Fredericksburg Features

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History calendar

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.


Chatham Across the River:  A Colonial Tavern Evening, Thursday,  Nov. 1. Friends of Chatham, established in 2011, announces its first fundraiser for a Fredericksburg landmark. Join Robert LeChance, tavern keeper at Tun Tavern, National Museum of the Marine Corps, at Tru Luv’s Modern American Bistro   from 5:30–8 p.m., for Colonial fare and drink.  Reserve by emailing; $30/FoC member, $35/nonmember. Participants will get rare look at Chatham Manor—directly across river from Tru Luv’s—as it glows in the light. Built between  1768 and 1771 by William Fitzhugh, the Georgian-style house overlooking the Rappahannock was long the center of a thriving plantation. In the Civil War, it served as a Union army headquarters and field hospital.  Today, Chatham is headquarters of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Civil War Program and  “Hall of History” Showcase of Wilderness Area. Saturday, Nov. 3. From  1 to 3 p.m., public is invited to afternoon portion of annual meeting of Friends of Wilderness Battlefield. At Lake of the Woods Church. Free. Hall of History, a showcase of Wilderness-area history spanning nearly 300 years, will be open 12:30 to  3 p.m. At 1 p.m., the Civil War presentation—“Behind the Lines: Confederate Hospitals in the Wilderness During and After the Battle of Chancellorsville”—will begin and last about  one hour. Guest speakers are Greg Mertz, supervisory historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and John Pelletier, who specializes in Civil War-era medical practices. After their presentations, until 3 p.m., guests are encouraged to continue informal discussions with speakers and browse the Hall of History. Non-LOW residents, inform guard at gate that you are attending Friends of Wilderness Battlefield program. Details:  contact Zann Nelson at 540/547-2395, or  see


Civil War Medicine symposium at Stratford Hall. 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.,  Saturday, Nov. 3. Topics include emergence of modern emergency room methods, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Civil War soldier, African–Americans in medicine during Civil War era, and overview of Civil War medical practices. Produced in partnership with National Museum of Civil War Medicine. $75. Early registration recommended. Free to Friends of Stratford. 804/493-8919, membership information only. Register/details,; fax 804/493-0333; call Jon Bachman, 



Trees of Hope 2012. Nov. 5–14. Hope House, which shelters, trains, supports homeless mothers and their children, hosts annual display at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. Decorated by area artists, business owners, clubs, decorators and more, the trees are the signature fundraiser for Hope House,  celebrating its 25th anniversary serving women from the city of Fredericksburg, and Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George, and Caroline counties.  Exhibit, including museum admission, $7 per person. No museum discounts. New: holiday  decorating seminar, and children can learn to decorate miniature trees. Exhibit 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12–5 p.m. Extended hours until 7 p.m. on Nov. 14, the final night. “Tree Tips, Tricks and Techniques” seminar 6:30–8 p.m. Nov. 14; $15 fee includes  tour. Ann Crowe Essig Memorial luncheon, fashion show, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Nov. 16, at UMW’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center. Concludes with Nov. 17 gala at Jepson center. $200, couple. Each ticket-holder gets tabletop tree. Gala or luncheon tickets, or stop by Hope House, 902 Lafayette Blvd. Email Museum:  540/371-3037,


Western Hanover Legacy Series.   10 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 8. Explore Beaverdam Depot, The John Lewis Thompson Learning Center and Pop’s Country Store Museum from 10 to 11:30 a.m., then set off to Montpelier Center for Arts and Education for 

a boxed lunch and to view VMFA exhibit, “Civil War Redux: Pinhole Photographs of Re-enactments.” Hear historian Michael D. Gorman’s  talk “Richmond Again Taken: Photographing the Confederate Capital, 1865,” an illustrated discussion of the photographers who made the images. $20/person includes  lunch, admission. Reservations required. Contact Ann Comfort, executive director at Montpelier Center, 804/883-7378 or email 17205 Mountain Road, Montpelier.


