Fredericksburg Features

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History calendar

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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.


“Culture and Cocktails: Back to School.”  6–8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 13. Join Christopher Uebelhor, Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center director of collections and exhibitions, to see never-seen school items (yearbooks, report cards, diplomas, more) from the collection. Light fare, open bar. Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, 1001 Princess Anne St. For museum members; registration required. Contact Melanie Johnson, or 540/371-3037, ext. 400.

Community Artist Series: Fiber Art opens Friday, Sept. 14, at Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center’s Mansard Gallery, and  displays work of several local fiber artists. Quilt National, a traveling exhibition on loan from Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio, opens in museum’s historic Council Chamber on Friday, Oct. 5. Features selections from biennial, juried competition dedicated to promotion of the  contemporary art quilt. 540/371-3037,

Lafayette reception, Spotsylvania County Museum. 11 a.m., Saturday,  Sept. 15. Mine Run Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution hosts gathering and invites the public to celebrate unveiling of a Virginia historical marker to Marquis de Lafayette, Revolutionary War patriot, at Corbin’s Bridge in Spotsylvania (see Reception will feature remarks by Lafayette biographer Marc Leepson, exhibit new Lafayette artifacts, and honor Spotsylvania resident Conway Richardson. Spotsylvania Courthouse Village. 9019 Old Battlefield Blvd.; 540/507-7278;

Hymn-sing at Old Salem Church. 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16. Sing with JoySong Chorale at a “hymn-sing” in historic sanctuary around which a battle raged in May 1863, and hear brief history of the church. The group is the voice of JoySong Ministries, a nonprofit that brings music (voice or harp) to bed-ridden people in private homes and medical facilities. Music will date between 1845, when church was founded, to 1865. Free, but because seating is limited, pre-registration required. Call 540/786-3238 or email

Constitution Day at George Washington’s birthplace.  Sunday, Sept. 16. Celebrate Washington’s crucial role determining the shape of our government and the country he fought to establish. At noon, children will read a history book on the Constitution on Visitor Center Observation Deck. At 2 p.m., park ranger Phillip Greenwalt will present “The Constitution and its Remarkable History” in  Auditorium. Test your knowledge of the Constitution with trivia, games, puzzles, and earn a Constitution Day certificate. Sign the Constitution with a quill pen in Visitor Center. See Constitution-related exhibits. Most of the day, the George Washington Birthplace National Monument 4–H Heritage Club will demonstrate Colonial crafts such as hearth cooking and blacksmithing. Free. The monument, 38 miles east of Fredericksburg and 11 miles west of Montross, is on State Route 204 two miles off Route 3.  804/224-1732, ext. 227;

“A Fireside Chat: Looking at the Emancipation Proclamation.”  7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21, at George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium on the University of Mary Washington’s Fredericksburg campus. Three prominent scholars, led in informal conversation by TV broadcaster Lynwood “Woody” Evans, will interpret emancipation, slavery and Abraham Lincoln from different perspectives. Historians Edna Greene Medford, Harold Holzer and Frank Williams will bring to life their well-received book,  “Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views” in this special event presented by UMW and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. The forum comes nearly 150 years after Lincoln issued his preliminary proclamation, giving Confederate states 100 days to renounce secession. Holzer, a leading authority on Lincoln and the politics of the Civil War, is senior vice president for government relations and public affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Medford is history department chair at Howard University, specializing in 19th-century African–American history. Williams, founding chair of the Lincoln Forum, recently retired as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. Free, but pre-registration required. Register at or by calling 804/786-3591.

