Columns and stories of life from the Fredericksburg area.
Town & County section’s History Calendar for week of May 13-19:
“Songs and Remembrances of the Civil War.” 9:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 19. Robert E. Lee’s birthplace, Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County. Concert of Civil War-era music by the Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg, living history, heirloom document scanning by the Library of Virginia. Learn about the Civil War in the Northern Neck. Genealogy expert Laura Hazel will give tips on researching Civil War ancestors. Library of Virginia staff members will digitize 1861–65 photos, documents and artifacts for inclusion in the 150th Legacy Project; bring items to the duPont Library. To register, call 804/493-1972 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Drills by Civil War re-enactors include 53rd Virginia, Company H, Mattaponi Guards and the Original Richmond Howitzers bivouacking on the Oval. Diorama on action at Camden, on loan from Steamboat Era Museum. Admission includes Great House tour. $10/ adults; $5/children; under 5 free. Friends of Stratford and donors to Library of Virginia Project, free. StratfordHall.org; 804/493-8038.
150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Visit to Stafford, Chatham and Fredericksburg. Saturday, May 19. National Park Service hosts programming to commemorate sesquicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln’s visit here during the Union occupation of 1862. At 10 a.m., NPS historian John Hennessy will lead “Mr. Lincoln’s Fredericksburg,” a 90-minute walk tracing Lincoln’s footsteps during his May 23, 1862, visit to Fredericksburg. Meet at City Dock, lower Sophia Street. Free. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., historian Jane Conner will be at Chatham in southern Stafford to sign and discuss her book “Lincoln in Stafford.” From 2 to 3 p.m., join NPS historians Donald Pfanz and John Hennessy for “Rambling Man: Lincoln’s Visits to his Virginia Army” in the shade of Chatham’s “witness trees” to discuss Lincoln’s many visits to the Army of the Potomac, including his April 1863 review of the army in Stafford and 1865 visit to City Point and Richmond, just days before his death. Free. Lawn chairs recommended. From 3:30 to 4 p.m., Hennessy will present “Lincoln in 1862: The Great Arbitrator,” discussing efforts to keep a teetering Union war effort on track. Lawn chairs recommended. Free. Built in 1771, Chatham served as a Union headquarters and hospital during the Civil War. nps.gov/frsp; 540/ 654-5121 or 540/373-6122.
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. Living-history interpreters, sutlers, speakers, vendors. Children will experience civilian and military life. Battles, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Taps bugle ceremony 8 a.m. Sunday at Confederate Cemetery opposite battle site at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Rain dates: 2 p.m. June 16 and 17; spotsylvaniacivilwar.com.
“Bricks and Boards in the ’Burg.” Join the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center and Hallowed Ground Tours on Saturdays for architectural walking tours of historic downtown. Hour-long tours depart Market Square/Town Hall at 10 a.m. They highlight four centuries of history and architecture, Rappahannock River, spires and steeples of Princess Anne Street, Fredericksburg’s Town Hall, Market House and Market Square; $4/adults, $1/children. Discounted museum admission for walk participants. Hallowed Ground Tours: 540/809-3918.
“Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service in the Closing Days of the Civil War.” Wednesday, May 23. Author David W. Gaddy, a former senior cryptologic executive with the National Security Agency, will address the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg. Gaddy, who has been called “the pre-eminent expert pertaining to Civil War-era espionage,” is the last surviving co-author of the breakthrough history book “Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln.” 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. Reservations required, 540/361-2105. Coat and tie, equivalent attire for ladies. $30/members, $35/others—cash or check at door; civilwarroundtablefredericks burg.com.
President Lincoln in Stafford and Fredericksburg. Historian Jane Hollenbeck Conner, author of “Lincoln in Stafford,” will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 24. Coordinates with library’s Sesquicentennial Series. Afterward, Conner will display never-before-seen item from Lincoln’s funeral procession. Her books will be available at a reduced rate; all proceeds go to Stafford Museum Fund. Event is part of Civil War Sesquicentennial Lecture Series at England Run branch of Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 806 Lyons Blvd., off U.S. 17 in southern Stafford; 540/899-1703; librarypoint.org.
Preschool Palette. 10 a.m. Thursday, May 24. Classes at Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont introduce art and art museums to children 2 to 5. Students will enjoy a picture book, view original art and make an art project. Michelle Crow–Dolby, 540/654-1851, garimelchers.org. 224 Washington St., Falmouth.
Tour of Fredericksburg city, Confederate cemeteries. 6:30–8 p.m., Saturday, May 26. Amateur historian Dan “Big French” Janzegers will cover notables, military burials and local citizens, and highlight his latest research in the third annual version of his walking tour of the City Cemetery and Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg. Janzegers is an honorary member of the Major General John Bankhead Magruder Chapter 258, Military Order of Stars & Bars, and Matthew Fountaine Maury Camp 1722, Virginia Sons of Confederate Veterans. Free. Donations to Fredericksburg City Cemetery are welcome. Rain date: Sunday, May 27.
“Drewry’s Bluff: A Marine’s Perspective 1862–1865.” To commemorate the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff’s 150th anniversary, this newly opened exhibit focuses on Confederate and Union Marines who occupied this James River bend during the Civil War. See Civil War artifacts and Marine uniforms, read about the first U.S. Medal of Honor recipient and the military actions of May 1862. Chesterfield County Museum, open 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Armed Forces Day tours of Fort Ward. Saturday, May 19. Soldiers will lead 90-minute tours in honor of Armed Forces Day. Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Free; weather-dependent. Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site, 4301 West Braddock Road, Alexandria; fortward.org, 703/746-4848.
“If This Valley Is Lost: Preserving the Legacy of Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign.” 6–9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 9. Widow Pence Farm, Cross Keys battlefield near Harrisonburg. 150 years after Jackson’s Valley Campaign climaxed at the Battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, guests will gather for a sesquicentennial program co-sponsored by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. Barbecue dinner, period music, on-site interpretation, living history, youth activities. Guest speakers include Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson Jr., professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and leading Jackson biographer. $20/person, $30/family (two adults and children under 18); youths 13 and under, free. For tickets, download registration form at svbf.net, email email@example.com or call 540/740-4545.
Please enter information at events .fredericksburg.com; select “History” category. You may also email to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: History Calendar), or fax to 540/373-8455. Deadline: noon Thursday preceding the section’s Tuesday publication. Questions: 540/368-5029.