The City of Fairfax is the place to be this Saturday, April 29, for the 17th annual Fairfax Civil War Day. Attendees will experience American Civil War camp life and enjoy a variety of living-history presentations, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Historic Blenheim, 3610 Old Lee Hwy.
Admission is $5, adults; $3, children 3-12; and free, children 2 and under. Proceeds benefit the restoration of Historic Blenheim. No parking will be available at Blenheim, but there’ll be free parking and full-accessibility shuttle service from Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, at the bus stop on the side of the building parallel to Old Lee Highway.
Historical interpreters will be in full costume, portraying Civil War figures including U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Gen. Robert E. Lee, American Red Cross founder Clara Barton and aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe.
Re-enactors will demonstrate and discuss a wide array of topics, including African-American units in the United States Colored Troops, medicine, blacksmithing (with a replica 1862 traveling forge), and the preservation of Mount Vernon. New participants this year include a silhouette-portrait creator, preservationist Sarah Tracy and photographer Mathew Brady with his display of period camera equipment.
There’ll also be talks on various Civil War subjects, such as Fairfax County Freedmen’s schools, the art of 19th century mourning, and the life of a living-history presenter portraying General Lee. Civil War documents from the Fairfax County Circuit Court archives will be on display in the site’s Civil War Interpretive Center.
Other popular activities each year include the firing of cannon artillery guns, youth “boot camps” for children, author/vendor tents and wagon rides through soldier camps. The Black Horse Cavalry, a crowd favorite, will return with its horses to discuss cavalry tactics. The host musical group is the 2nd South Carolina String Band.
The whole shebang happens on a historic, 12-acre wooded estate with a home built circa 1859. Guided tours of the first floor of the historic house and its famous Union soldier graffiti will be offered from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., as well as a discussion about caring for the sick and wounded by living-history interpreters portraying Surgeon B.L. Hovey and his wife, Marilla. Signed Civil War prints from renowned artists will be sold at Grandma’s Cottage.
This event is produced by the City of Fairfax Office of Historic Resources, with support from Historic Fairfax City Inc.; and the 17th Virginia Infantry, Co. D, Fairfax Rifles. For more information, go to www.fairfaxva.gov or call 703-591-0560.
Schedule of events:
All Day Events
Historic Blenheim House (First Floor) Tours (11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) Meet Union Surgeon Bleecker Hovey and Nurse Marilla Hovey. The house is not handicapped accessible.
Grandma’s Cottage Open for Tours and Civil War Art show and sales (11 a.m.-3 p.m.)
Civil War Interpretive Center (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) Replica of house attic with Union signatures and exhibits
Civil War Authors and Vendors Tent (10 a.m.-5 p.m.)
Wagon Rides (noon-4 p.m.)
Union and Confederate Camps Open (10 a.m.) – Flag Ceremony
Beginners Boot Camp (10:30 a.m.) – Youth Program, 17th Virginia Infantry, Co. D and 49th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Co. A-K – near Confederate Camp
Civil War Music (10:30 a.m.) – 2nd South Carolina String Band – Civil War Interpretive Center Patio
Living History (10:30 a.m.) – “Meet the Generals,” Lee’s Lieutentants -- Grandma’s Cottage Porch
Talk (11 a.m.) – “Freedmen’s Schools in Fairfax County,” Debbie Robison, Civil War Interpretive Center
Living History (11 a.m.) – “Caring for the Sick and Wounded” – Fed. Military Medical Unit, Union Camp
Talk/Songs (11 a.m.) – Voices of Freedom – Grandma’s Cottage Porch
Cannon and Firing Demonstration (11:30 a.m.) – Carpenter’s Battery and Battery B, 1st Connecticut Light Artillery; 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Co. B; 54th MassachusettsVolunteer Infantry, and 23rd Regiment U. S. Colored Troops
