Civil War Weekend events

Posted: August 15, 2013

The Winchester Star

Winchester — Area historical sites will be united this weekend in their ongoing commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Eleven locations will participate Saturday and Sunday in the Civil War Weekend, said Sally Coates, executive director of the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The weekend, centered on the theme of “1863 in the Valley,” will include battlefield and house tours, an outdoor movie, cavalry and artillery demonstrations, historical talks and book signings.

The events reflect how important the Civil War was and continues to be to this area, she said. “This town and our area went through so much those four years. Look at our tourist attractions and points of interest. So many of them deal with the Civil War.”

To draw a better connection between the different sites and their offerings, an event passport has been added to the weekend this year, Coates said. Visitors can pick up the passport at any of the locations, get it stamped at four or more of them, and then bring it to the visitors bureau for a “bounty.”

New to this year’s lineup of events is an outdoor showing of the American classic “Gone with the Wind,” at 8 p.m. Saturday at Historic Long Branch, Millwood, Executive Director Nicholas Redding said. Admission is $8 per car.

Also new are tours offered between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at the site of Sheridan’s Field Hospital at Shawnee Springs, on the corner of Opequon Avenue and Hollingsworth Drive, Coates said. Dr. Jonathan O’Neal with the Society of Civil War Surgeons will lead tours of the hospital site, which was established to care for ill and injured soldiers after the Third Battle of Winchester. Admission is free.

“Next year will be the 150th commemoration of Sheridan’s Field Hospital so we wanted to work it in and have an event there to prepare for next year,” she said.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, 901 Amherst St., will present “Night Falls on Camp Johnson,” a new program from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday that offers a tour of the back meadow where Camp Johnson was originally located, she said.

The tour, children’s activities, and Civil War era songs sung by re-enactors around a bonfire will help visitors learn about the 4,000 soldiers who camped on the Glen Burnie property during the war, she said. Bring a blankets and chairs. Admission is $5 to members, $8 for others, and children under 12 are free.

The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation will host two groups offering free demonstrations Saturday and Sunday at its site, 8437 Valley Pike, Middletown, Executive Director Tom Lomax said.

The site will have the 5th U.S. Artillery Battery D giving artillery demonstrations throughout both days, he said. The 1st Virginia Cavalry will have a cavalry encampment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 1 and 3 p.m. highlighting tactics, weapons, uniforms, equipment, and the care and use of horses. Admission is free.

“The appeal is to come out and see people relive history, visit the soldiers, and see what life was like in the 1860s,” he said.

Other events

The Newtown History Center will hold activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Stephens City Town Office, 1033 Locust St. David Booz, a professor at Gettysburg College, will present a lecture, “The Gettysburg Campaign,” at 11 a.m., and Jonathan Noyalas, assistant professor of history at Lord Fairfax Community College, will present “Emancipation in Stephens City” at 2 p.m. Admission is free.

Dr. Yusuf Saleeby will present two lectures Saturday at the Old Court House Civil War Museum, 20 N. Loudoun St., Winchester. At 10 a.m., he will talk about “Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire, Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s Surgeon” and at 2 p.m. will present “Advances in Surgery and Medicine During the War Between the States.”

Author Scott Patchan will sign copies of his book, “The Last Battle of Winchester,” from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center.

Eloise Strader, editor of the “Civil War Journal of Mary Greenhow Lee,” will sign copies of the book from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Hollingsworth Mill. A free exhibition featuring “Mary Greenhow Lee’s Friends and Foes” is also on display daily. Admission is free.

At Kernstown Battlefield at Pritchard-Grim Farm, visitors may take a walking tour to Pritchard’s Hill, a key position in both the First and Second Battles of Kernstown. Tours are at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. There is free admission to the site but $3 charge to tour Pritchard House.

Belle Grove Plantation, Middletown, will offer Civil War-themed tours of the manor house at 15 minutes past each hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $12.

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park will offer free ranger-led programs: “Avenue of Invasion: The Shenandoah Valley in 1863” at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Belle Grove; Middletown Civil War Walking Tour, intersection of Main and First streets, 5 p.m. Saturday, and 8th Vermont Monument at Cedar Creek Tour, at 1 p.m. Sunday.

— Contact Laura McFarland at