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2003 Civil War Weekend
Spotsylvania Battlefield Education Association

 During the Civil War, Fredericksburg's location on the direct route between Washington and Richmond brought thousands of men and four major battles to the small Virginia city and the rolling hills of nearby Spotsylvania and Stafford Counties.

Those tumultuous years left a lasting wound on the nation. Sons, fathers, husbands died. Families were divided. Fredericksburg itself changed hands seven times during the war. Its residents were forced to leave their homes, which were soon ransacked by conquering troops. Even today, scars of war remain visible on buildings in Fredericksburg's serene Old Town.

Lest We Forget, Fredericksburg's Civil War Weekend marks those historic times in a five-day event filled with the sights and sounds, music and men, people and places of the war.

Colorful, engaging living history, a moving luminaria for the 15,000 men at rest in Fredericksburg's National Cemetery, rollicking river boat cruises, bright and informative concerts with period music and instruments, a rare opportunity to see one of the largest local collections of Civil War weapons, and an impressive assortment of guided tours through the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford countryside by some of the regions most knowledgeable historians are all here May 22-26.

The days of the Civil War are remembered here in the Fredericksburg area. Join us.

Thursday, May 22nd

8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Chatham by Candlelight. Tours begin at 8:00, 8:30 & 9:00 at Chatham, overlooking Fredericksburg from Stafford County. Built and sustained by slave labor, Chatham and its owners experienced pre-war wealth, wartime devastation, and postwar struggle and recovery. This candlelight stroll will explore the physical and cultural life of the plantation, and by doing so, will do much to help tell the story of a nation. Tours led by NPS historians Mac Wyckoff, Don Pfanz and John Hennessy.
Friday, May 23rd

10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.  African American History Trolley Tour.  Take a tour with Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg as your guide brings to life the African American history of the Fredericksburg area. Led by Mary L. Preston and Bobbie Sullivan, this tour is based on Ruth Fitzgerald's book, A Different Story, a comprehensive history of the African American experience in the Fredericksburg area. Tour leaves from the Fredericksburg Visitor Center. Reservations suggested.
12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. Bus Tour 1: Fredericksburg: Lee's Easiest Victory.  The Battle of Fredericksburg is often called Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee's "easiest victory." See why as the tour visits Chatham, and covers the frustrations of the Federal army in their attempts to cross the Rappahannock River. Examine Prospect Hill, which was to be the point of the main Federal attack, and learn why Federal plans did not unfold as desired. Walk behind the famous "stonewall" and see the scene of one of the most lopsided engagements of the entire war. Two-bus tour leaves from Mary Washington Colleges William Street parking lot. Tour led by NPS historians Frank OReilly and Chris Kolakowski, $45 (one half of the proceeds of this tour will benefit the Civil War Preservation Trust). Reservations suggested.

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Central Virginia Battlefields Trust BBQ and Civil War Forum with Frank OReilly.  Join NPS historian and author Frank O'Reilly for a dinner and talk. Seating is limited for this 6 p.m. dinner at Brocks Riverside Grill on Sophia Street. The dinner is sponsored by the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. The proceeds from the dinner will go towards battlefield preservation. After dinner stay for Frank's talk on the Battle of Fredericksburg. Immediately following, join Frank for a walking tour of the street fighting that occurred in Fredericksburg. Visit for more information. $35/person; $60/couple. Reservations suggested.

7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. War in the Streets of Fredericksburg.  Led by NPS historian Frank OReilly. Tour leaves from City Dock. Join Frank as he retraces the street fighting that occurred on December 11,1862 as part of the Battle of Fredericksburg.

