Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

RSS feed of this blog

History Calendar

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Men of the 19th Massachusetts Regiment engage in street fighting--the first urban combat in American history--in Fredericksburg in December 1862. (NATIONAL PARK SERVICE)

Town & County section’s History Calendar for week of June 3-9, 2012

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.


“Fighting in the Streets.” 7 p.m., Friday, June 8. First of season’s popular History at Sunset tours, every Friday evening through Aug. 10, by staff of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Meet at Central Rappahannock Regional Library headquarters, 1200 Caroline St., downtown Fredericksburg. Now in its 11th year, the free series explores lesser-known aspects of the Civil War in this area. This year’s set features three off-site venues: a walking tour of Civil War Falmouth, led by John Hennessy; a tour of Culpeper County’s Cedar Mountain battlefield, led by National Park Service historians Frank O’Reilly and Ray Brown; and a look at Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s winter encampment at Moss Neck plantation in Caroline County, led by O’Reilly. 2012 will also feature the series’ first-ever campfire program. Led by Beth Parnicza and Peter Maugle, it will examine feelings of soldiers as nightfall descended on the Fredericksburg battlefield. See or call 540/373-6122.

“Medicine—Then and Now.” Noon, Saturday, June 9. Kevin Williams, a Navy veteran and medic of the 23rd Infantry Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, a new re-enactment unit based in Spotsylvania, will talk about how medical practices have changed from the Civil War to the present. Free. John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum, 7565 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania. 540/ 582-7583, ext. 5545 or 5546. Email or

Second Saturdays at the Museum. 1–3 p.m., Saturday, June 9. Bring kids to Fredericksburg Area Museum to make seasonally themed crafts and talk about lazy days of summers past. Program, each second Saturday, includes different topics, make-and-take crafts and a chance to explore the museum’s exhibits. Contact Janelle Kennedy at jkennedy@famcc .org or 540/371-3037, ext. 142. See

“Debacle On The Rivers: The Campaign for Forts Henry and Donelson.” 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 11. Historian Greg Biggs addresses the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table. Reservations required for supper; details on the Round Table’s website. Or come by at 7:30 p.m. after dinner and attend for free.

“Falmouth—Occupied!” 7 p.m., Friday, June 15. A History at Sunset tour. Meet at historic Belmont, 224 Washington St., Falmouth. Free. More at or Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park’s Facebook page.“Why is That Art?” Evening with an Expert, 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 12. Emily Smith, executive director of the 1708 Gallery in Richmond, will discuss the hierarchy of art and who determines what’s art. Lecture held in Mansard Gallery of Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center’s Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, 1001 Princess Anne St. Members-only reception to follow in galleries; nonmembers may join that evening. Call Ellen Killough at 540/371-3037, ext. 134;

American Music! 7 p.m., Saturday, June 16, University of Mary Washington Brass Quintet in Market Square at Princess Anne and William streets. Series produced by the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center and University of Mary Washington. On June 30, bring your dancing shoes for the Fredericksburg Big Band. 540/371-3037;

Kentucky in the Civil War. 6 p.m. Wednesday, June. 20. Ed Bearrs, chief historian emeritus of the National Park Service, will address the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg. Reservations required; call 540/361-2105. Details on the Round Table’s website.

“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 Saturday, June 23. Celebrate opening of first portion 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; gostaffordva .com.

Civil War history day in Culpeper County. Saturday, July 21. Newly formed African American Heritage Alliance Inc. and co-sponsor Friends of Wilderness Battlefield host three-part, daylong program exploring Civil War military strategy, political debate and the impact of war and emancipation on a rural community. A symposium—“Anguish and Freedom: The Yankees Descend upon Culpeper”—at Germanna Community College’s Daniel Center in Culpeper includes historian Clark B. Hall, Dr. Daniel Sutherland, author of “Seasons of War: The Ordeal of a Confederate Community,” John Hennessy, chief historian of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and Dr. James Bryant, author and professor of history at Shenandoah University. $50 fee includes morning snacks and lunch. From 1 to 5 p.m., rarely seen stops on first-of-its-kind bus tour, “The Rappahannock: A River to Freedom,” will include mountaintop view of the county, site of its largest slave-holding plantation, a celebrated refugee river crossing, and sites reflecting former slaves’ return to the region as members of the United States Colored Troops. $60; with water and snacks; limited seating. “An evening with Dr. Dan Sutherland,” a 6–8 p.m. reception at Holly Hill in Reva, will feature food, Virginia wines and a beautiful venue. Casual attire; $50. Register at or contact Zann Nelson at 540/547-2395 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/adults, $1/children. Discounted museum admission for participants. Hallowed Ground Tours: 540/809-3918.


African–American History Hike. 10:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturday, June 2. Led by Appalachian Trail Conservancy in partnership with Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Tour the ATC’s visitor center to celebrate National Trails Day, then take a moderate, 1-mile guided hike on the AT past scenic spots and historic structures, with National Park Service rangers at each stop. See

“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. Sesquicentennial speakers include Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson Jr., professor emeritus at Virginia Tech and leading Jackson biographer. $20/person, $30/family; youths free. Register at, email or call 540/740-4545.

“Gaines’ Mill: The Largest Confederate Attack of the War.” 12–12:30 p.m. Friday, June 15. Brown-bag lunch at Museum of the Confederacy. Somewhat overlooked Gaines’ Mill proved to be the largest Confederate assault of the Civil War. Hear Will Glasco describe the battle and its ramifications using first-person accounts. Free. Visit

“From Belles to Battleaxes: Women of Civil War Richmond.” 10:30 a.m.–noon Saturday, June 16. Stroll through the heart of the Confederate capital and hear stories of Richmond women, from daring spies and devoted nurses to star-crossed lovers and captivating socialites. Learn about Rose O’Neal Greenhow, who drowned off Cape Fear; Elizabeth Van Lew, the Richmonder who helped Union soldiers escape from Libby Prison; Mary Chesnut, diarist and neighbor of Jefferson Davis; Hetty Cary, the belle of the South; and more. Tour starts at Bell Tower on Bank Street near Virginia State Capitol. Street parking on Main and Franklin. Free for Museum of the Confederacy members; $10 for nonmembers (includes admission). Reservations required; call Kelly Hancock at 855/649-1861, ext. 121. See