Sesquicentennial New Briefs
(as printed in the)
May 2012 Issue
Civil War News

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New Shiloh Film

SHILOH, Tenn. — The new National Park Service (NPS) documentary film “Shiloh: Fiery Trial” premiered at Pickwick Landing State Park during the Shiloh 150th commemoration weekend.

The film is now shown daily at the Shiloh National Military Park Visitor Center. Supt. Woody Harrell said the film tells about the battle from the commanders’ and common soldiers’ perspectives.

Produced by Great Divide Pictures using a crew of 28, the 48-minute film was shot entirely at Shiloh Battlefield. The production required 50 horses, 10 artillery units and 350 reenactors who fired more than 24,000 rounds.

Harrell said “Fiery Trial” replaced “Shiloh: Portrait of a Battle,” a classic NPS film that was “the longest running movie in the history of Tennessee.” That film was a groundbreaking event in 1956 when it debuted on the battle’s 94th anniversary because it was the NPS’ first audiovisual program to incorporate live actors.

 For more information go to


Lee Takes Command

RICHMOND, Va. — The Dabbs House Museum of Henrico and Richmond’s Museum of the Confederacy and Virginia War Memorial are sponsoring the May 31-June 3 Lee Takes Command Weekend, commemorating Lee taking over the Army of Northern Virginia. The events are:

Day 1, Lee Takes Command Lecture by Dr. Emory Thomas, free by reservation at Virginia War Memorial Freedom Hall.  For information and reservations, (804) 649-1861.

Day 2, Lee Takes Command Dinner, 6 p.m. at Dorey Park Barn, Richmond, $15, with speaker reenactor David Palmer, favorite Lee foods and music. For information call Sam McKelvey, (804) 652-3411.

Day 3, Lee Takes Command Walking Tour of Lee’s most frequently visited sites in the City of Richmond and Henrico County before he took command. Fee of $30 includes bus transportation from Dabbs House Museum, admission fees and box lunch. For information, Sam McKelvey, (804) 652-3411.

Day 4, Seven Pines National Cemetery Tour and Commemoration in Sandston, free 7:30 p.m. program. For information, (804) Lisa Denton, 652-3409.

Additional information is at (804) 501-5102 and 


Harpers Ferry 150th

HARPERS FERRY, W. Va. — Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will observe “Prelude to Freedom: The 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry” from Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 13-15. Special events include evening lectures by Scott Hartwig on Thursday and Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust on Saturday.

The park will be open from 10-4 for living history, ranger-led programs, youth activities, special hikes, bus tours, lectures, panel discussion and book signings. For information go to


Vermont Discussions

The 18th Vermont Regiment educational living history group is commemorating the sesquicentennial by organizing discussion groups along VT Route 15, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Highway.

The 18th Vermont will help local volunteers in eight communities establish the groups and will give on-going support. The first of the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Round Tables met in Jeffersonville in February. The next two meetings were in Morrisville and Johnson.

The aim is to make discussion about the Civil War easier for people in the Burlington to St. Johnsbury corridor who can’t easily attend meetings of the state’s two Civil War Round Tables.

Vermont had more than 100 active GAR posts and has three Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War camps.

For information about the 18th Vermont and the discussion groups contact Bill McKone at (802) 644-2433 or


Slave Escapes

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — The spring and summer 1862 crossing of the Rappahannock River by 10,000 slaves is being commemorated this spring in a series of events titled “To Freedom.”

Slaves from the Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania area crossed the river into Union-held territory.

The commemoration will conclude May 4-6 with bus and walking tours, reenactments of slave escapes, a symbolic ceremony, reading of names of 300 known slaves who crossed into freedom and a light display. For information go to


Stuart’s Ride

HENRICO, Va. — The 150th anniversary of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s June 12-16, 1862, Ride Around McClellan will be commemorated from 12-4 p.m. on June 10 at the Dabbs House Museum.

Living historians will reenact the meeting of Stuart and Gen. Robert E. Lee that launched the events that culminated in the Seven Days Battles The generals will take questions from visitors. The day includes music, children’s activities, reenactors and tours.

During that intelligence-gathering operation Stuart’s men rode north from Richmond, circled behind McClellan’s army to the north, and returned to the city from the south. They captured prisoners and supplies and lost only one man, Capt. William Latane of the 9th Virginia Cavalry.

For information call Lisa Denton at (804) 652-3409.


Fairfield Event

FAIRFIELD, Pa. — The Fairfield Sesquicentennial Committee will again host Fairfield Civil War Days, May 4-6, to commemorate the events that occurred in the village west of Gettysburg, including the July 1863 Battle of Fairfield.

Speakers’ topics will include the cavalry skirmish in Monterey, Lee’s retreat from Gettysburg and Fairfield during the war. A tour of historic homes and Saturday bonfire sing-along with the 2nd South Carolina String Band are also planned.

Daily battles will be at 2 p.m. — Confederates Attempt a Rear Guard Action on Saturday and The Union Cavalry Protects the Gaps on Sunday.

The 1757 Fairfield Inn will host a weekend living history encampment. At 2 p.m. Sunday the inn will hold a Taste of History with period foods and tastings from local wineries.

For information, contact the American Living History Education Society, or


2nd Manassas

MANASSAS, Va. — Special events are planned Friday-Sunday, Aug. 24-26, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of 2nd Manassas (Bull Run). The schedule includes:

Civil War 150th HistoryMobile dawn to dusk on West Street, Old Town Manassas.

Lee’s Lieutenants, Army of Northern Virginia, dawn to dusk at Manassas Lawn, Old Town Manassas.

Lectures, Saturday dawn to dusk at Center For The Arts.

Reenactor Parade, Saturday at 10, Old Town Manassas.

Blue and Gray Ball, Saturday 6:30-11 p.m., Loy E. Harris Pavilion.

Commemoration Concert, Sunday 7 p.m., Loy E. Harris Pavilion.

Federal encampment at Liberia Plantation, Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Living history encampment at Mayfield Fort, Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Living history encampment at Cannon Branch Fort, Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

For information contact Debbie Haight, (703) 361-6599, or visit