7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Ghost Hunting with a Civil War Citizen. Step back in time with a professional actor/historian who will bring to life a real citizen or soldier from the City's Civil War era. Experience the savagery and tenderness that the denizens of Fredericksburg felt as war invaded the region. Cameras highly recommended. Leaves from 904 Princess Anne St. 
Saturday, May 24th

7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Bus Tour 2: Chancellorsville: Jackson's Final Battle.  Chancellorsville was the last battle for the legendary "Stonewall" Jackson, and was, arguably, his best fought battle as well. Follow Jackson's footsteps through his celebrated victory. Stand at the Lee-Jackson Bivouac, where the two generals formulated the daring plan. See the remains of the Catharine Furnace and learn how events there had the potential to drastically affect the battle. Look across the ground of Jackson's Flank Attack and see how Federal forces were so easily swept from the field. Visit the site of Jackson's wounding and discover how his own men accidentally fired upon the victorious general. Tour conducted by National Park Service historian Mac Wyckoff. Tour leaves from the Spotsylvania County Administration Building. $30. Reservations suggested.

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Walking Tour of African American History in Fredericksburg.  Your tour guide, Jervis Hairston, will both literally and figuratively walk you past the sites and buildings that have played such an important role in Fredericksburg's African American history. Tour leaves from the Fredericksburg Visitor Center.

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Children's Boot Camp at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Let your children learn what it was like to march in formation, load and fire (toy) muskets, and charge the enemy! Commission papers are distributed at the end of boot camp. Recommended ages 6-12.

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  General A.P. Hill at Zion Methodist Church (Spotsylvania Courthouse District).  Meet noted historian and actor Patrick Falci at the battlefield headquarters of Confederate General A.P. Hill. Patrick portrayed General Hill in the movie Gettysburg and was the historical coordinator and on-set historian for Gods and Generals. He will present a living history demonstration at this historic church.

11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Local Civilian Experience during the Civil War (Spotsylvania Courthouse).  Often overlooked, the civilians of the Fredericksburg area were the first to experience the devastating effects of a modern war. Local historians, John Cummings and Merl Witt, will offer a glimpse into the effects that the war had on the families of John Henry Myer, George William Clark and others.

11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Meet Clara Barton. Clara Barton will be in downtown Fredericksburg at the corner of Caroline and George Streets to answer your questions and engage you in a lively discussion about her contributions to the Civil War and the Fredericksburg area.

12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. Living History Tour with Captain Abbott.  Re-live the street fighting that took place in the early evening of December 11, 1862. You will be led on this fascinating tour by CPT Henry Livermore Abbott, company commander in the 20th Massachusetts, who was opposed in the streets by his roommate from Harvard who was fighting for the Confederates. Caution: This is a strenuous walking tour. Tour leaves from the Fredericksburg Visitor Center.

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Children's Boot Camp at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Recommended ages 6-12.

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Local Civilian Experience during the Civil War

1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.   Bus Tour 3: The Wilderness: Lee vs. Grant.
The Battle of the Wilderness was the initial battle fought between the premier soldiers produced by each side: Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Federal General Ulysses S. Grant. Visit Ellwood, a Federal headquarters during the battle, and learn the plans of the respective commanding generals. Walk across Saunders Field where the battle began and see how Grant's plans were altered early into the campaign. Witness the Widow Tapp Field, where for the first time during the war, Lee attempted to personally lead his men into battle, only to be turned back by his Texans in dramatic fashion. Tour conducted by NPS historian Mac Wyckoff. Tour leaves from the Spotsylvania County Administration Building. $30. Reservations suggested.

1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. African American History Trolley Tour.  Reservations suggested.

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. National Guard Band Concert.  Bring your family to Maury Stadium to enjoy the patriotic sounds of the 29th Division Band of the Virginia Army National Guard, directed by SFC Lewis.

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Laurel Hill Walking Tour.  Join the Friends of Fredericksburg Area Battlefields for this one-hour walking tour that explores the opening phase of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Tour leaves from the Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield exhibit shelter.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Children's Boot Camp at Spotsylvania Courthouse. Recommended ages 6-12.

