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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Lee, ‘Valley Forge,’ Julius Caesar, and great Civil War art

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‘Let Us Try,’ by artist Mark Churms, is one of the commissioned Civil War paintings on exhibit for a few days longer at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. (COURTESY, MARK CHURMS / LARRY D. SILVER COLLECTION)

History Calendar for week of Jan. 20, 2013:

Please enter information online 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.


“The Union Army’s ‘Valley Forge’ 1863: 93 Days That Saved America.” Wednesday, Jan. 23. Local historian and author Al Conner, president of Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg, discusses army’s pivotal experiences in Stafford County. (Part One of two talks; conclusion on Feb. 27.) 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. Reservations required; 540/361-2105. Coats, ties for men; equivalent for ladies. civilwar

“Becoming Confederates: Paths to a New National Loyalty.” 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24. Historian Gary W. Gallagher will speak at Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s headquarters, 1201 Caroline St. in Fredericksburg. Gallagher, the John L. Nau III Professor of History at the University of Virginia, will discuss Robert E. Lee’s loyalties to Virginia, United States, South and Confederacy during sectional discord of 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. His remarks will be drawn from his new book, due in May, that focuses on Robert E. Lee, Stephen Dodson Ramseur and Jubal A. Early—prominent officers in Army of Northern Virginia who became ardent Confederate nationalists. Lecture sponsored by Stratford Hall and the regional library. Free. 804/493-1972, or, 540/372-1144. Gallagher’s books will be on sale.

“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 annual series at 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 and 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;

“The Grand Deception, or How Gen. Washington Fooled the British and Still Deceives Modern Historians.” 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13. Bill Simpson, past president of Virginia Sons of the American Revolution, will address American Revolution Round Table of Fredericksburg in Central Rappahannock Regional Library headquarters theater, 1201 Caroline St. Free. Light refreshments. Email Jim Davis at


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 days of lively discussions, lectures and programs delving into new research in decorative arts. “What’s Old Is New Again: Celebrating Antiques in America” opens with gala Friday evening reception and closes with 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 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.