Veterans Call of Honor Celebration, Doors open 10 a.m.; program at noon Saturday, Nov. 10. Honoring veterans from World War II through Afghanistan. Vets from different services will be recognized. Hosted by 23rd Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, and John J. Wright Museum. At John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center, 7565 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania. Hall of Honor Exhibit features photographs, registration cards, service records of Spotsylvania County Veterans, more. Light Refreshments. Free, public invited.  Contact Steward Henderson at 202/253-9867, email; visit; fax 540/582-3945.


“General Dan Sickles and Princess Agnes Salm–Salm.”  7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 12. Historians and Stafford County Historical Society  members Jane and Al Conner present final talk of Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s 2012 Sesquicentennial Lecture Series.  Library: 540/899-1703. For special assistance, contact library a week in  advance. Information on talk or Historical Society: call 540/286-1118 or email or


“After the Guns: The Aftermath of Fredericksburg.”  7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13. John Hennessy, chief historian, Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, explores days  after Battle of Fredericksburg—ordeal of wounded, community recovery—in Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center’s  “Evening with an Expert.”  Second lecture in “Battle Town: Fredericksburg and the Civil War” series. Mansard Gallery, 1001 Princess Anne St. Members-only reception follows. Free, public invited.   Tramia Jackson, or 540/371-3037, ext. 140;


A Speakers’ Forum: “Years of Anguish:  Struggle at Fredericksburg.” 1–5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Fredericksburg Baptist Church. Inaugural event of Battle of Fredericksburg’s 150th anniversary. National Park Service, Fredericksburg Area Museum, and University of Mary Washington announce fourth of highly popular “Years of Anguish” forums. The free program will take place in sanctuary of historic Fredericksburg Baptist Church—a field hospital during December 1862 battle. Book signing, reception to follow in Fredericksburg Area Museum’s historic Town Hall (907 Princess Anne St.), in museum’s Sesquicentennial exhibit, “We Can Never Go Back.” Forum will feature three top  historians of the battle. Susannah J. Ural of University of Southern Mississippi is  author of “The Harp and the Eagle: Irish–American Volunteers and the Union Army, 1861–1865.” She will present “A Shroud Over Us All: The Irish Brigade and Fredericksburg.” Ural will explore Irish Brigade’s experience here and how it helped shape Northern public’s view of broader Union disaster. George C. Rable is Charles Summersell Professor of Southern History at the University of Alabama. His 2002 book “Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!” won 2003 Lincoln Prize for excellence in Civil War scholarship and looks at battle as viewed by civilians, participants, press, public, politicians. He will present “Fredericksburg: The Battle and Beyond,” and look at how Battle of Fredericksburg reverberated North and South. Frank O’Reilly of National Park Service is considered the top authority on Battle of Fredericksburg.  His book, “The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock,” reshaped understanding of clash. He will present “Commanders at War: Success and Failure at Fredericksburg,” examining decisions, decision-makers. Program moderated by Dr. Jeffrey McClurken, associate professor of history at UMW and author of “Take Care of the Living: Reconstructing the Confederate Veteran Family in Virginia.” Fredericksburg Baptist Church is at 1019 Princess Anne St. Details: Tramia Jackson at, Jeff McClurken at or John Hennessy at


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


Evening with an Expert Lecture Series. 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11. Frank O’Reilly, historian with  Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, presents “War Comes to Fredericksburg” about 150th anniversary of battle. Explores perspectives of soldiers, witnesses. Concludes Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center series, “Battle Town: Fredericksburg and the Civil War.” Mansard Gallery, 1001 Princess Anne St. Members-only reception to follow. Free, public invited.  Tramia Jackson, or 540/371-3037, ext. 140;


Dine with Krick, Gallagher and Bearss for Battle of Fredericksburg’s 150th. The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, based in Fredericksburg, offers a memorable event on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Noted authors and historians Robert K. Krick and Gary W. Gallagher will discuss two specific aspects of the 1862 battle. Historian and battlefield preservationist Ed Bearss will also be present, will sign his book “Receding Tide: Vicksburg and Gettysburg—The Campaigns That Changed the Civil War.” Krick will focus on Fredericksburg under “War’s Savage Heel: the Plight of the City’s Civilians.” Gallagher’s lecture is ”Confederates Respond to the Battle of Fredericksburg.” Several of their books will be available for sale in banquet hall. CVBT’s latest edition of its journal, Fredericksburg History and Biography, will be available, with Volume 11’s authors on hand to sign. The event, at Fredericksburg Hospitality House, 2801 Plank Road in Central Park, will include buffet dinner and premium-brand cash bar. Cocktail hour, 6 p.m.; Buffet dinner, 6:45 p.m.; program, 8 p.m. Seating limited, reserve now. $50 per person. Mail check to CVBT, Box 3417, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. Pay by credit card,  Questions? 540/374-0900; CVBT is holding block of rooms at Hospitality House ($85 night, single and double rooms). Hotel’s ground floor is “pet friendly.” For room reservations, call 540/786-8321.