3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Living History Tour with Captain Abbott

7:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Ghost Hunting with a Civil War Citizen

8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Luminaria at the Fredericksburg National Battlefield Cemetery.  View the illumination of over 15,000 candles, one for each soldier buried on Marye's Heights, in this impressive visual display created by local Scout troops. Taps is played every half-hour to create a very moving ceremony. Bring flashlight and walking shoes. Rain date May 25th. 
Sunday, May 25th

7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Bus Tour 4: Spotsylvania Court House. From the opening shots to the first attack on the Mule Shoe Salient. The fighting which began in the Wilderness continued for two more weeks at Spotsylvania, where Grant attempted a series of maneuvers based upon faulty information. Look across the Spindle Field where the Confederates won the race to block the Federal advance. See where the Federal army tried to surprise the Confederates at the Po River, only to discover that the Confederates had sprung a trap on them. Stand at Dole's Salient where Federal troops fighting in a new way broke through the Confederate line known as the Mule Shoe Salient. Tours conducted by National Park Service historians Greg Mertz and John Hennessy. Tour leaves from the Spotsylvania County Administration Building. $30. Reservations suggested.

12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Meet Clara Barton
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Local Civilian Experience during the Civil War

1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. General A.P. Hill at Zion Methodist Church

1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Riverboat Lunch Cruise. Hop aboard the paddlewheel boat, The City of Fredericksburg for a sumptuous buffet lunch while cruising the Rappahannock River. Your tour guide will narrate places of historic interest during your cruise while you are serenaded by music of Civil War times. Call 1-800-654-4118 for reservations. $34.95 adults, $22.95 youth.

1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Bus Tour 5: Spotsylvania Court House. From the Bloody Angle to the continuation of the Federal Drive on Richmond. Earlier Federal success, attacking in column formation, lead to another, much larger attack on the Confederate line. The fighting grew desperate at a site aptly named the Bloody Angle. Walk the ground over the Bloody Angle and hear about the most intense hand-to-hand combat of the war. Examine Lee's Last Line and see why it was able to resist a Federal attack with such ease. See the Harris Farm and the scene of a battle that the troops on neither side expected, and how the Federal army renewed its drive on to Richmond. Tour conducted by National Park Service historians Greg Mertz and John Hennessy. Tour leaves from the Spotsylvania County Administration Building. $30. Reservations suggested.

Monday, May 26th

10:00 a.m. Observances at the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery. The Ladies Memorial Association, one of the first groups formed after the Civil War to commemorate the lives lost in the war, holds the 137th ceremony at the cemetery on Washington Avenue and Amelia Street. Music, reenactors and a speaker commemorate the day.

11:00 a.m. Fredericksburg National Cemetery Ceremony. In July 1865, Congress authorized the creation of this cemetery for over 15,000 Union soldiers who lost their lives in the Fredericksburg area during the Civil War. The ceremony features a speaker, a color guard made up of Veterans and the playing of taps.

12:00 noon. Memorial Day Ceremony at the Masonic Cemetery. Many well-known people are buried in this graveyard, one of the oldest cemeteries in the city. A speaker commemorates the day.

12:30 p.m. Memorial Day Procession. A moving way to end your Memorial Day weekend, and honor both the soldiers and civilians who have sacrificed for our nations freedoms. The Solemn Procession begins at the Masonic Cemetery. From there you will walk to the Hugh Mercer Monument, where a short ceremony will honor Mercer, who died of wounds at the Battle of Princeton, 1777. The walk back will include the singing of 19th century music.

6:30 p.m. till Sundown. Picnic with The POPS at Maury Stadium. In a tribute to honor all Veterans, the Rappahannock POPS Orchestra will be featuring a collection of music from the World War II period. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. Music begins at 6:30 p.m., and will conclude with Taps at sundown. Families are encouraged to pack a picnic.

