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History Calendar, week of June 17

MORE: Read more Spotsylvania County news

War correspondent Edwin Forbes sketches a cavalry charge near Culpeper Court House. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

Please enter information at Select “History” category. You may also email (subject: History Calendar), or fax 540/373-8455. Deadline: noon Thursday preceding Tuesday publication. 540/374-5461.


“Voices and Footsteps: The Bloody Angle.” 7 p.m., Friday, June 22. History at Sunset tour. Meet at McCoull House, Tour Stop 5, Spotsylvania battlefield. Free. See or Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park’s Facebook page.

Belmont–Ferry Farm Trail Day. 9 a.m.–noon on Saturday, June 23. Celebrate opening of first part of long-awaited scenic trail from Gari Melchers’ Home and Studio in historic Falmouth to Chatham Manor. Walk, bike or run. Interact with displays and activity stations. Free;

Historic Port Royal’s Independence Day Celebration. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 4. Features reading of the Declaration of Independence; St. Andrew’s Legion Pipes and Drums; period musicians Evergreen Shade; 18th-century dancing demonstrations by the Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Society; living-history encampment; surrey rides; period children’s games, and more. historicportroyal .com.

Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center Summer Camp. July 18–July 20. Each day, the camp will feature a different Fredericksburg local who will help the students create art using a different medium inspired by the natural environment. At the conclusion of the camp, students’ artwork will be displayed in the museum. Details: Call 540/371-3037, email or visit

“The Rappahannock: A River to Freedom,” Civil War bus tour. 1–5 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Clark “Bud” Hall, noted Civil War historian and author, will lead this first-of-a-kind tour. Organizers have secured permission to visit rarely or never–seen spots that include a phenomenal mountaintop view of the county, Union encampment sites, a large slave-holding plantation, a celebrated river crossing used by refugees, and places reflecting the return of former slaves as members of the United States Colored Troops. The four-hour tour highlights the 150th anniversary of U.S. Gen. John Pope’s establishing his headquarters in Culpeper County. Pope introduced Virginians to a new federal policy that military historians call “total war.” Civilians were arrested, and dozens fled the county. Whites headed south; blacks set their sights on the northern banks of the Rappahannock River. Hall, an expert in Culpeper history, will juxtapose slave plantations and Union encampments along the Rappahannock with Culpeper slaves’ efforts at self-emancipation. The new African American Heritage Alliance, with Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, is sponsoring the tour, which includes light walking. It departs and returns to Germanna Community College’s Daniel Center in Culpeper. $60 per person include snacks, water and handouts. The tour is part of a full day of activities that include a morning symposium and an evening reception with historians. Participants may register for one or all three components. Visit or contact Zann Nelson at 540/547-2395 or

Summer hours. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park is operating on new hours through Labor Day: 9 a.m.–6 p.m. at Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center and the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center; 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. at the “Stonewall” Jackson Shrine; Ellwood: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. at Ellwood Manor on Orange–Spotsylvania line, off State Route 3 (open weekends and holidays only after Aug. 12); 9 a.m.–5 p.m. at Wilderness Exhibit Shelter on State Route 20 in Orange County (historian on duty daily, 10:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m., 1:15–5:15 p.m.); Spotsylvania Exhibit Shelter off Route 613 (historian on duty daily, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.); Old Salem Church off State Route 3 in Spotsylvania, 3–6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (ends Aug. 12).

“Thrill on the Hill.” Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center exhibit hosts look at Soap Box Derby history in Fredericksburg. Features retired race cars and memorabilia from the derby’s mid-century “golden age” to present. Open through August. 540/371-3037 or

“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. Hourlong tours depart Market Square at 10 a.m., and highlight four centuries of history and architecture,

the Rappahannock River, spires and steeples of Princess Anne Street, Fredericksburg’s Town Hall, Market House and Market Square; $4/adult, $1/child. Discounted museum admission for participants. Hallowed Ground Tours: 540/809-3918.


Civil War sesquicentennial lectures in Richmond. The Virginia Historical Society, Richmond National Battlefield Park and the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar team up to sponsor two top historians’ evening talks on the war’s pivotal Seven Days Campaign around Richmond. On Tuesday, June 19, author Edward Ayers, president of the University of Richmond, will present “The Civil War at a Crossroads: The Seven Days.” Dr. Ayers will discuss the war’s impact on Virginia’s civilians in the first half of 1862, analyzing what was at stake for national reunification and emancipation, and examining the conflict in a fresh way and from various points of view. On Wednesday, July 11, author and University of Virginia professor Gary Gallagher will present “More Important Than Gettysburg: The Seven Days Campaign as a Turning Point.” Both lectures start at 5:30 p.m. at the Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond. These special Banner Lectures are free, as is parking. Details at

“Voices” of Civil War Richmond. 8 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at Historic Tredegar, 470 Tredegar St., Richmond. Innovative multimedia program will bring to life the voices of Richmond-area residents of 1862, when New Orleans had fallen, Union armies held South Carolina’s Sea Islands and part of North Carolina’s coast. Tennessee was split in two—Memphis and Nashville were in Union hands. One Confederate diarist mused, “What more is there to fall?” On Richmond’s outskirts, the largest army ever assembled on the continent seemed poised to capture the Confederate capital. Program will illuminate the struggles, hopes and reflections of soldiers and civilians—free and enslaved—on the momentous events in and around Richmond 150 years ago. Live readings from letters, diaries, memoirs and interviews will combine with projected period images to convey the impact of the war that engulfed the region. Hosted by Richmond National Battlefield Park and the American Civil War Center. Event and parking are free. Rain date: 8 p.m. Sunday, June 24.