“Crossing the Rappahannock: A Pilgrimage to Freedom.”  9 a.m.–noon Saturday, Sept. 22. At the spot where it happened, commemorate the 150th anniversary of slave refugees’ self-emancipation at Cow’s Ford near Tin Pot Run on the Rappahannock River (captured by Mathew Brady studio photographer Timothy O’Sullivan) and President Lincoln’s issuance of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Hear hymns by a combined, multi-county choir and a reading of the names of 113 U.S. Colored Troops from Culpeper County. See a re-creation of the crossing. Speakers will address area’s Civil War history and national significance of both events. Learn African–American genealogy. Free. Donations welcome, benefiting Afro–American Historical Association of Fauquier County and African American Heritage Alliance Inc. Bring walking shoes, bug spray, sun block, water and a lawn chair or blanket. Park at Margaret M. Pierce Elementary School in Remington and take shuttle to Fauquier County historic site, starting at 8 a.m. (Arrive early.) Return shuttle begins at 11 a.m. Registration recommended. Contact Zann Nelson at or 540/547-2395; Karen White at 540/253-7488; or or 703/966-6898. Visit

Constitution Day celebration. Saturday, Sept. 22. Enjoy James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange County and commemorate day when framers signed U.S. Constitution in 1787. Colonial games, tethered balloon rides, food, fireworks, costumed interpreters from McLean High School’s Project Enlightenment, food, fireworks. Visit with James and Dolley interpreters. Enjoy musical acts throughout afternoon and the U.S. Navy Band Commodores, a  jazz ensemble. For a unique way to travel to Montpelier, sign up for the first Liberty Ride; arrive via horseback or horse-drawn wagon. Or come at noon to watch James and Dolley arrive in their carriage. Liberty Ride tickets available at Orange County Parks and Recreation website.  $10 per car or $5 per car for Orange County residents., 540/672-2728.

“Yankees in Falmouth!  (And Some Confederates, Too!)”  Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22–23, at  Historic Port of Falmouth Park, 401 River Road, Stafford. Learn what  soldiers encountered when they marched into this river town 150 years ago as Confederates burned the Rappahannock River bridges to Fredericksburg. Fifth annual re-enactment on the historic Conway House grounds features infantry firing demonstration, book signing, Civil War church service in camp, talks by National Park Service historians and other interpreters on “Contrabands in the Camp” and “Stafford’s Confederate Year, April 1861–1862.”  Free.

6th annual Stratford Hall Wine Festival.  11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22.  11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday,  Sept. 23. Drink in some history! Wine tasting from 12 wineries—seven new to this year’s festival. Classic car show on Sunday. Specialty foods, live music, arts and crafts vendors, wine talks, hay rides, barrel rides, chocolate making and blacksmithing demonstrations, Colonial games for kids, miniature farm animals, wine stomp, Great House tours, operating gristmill.  Lodging package includes festival tickets, accommodations, Saturday night dinner and Sunday breakfast in Dining Room. Advance purchase (online) taster ticket (1-day), $20. Taster ticket at gate (1-day), $25. Friends of Stratford taster ticket at gate (1-day), $10. Non-taster ticket (1-day), $10. Over 6 and under 13) (1-day), $5. Under 6, fee. Rain or shine; no refunds. Tasters must be 21 or over. Friends of Stratford must present card at gate. 804/493-8038 or 804/493-1972 for advance tickets. Advance sales end 5 p.m., Sept. 21. Stratford Hall, birthplace of Gen. Robert E. Lee, is off State Route 3 in Westmoreland, six miles northwest of Montross and 42 miles southeast of Fredericksburg.

“The Testing Time: Six months that would have lasting effects on the Civil War in the East.” 6 p.m.. Tuesday, Sept. 25. Former U.S. Army Chief of Military History John W. “Jack” Mountcastle addresses Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg. Brig. Gen. Mountcastle, U.S. Army (retired), is kickoff speaker for the Round Table’s survey of the 2012–2015 sesquicentennial years in the Fredericksburg region. A Vietnam War veteran, this Richmond native  instructed at West Point. 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. Coats and ties; similar attire for ladies. civilwar roundtable

Taming the Wilderness, Ellwood Manor, Orange. Sunday, Sept. 30. Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, with Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, celebrates history of Ellwood Manor, a late-18th-century plantation seat. Period music, children’s games, more. Learn about a frontiersman’s life, tavern etiquette, domestic skills and buildings trades. New exhibitors wanted;

“Mysteries and Conundrums:  Killing Fields.”  7 p.m., Monday, Oct.  1. Noel Harrison and John Hennessy, historians at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, will examine period images of battlefield landscapes—including some taken while fighting was under way—as well as postwar and aerial imagery.