8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Luminaria at the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery. This memorial at the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery will consist of a luminaria, period music, period reenactors, oral tributes to the veterans and the to the cemeterys history

Ongoing Activities Friday through Monday
Civil War Weapons:
Collection of Dr. R.W. Johnson.  This unique and extensive collection of early 19th Century to 1865 arms, including many Civil War weapons,  is on rare public view at the Fredericksburg Area Museum. Admission: $5 adults, $1 students ages 6- 8.

White Oak Civil War Museum.
Located six miles east of Fredericksburg, this old school house has an extensive collection of artifacts from area battle sites and encampments. The displays will amaze the novice as well as the serious Civil War buff. Virginia Civil War Trails marker on site. Artillery demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday are free. Museum admission: $3 adults, $1.50 senior citizens & youth (13-17), $1 children ages (7-12).

Visit Famous Ellwood.
Overlooking Wilderness Run, Ellwoods fabled Civil War history includes service as a Confederate hospital, the headquarters of three Union generals, and perhaps most famously, the burial site of Stonewall Jacksons arm, shattered by friendly fire during the Battle of Chancellorsville. Tours are led by volunteer members of the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, trained by National Park Service staff. Admission by seven-day battlefield park pass available at the Chancellorsville Battlefield Center, and a schedule of free special activities on Sunday.

Ellwood Special Activities (Sunday)
12:30 p.m. - Concert of 1860s music
1:30 p.m. - Demonstration of Civil War medical practices
2:30 p.m. - Presentation: The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson, by National Park Service (NPS) historian Mac Wyckoff.

Civil War Life The Soldiers Museum.
An impressive collection of original relics tells the story of life in camp and on the battlefield. Events scheduled include: Cavalry bugle, musket firing, and Gatling gun firing demonstrations. Demonstration times are Saturday at 10 a.m., 12 noon, and 2 p.m.; Sunday at 12 noon and 2 p.m. A program of Civil War photos in true 3-D will be on display in the museum Friday and Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. Admission charged. The museum is located next to the Spotsylvania Visitors Center, near exit 126 of US I-95.

Spotsylvania County Museum.
 This museum houses a collection of local artifacts and genealogical records. Located in the Old Berea Church, dating back to 1856. Battle scars inflicted by the War still remain.







Ongoing Activities Saturday and Sunday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Field Hospital and Other Activities at Spotsylvania Courthouse.
Hear the gruesome methods of Civil War medical treatments, learn what it was like to be a wounded soldier, and why more men died from infection than did from battle wounds. Presentation by the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Company. The local civilians experience during the War will be the focus of several history presentations. Events include Childrens Boot Camp, regular performances of period music and the opportunity to meet General A.P. Hill. See schedule for details.

Soldiers Encampment at Ferry Farm and City Dock.
Enjoy an insightful and entertaining look into the camp life of the Civil War Soldier. Interact with the Union Soldiers at Ferry Farm and the Confederates across the Rappahannock at the City Dock.

Artillery Demonstrations at White Oak Civil War Museum.
Witness the roar of field artillery at this remarkable museum. Camp life demonstrations throughout the day; artillery demonstrations every hour from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Outdoor demonstrations are free. Museum admission: $3 adults, $1.50 senior citizens & youth (13-17), $1 children (7-12).

Canoe Tours -- Self Guided Rappahannock River Civil War Sites.
 See Fredericksburg from the perspective of the Union soldiers who crossed the Rappahannock during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Spend two hours to half a day on the flat water of this scenic river. An illustrated tour book will lead you to Civil War pontoon sites, Chatham Manor (Federal headquarters during the battle), old mill sites, and many other points of historic interest.
Meet at Fredericksburg City Dock. Last canoe rented at 4pm. $20/person.

Regimental Fifes & Drums.
Enjoy the sounds and rhythm of Civil War times, presented by the Regimental Fifes & Drums of Richmond. Led by SgtMaj Eddie Willard, this group will perform around the Spotsylvania Courthouse area throughout the weekend. 
All reservations can be made
by calling 1-800-654-4118.

SBEA, PO Box 1964, Spotsylvania, VA  22553