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.

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Theater, Religious Freedom, ‘Lincoln’s War’ and Lee’s Loyalties

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

MORE: Read more Stafford County news

Stratford Hall on Virginia’s Northern Neck will host a Jan. 12 birding program by UMW professor Andrew Dolby and sponsor a Jan. 24 talk in Fredericksburg by Civil War historian Gary W. Gallagher.

History Calendar for the week of Jan. 6, 2013:

Online, 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.


“All the ’Burg’s a Stage.” 6–8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10. Join Christopher Uebelhor, director of collections and exhibitions at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, for “Culture and Cocktails.” He’ll offer a special peek at music and theater items—instruments, programs, playbills and more—in the museum’s collection that have never been exhibited or have been in storage for years. Enjoy an informal setting, friendly discussion, light fare and an open bar in the museum’s Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, 1001 Princess Anne St. Free. For museum members only; advance registration is required. Contact Melanie Johnson at 540/371-3037, ext. 400, or for details or to register.

Winter Birding: Mixed-Species Flocking. 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County. At this historic site on Virginia’s Northern Neck, Dr. Andrew Dolby of the University of Mary Washington will describe the benefits of flocking for birds, with special emphasis on mixed-species flocks. From tropical rainforests to temperate forests, birds of all ecosystems seek protection and increase their foraging success by seeking company with others. Pre-registration suggested. $10. 804/493-1972;

Religious Freedom Day. 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13. Dignitaries commemorate the 236th anniversary of the drafting, in Fredericksburg, of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. The statute inspired Article I of the U.S. Constitution. The annual event starts with a one-mile parade, departing the Fredericksburg train depot at 1:15 p.m., proceeding north on Caroline Street, turning west onto Amelia Street, turning north on Washington Avenue, and finishing at the Religious Freedom Monument at Washington Avenue and Pitt Street. Bishop E.W. Jackson and Herb Titus, both of Chesapeake, will speak. Pastor Douglas W. Kittredge of New Life in Christ Church will give the invocation. Father Don Rooney of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church will give the benediction. Del. Bobby Orrock will be the master of ceremony. Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw will deliver the city’s proclamation for the anniversary.

“Lincoln’s War at Washington’s Boyhood Home.” Monday, Jan. 14. Area resident Paul Nasca, an archaeologist with Historic Alexandria who helped unearth the remains of George Washington’s family home in Stafford County, will address the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Round Table. Brock’s Riverside Grill, Sophia and Lafayette streets. Social time 6:30 p.m., dinner 6:45, program 7:30. The public is welcome. You may come just for the program; it’s free. Or make dinner reservations via

“The 1942 Expansion of Quantico Marine Corps Base.” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17. Stafford County historian and author Jerrilynn Eby MacGregor sketches the physical and social impacts on families and communities as the U.S. government confiscated homes to enlarge the base’s training facilities and maneuver areas during World War II. Federal officials notified residents of Stafford’s northern fifth that they had two weeks to vacate their properties and move their furniture, cattle, farm equipment. Families sacrificed for the war effort. Eby MacGregor will give an illustrated address to the Stafford County Historical Society when it meets in the Board of Supervisors chambers at the George L. Gordon Jr. Government Center, 1300 Courthouse Road. Free. Everyone is welcome.

Robert E. Lee’s Birthday Celebration. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. Come mark Lee’s 206th birthday at Stratford Hall. Attractions include the Civil War 150 HistoryMobile, a special book-signing by Dr. James “Bud” Robertson in the Gift Shop at 4 p.m., a living-history portrayal of Robert E. Lee, live musical entertainment, and complimentary tours of the Great House. Free admission. 483 Great House Road, Westmoreland. 804/493-8038;

“The Union Army’s ‘Valley Forge’ 1863: 93 Days That Saved America.” Wednesday, Jan. 23. Local historian Al Conner, president of Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg, addresses the Round Table on the army’s pivotal experiences in Stafford County. (Part 1 of two talks; conclusion at round table’s Feb. 27 meeting.) 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. Men should wear coats and ties; equivalent attire for ladies. civilwarround

“Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty.” 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Eminent historian Gary W. Gallagher will speak at Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s headquarters branch, 1201 Caroline St. in Fredericksburg. Dr. Gallagher will discuss Robert E. Lee’s loyalties to Virginia, the United States, the South and the Confederacy during the sectional discord of the mid-19th century. One needs to think of Lee, he’ll emphasize, as a complex person whose loyalty to Virginia did not always guide his actions. Dr. Gallagher’s lecture is sponsored by Stratford Hall, home of the Lees of Virginia and birthplace of Robert E. Lee, and  the regional library. Free. 804/493-1972; or; 540/372-1144.

“Julius Caesar,” The Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series. 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24. Philip Freeman, author of “Julius Caesar” and professor of classics at Luther College, launches the annual series at the University of Mary Washington in George Washington Hall’s Dodd Auditorium. Free.; 540/654-1065.

Selected Pieces from the Larry D. Silver Art Collection. Through Jan. 31 at Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, Catherine W. Jones McKann Center, Mansard Gallery. As Fredericksburg reflects on roles it has played in our nation’s history, native son Larry Silver shares part of his collection of historical paintings. Museum open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday–Saturday, 12–5 p.m. Sunday. Giclée prints for sale in The Museum Store. Ellen Killough, 540/371-3037, ext. 134;

“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;


Lest We Forget: A Conference on Enslavement and Emancipation. Feb. 21–23 at The Hylton Chapel, Woodbridge. First in an annual series of conferences on African–American history in Virginia. Keynote addresses (including University of Mary Washington professor Douglas Sanford and Dr. Lauranette Lee of the Virginia Historical Society), forums, dramatic plays and guided tours of historic sites related to the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Free. 703/792-4754;

65th annual Colonial Williamsburg Antiques Forum. Feb. 22–27. Four full days of lively discussions, lectures and programs delving into new research in the decorative arts. “What’s Old Is New Again: Celebrating Antiques in America” opens with a gala Friday evening reception and closes with a dinner on Tuesday. Optional lecture Thursday, three optional bus tours Friday, and five optional workshops Wednesday, Feb. 27. On Saturday, Robert Leath, vice president for collections and research at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston–Salem, N.C., will present “Scarlett has an iPad: New Directions in Southern Decorative Arts” and Ronald L. Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president of collections, conservation and museums and Carlisle H. Humelsine chief curator, will offer “The Evolving State of Knowledge: Southern Furniture at Fifteen.”; 800/603-0948.