“Picturing the Civil War.”  Sesquicentennial exhibition at Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center explores depictions  of Civil War and aftermath in Fredericksburg, through period photography, paintings from private holdings, museum 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. fam; 540/371-3037; admission fee. Discount to military, seniors, students. Free to museum members.


“Glimpses of Holland From the Portfolios of Gari Melchers.”  Exhibition of artist’s sketches, 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;


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


Community Artist Series: Fiber Art.  Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center’s Mansard Gallery displaying local fiber artists’ work. Quilt National, on loan from Dairy Barn Arts Center, Athens, Ohio, open in museum’s Council Chamber. Features selections from competition promoting contemporary art quilt.



“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, most popular 19th-century beverage for adults, children, at White Hall Tavern, Potomac Street. Enjoy fruits of your labor. 304/535-6029;

Influences on American Quilts: Baltimore to Bengal. Thursday–Saturday, Nov. 8–10. International quilting experts explore American quilt making at Colonial Williamsburg  symposium at DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St., Williamsburg. Scholar–author Dorothy Osler, of Alnwick, Northumberland, United Kingdom, speaks on “Social and Cultural Layering in British Quilt Collections” at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8 in Hennage Auditorium, with other experts. Brochure: hZ. Register:  Deborah Chapman at 800/603-0948,

Colonial Williamsburg Salutes Military Service on Veterans Day Weekend. Free admission tickets to active-duty military, Guard, reservists, retirees, veterans and their dependents Friday through Monday, Nov. 9–12. Service member need not be present.  “Honoring Service to America” tickets will be provided to dependents of  deployed troops with appropriate ID. Available only at Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center and on-site ticket sales locations including Lumber House Ticket Office in Revolutionary City or ticket window in Merchants Square. or 800-HISTORY. On Veterans Day—Sunday, Nov. 11—a military march honoring America’s veterans will step off at 4:30 p.m. from Capitol. All veterans of America’s armed forces invited to participate  with the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums and military programs staff. Formation at 4:15 p.m. Ceremony follows at Courthouse on Market Square. At 3 p.m., Williamsburg Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will hold memorial service in the garden behind Governor’s Palace. Colonial Williamsburg nation builder Richard Schumann, who portrays Patrick Henry, will give remarks. “Honoring Service to America” ticket   admits bearer to Colonial Williamsburg exhibitions,  Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and most daytime programs, also free parking at Visitor Center,  movie “Williamsburg—The Story of a Patriot,” and shuttle buses.


Colonial Williamsburg’s fall schedule.  Mondays: “Revolutionary City: Building a New Nation” includes a visit by Martha Washington, Gen. Lafayette, a founding father who shares hopes for future of new American republic, and a former slave—now pastor of an African–American church—who discusses his vision for his congregation. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays: “Revolutionary City: The Old Order Collapses, 1775–1776” re-creates profound change for  Colonial Americans, beginning with news of battles at Concord, Lexington. Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays: “Revolutionary City: Building a New Nation, 1779–1781” chronicles critical moments in Williamsburg during war for independence. Ticket required. Free:  “Storming the Palace,” response to  royal governor’s theft of colony’s gunpowder from the Magazine, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays on Palace Green.  “The War Comes Home,” at 10:30 a.m.  Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at Courthouse as residents learn that a British fleet has invaded Chesapeake Bay, destroying 

a Suffolk supply depot and 2 million pounds sterling worth of supplies.


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


Holiday décor, festivities as Colonial Colonial Williamsburg’s holiday season  begins Nov. 23. colonial or 800/HISTORY.