Civil War Music (12:15 p.m.) – 2nd South Carolina String Band -- Civil War Interpretive Center Patio
Living History (12:15 p.m.) – Generals. Lee and Grant -- Confederate Camp
Talk (12:15 p.m.) – “19th Century Art of Mourning” -- Georgia Meadows -- Civil War Interpretive Center
Beginners Boot Camp (12:30 p.m.) – Youth Program -- 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Co. B – near Confederate Camp
Living History (12:30 p.m.) – Meet Gen. U.S. Grant and HQ staff with officers of 1st Division, II Corps – Union Camp
Talk (1 p.m.) – “History of the 17th Virginia Infantry, Co. D” --Civil War Interpretive Center
Cavalry Tactics Discussion (1:30 p.m.) – Black Horse Cavalry, 4th Virginia Cavalry, Co. H
Talk (1:30 p.m.) – “Physiognomy and Phrenology” – Lauren Muney -- Silhouette Artist’s tent (across from author/vendor tent)
Cannon and Firing Demonstration (2 p.m.) – 17th Virginia Infantry, Co. D and 49th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Co. A-K; Carpenter’s Battery, and Battery B, 1st Connecticut Light Artillery
Civil War Music (2:30 p.m.) –2nd South Carolina String Band -- Civil War Interpretive Center Patio
Living History (2:30 p.m.): “Caring for the Sick and Wounded” – Fed. Military Medical Unit --Union Camp
Living History (2:30 p.m.) : Meeting of the Presidents: Lincoln and Davis -- Grandma’s Cottage Porch
Talk (3:15 p.m.) : “GeneralLee Speaking: My Life as a Living Historian,” Al Stone -- Civil War Interpretive Center
Beginners Boot Camp (3:30 p.m.) – 17th Virginia Infantry, Co. D and 49th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Co. A-K – near Confederate Camp
Talk/Songs (3:30 p.m.): Voices of Freedom -- Grandma’s Cottage Porch
Living History (3:30 p.m.): Meet Gen. U.S. Grant and HQ staff with officers of 1st Division, II Corps – Union Camp
Cannon and Firing Demonstration (4 p.m.) – Co. B, Carpenter’s Battery, C.S.A. and Battery B, 1st Connecticut Light Artillery; 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Co. B
Music and Dancing (4:30 p.m.) – 2nd South Carolina String Band with members of the Arlington House Victorian Dance Society -- Civil War Interpretive Center Patio.
Living History Presenters and Displays
2nd South Carolina String Band
“Fairfax Rifles,” Co. D, 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment
Civil War Impressionist Association -- President Abraham Lincoln; Union Generals: Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Sheridan, John A. Rawlins, and Sec. of War Edwin M. Stanton
Lee’s Lieutenants — Al Stone as Gen. Robert E. Lee with President Jefferson Davis, Confederate Generals: Richard S. Ewell, Joseph E. Johnston, Jubal Early, Governor E.B. Smith, Lewis Armistead, John B. Gordon, Stonewall Jackson, Samuel Cooper, guest James Longstreet, and more; Major Harmon (Quartermaster/ 2nd Corps); Confederate spy Laura Ratcliffe, diarist Mary Chestnut, and photographer Mathew Brady
Bill Scott & Friends – “Black Horse Cavalry,” 4th Virginia Cavalry, Co H
Grant’s Headquarters and 1st Division, II Corps Headquarters
Federal Military Medical Unit – Chief Surgeon Raugh
Patrick O’Neill – Gen. John Caldwell, 1st Division, II Corps U.S.A.
28th Massachusetts, Volunteer Infantry, Co. B, “Irish Brigade”
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (U.S. Colored Troops)
23rd Regiment U.S. Colored Troops
“Voices of Freedom,” students portraying African-American sailors through words and songs
Beverly Pelcher and Rex Hovey with members of 7th Maryland Infantry, Co. A – Nurse Marilla Hovey and
Surgeon Bleecker Lansing Hovey, 136th New York State Volunteers
Carpenter’s Battery, Co. B, C.S.A.
Battery B, 1st Connecticut Light Artillery
Sue Sodomin – Clara Barton
Kevin Knapp – Thaddeus Lowe, aeronaut
Susan T. Kelly – “The Yankee Schoolmarm”
Lauren Muney – Silhouette Artist, Physiognomist, and Phrenologist
Jeff Dunkelberger and Lucas Dunkelberger– “The Village Blacksmith”
“Women of the Civil War Era,” women of African descent and the fight for freedom
Adele Air – “Civil War Medicine”
Joseph Stahl – “Union ID tags from Crampton’s Gap, Sept. 14, 1862”
Wilder’s Brigade–“The Evolution of New Technologies and Tactics in the Civil War”
Benson-Rice Storytelling (Sudley U.M. Church) – “The Benson-Rice Story”
James Mansfield – “Building a Winter Hut”
Arlington House Victorian Dance Society