; donations always welcome. Visit, or call 540/373-6240 or 786-2880.

Tea and Madeira at Historic Kenmore. 5 —9 p.m., Sunday, May 6. The George Washington Foundation will host a supper, tea and Madeira tasting at Historic Kenmore with Lord Alan Watson, Baron of Richmond, England, and author of “The Queen and the USA.” Watson will share stories and enlighten the group about British tea rituals. Tickets for the event, a fundraiser for GWF, cost $100 and also include a tour of Kenmore, a peek at Ferry Farm artifacts and tasting of Madeira, a fortified wine often enjoyed at the end of an 18th-century meal. For reservations, contact Louise Morton at or 540-373-3381 ext. 18.

Mount Sharon Garden Tour. Orange County’s spectacular, private Mount Sharon Gardens will be open for Mother’s Day touring on Sunday, May 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are available at $20 each, $30 on the day of the event. Accompanied children under age 16 are free. Advance tickets can be purchased by phone, mail or online by contacting Cheryl Greenday, Preservation Virginia, 204 West Franklin St., Richmond, Va. 23220. Call 804/648-1889, ext. 319, or browse Proceeds will benefit the Orange Boys & Girls Club and Preservation Virginia.

“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;


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.