Taste of Stafford.  2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7,  The Clubhouse Restaurant, 204 Bow Cove, Aquia Harbour in Stafford. Aquia Evening Lions will partner with local restaurants for an afternoon of food samplings: Italian, salads, German, Mexican, deli selections, desserts and much more. Live music, cash bar, door prizes. Public welcome; tickets $15 now, $20 at door.  Contact Bea at 540/659-6124. All proceeds go to sight, hearing, community needs.

“The Role of the Pony Express in the Coming of the Civil War.”  Monday, Oct. 8. Gary Castellino, a seasonal historian with the National Park Service, will address  the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table.  Brock’s Riverside Grille, 503 Sophia St. Social 6 p.m., dinner 6:45 p.m., program 7:30 p.m. Dinner reservations at

Second Saturday at the Museum.  1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. Program on  quilting.

“Henry Box Brown: Famous Fugitive, Trans-Atlantic Performer.” 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 28. Art historian Jeffrey Ruggles will present free lecture at Gari Melchers Home and Studio. Ruggles, author of “The Unboxing of Henry Brown” and former curator of prints and photographs at Virginia Historical Society, will retrace journey of escaped slave and antislavery speaker Henry Brown. Organized by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

“Mysteries and Conundrums:  Building a Battlefield Park.”   7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 19. Eric Mink will explore his park evolution work, touching on Civilian Conservation Corps, segregation and some of the more curious episodes in history of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

“Bricks and Boards in the ’Burg.”  Join Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center and Hallowed Ground Tours on Saturdays for architectural walking tours. Hour-long tours depart Market Square  at 10 a.m.  $4/adult, $1/child.  Discounted museum admission for  participants. Hallowed Ground Tours: 540/809-3918.

“Picturing the Civil War.” New sesquicentennial exhibition at Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center explores visual depictions of the Civil War and its aftermath in Fredericksburg, through period photography and paintings from private holdings and the museum’s collections.  Documents Gallery of Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, 1001 Princess Anne St. Through Dec. 31. Funded by grant from Institute of Museum and Library Services.; 540/371-3037; admission fee. Discount to military, seniors and students. Free to museum members.

“Glimpses of Holland From the Portfolios of Gari Melchers.” New exhibition of artist’s sketches and studies from his career-founding, late 19th-century days in North Sea’s coastal villages. Pavilion Gallery of Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, 224 Washington St., Falmouth. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except Wednesday.  $10 general admission. Free to students, youths, Friends of Belmont.; 540/654-1015.

“We Can Never Go Back.”  Signature show of Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center for statewide celebration of Civil War sesquicentennial.  At Fredericksburg’s Old Town Hall/Market House, the museum  partnered with National Park Service to create vignettes that help tell stories of Fredericksburg’s residents during four years of war;


Rappahannock County Farm Tour. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29–30. Self-guided, family focused  tour emphasizes sustainable practices and incorporates farms, wineries, orchards, plant nurseries, farm schools.  Seventeen venues offer tours, presentations, some selling local, fresh food. “All Things Rappahannock Market”  features vendors and groups at The Schoolhouse in Sperryville, 12018 Lee Highway (Route 211), Farm Tour headquarters.  $5 for 16 and up.; 540/675-3153.

“Waging War.”  The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley  presents second half of the landmark Virginia Historical Society exhibition “An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia,” through Dec. 2. 901 Amherst St., Winchester. 888/662-1473;

“Drink Your Apples! Roeder’s Tavern Cider Making 1860.”  11 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3–4. Join Harpers Ferry National Historical Park living historians and volunteers to make cider, the most popular 19th century beverage for adults and children, at White Hall Tavern on Potomac Street. Enjoy fruits of your labor. 304/535-6029;