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    #Grape harvesting has begun in some parts of #Virginia and will continue through October, Virginia's #Wine Month. @orecul13 gathered this bounty for #canning purposes. Anyone for some locally made juice or jelly? #loveva #vawine #waynesboro #countryliving #photooftheday #jelly #vafood
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  • Archive for the ‘Civil War’ Category

    Big Battles Reenacted

    by Casey | Posted on May 17th, 2012

    Virginia is home to more Civil War sites than any other state, nearly 800 in total. History lovers come to Virginia to explore Civil War sites that stretch from the first major battles to the war’s end at Appomattox, and to explore the stories of ordinary people who did extraordinary things during the war.

    Battle of New Market

    Battle of New Market

    To get as-near a Civil War experience as possible, attend a battle reenactment. It just so happens that several major reenactments are this weekend.

    In Spotsylvania¬†this weekend, your family can tour 1860s home life interpretive areas, listen to period music performed by the 2nd South Carolina String Band, gain knowledge of the battle and Virginia’s role from historians, buy Civil War souvenirs, and witness a reenactment of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, the second major battle of General Ulysses S. Grant’s 1864 Overland Campaign. It’s Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20 at Spotsylvania Courthouse Village. $10/Adult; ages 15 and under are free.

    Battle of Fort Pocahontas

    One major battle that is reenacted annually is the Battle of New Market in the Shenandoah Valley. Also held this Saturday and Sunday, this event places an emphasis on the importance of the corps of cadets from Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. The 300-acre battlefield comes to life again as nearly 2,000 reenactors play out the scenes on this 148th anniversary. In addition to the impressive battle scenarios, living history encampments educate attendees. Be sure to visit the Virginia Museum of the Civil War and see the Emmy award-winning “Field of Lost Shoes.” $10 for ages 10 and up; ages 9 and under are free.

    For a unique point of view of the Civil War, attend the reenactment of the Battle at Fort Pocahontas in Charles City this weekend. ¬†The United States Colored Troops built the earth fort as protection from Major Fitzhugh Lee’s approaching forces. The USCT were victorious in their May 24, 1864 stand. See this battle reenacted both Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20.

    See other upcoming battle reenactments at www.Virginia.org/BattleReenactments/ or signature Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War and Emancipation events at www.Virginia.org/CivilWar150SpecialEvents/.

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    Civil War, History | Comments Off

    Battle of the Ironclads 150th Anniversary

    by Casey | Posted on March 7th, 2012

    150th Anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads logo

    Naval warfare forever changed when the USS Monitor met the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) in the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862. It was the first meeting of two iron ships and ended in a draw, but more importantly, the event resonated worldwide and affected how nations waged war at sea.

    March 9-11 is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads weekend. History buffs will no doubt want to be immersed in the events that lie ahead, and it’ll be great fun for families, too!

    March 10 and 11 at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News

    • Ironclad BattleQuest¬†-¬†“Union and Confederate ‘spies’ will abound as families explore the encampment, uncover secrets about the USS¬†Monitor¬†AND CSS¬†Virginia, hold audience with Abraham Lincoln, and experience Civil War food before reporting back to their ‘commanding officer.’”
    • Encampment -¬†Union and Confederate units *¬†Sutlers *¬†Period cooking (Saturday only)
    • Re-Enactment Demonstrations -¬†Infantry and bayonet drills *¬†School of the Sailor *¬†Artillery and Calvary demonstrations
    • Indoors -¬†Period crafts and activities *¬†Costumed interpreters *¬†Monitor Center Conservation Tours
    • Interactive Vignettes and Scheduled Programs -¬†Civil War Through Music *¬†Uncommon Soldiers: Civil War Soldiers in Disguise *¬†Sailor vs. Soldier Life *¬†A Conversation with Mr. Lincoln *¬†Civil War Oddities¬†(Saturday only) *¬†A Slave’s Perspective of the War¬†(Sunday only)
    • Civil War 150 HistoryMobile -¬†Battlefront, Homefront, Journey to Freedom, and Loss-Gain-Legacy – these are the four presentations of the HistoryMobile. See the Civil War from different viewpoints and from the eyes of those who were involved.

    March 10 at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport NewsBattle of the Ironclad Chefs

    • 2nd Annual Battle of the Ironclad Chefs¬†-¬†It’s a cook-ff between a plantation cook and a Union cook on the deck of the USS Monitor! See them cook as they¬†discuss their menu choices, ingredients, and cooking styles.¬†At 6:30 p.m. the food will be judged to determine which chef will be crowned the 2012 Ironclad Chef.¬†Don’t worry, you’ll get to sample!

    All front lawn activities are free and open to the public. Ironclad BattleQuest, indoor activities, special presentations, and Battle of the Ironclad Chefs require Museum admission.

    Adults: $12.00
    AAA, Military, Seniors (65+): $11.00
    Students 13 and up: $10.00
    Children Ages 6 to 12: $7.00
    Ages 5 and Under: Free

    In addition to the special 150th Anniversary events, any trip to the Mariners Museum and The USS Monitor Center yields amazing up-close-and-personal experiences.

    • Visit the Conservation Facility and get a front-row seat to see conservation of the USS Monitor in progress.*
    • Walk down a mock deck to enter the CSS Virginia as she’s being built for battle.
    • Build your own ironclad.
    • Experience the battle yourself when you go into the Battle Theater.
    • Walk on the deck of a full-scale ironclad reproduction.
    • Go below deck to see the sailor’s quarters.
    • Raise the turret with the NOAA and Navy crews in the Recovery Theater.

    *The USS Monitor rests in the Atlantic Ocean off the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a protected sanctuary area, however, her screw propeller, anchor, and hundreds of other artifacts have been retrieved. The revolving gun turret, steam engine, and Dahlgren guns and carriage are visible from a viewing platform.

    Learn more about the Civil War in Virginia.



    Civil War, Destinations, History | Comments Off

    Ghostly Haunts: Touring Virginia’s History

    by Casey | Posted on October 28th, 2011

    You’ve no doubt heard of the National Register of Historic Landmarks, but have you heard of the National Register of Haunted Places? Virginia has a good presence on both.¬†Care to take a look?

    Gadsby's Tavern. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com

    Gadsby’s Tavern. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com

    When in Alexandria …

    Visit the Ramsay House, a building said to be frequented by spirits in 1700s clothing.¬†Then¬†head¬†to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum¬†to hear the¬†tale of a young woman who died there in 1816. She is said to have led¬†a tavern guest upstairs to a deserted bedroom where a hurricane lamp glowed. Indeed,¬†the lamp¬†was hot to the touch,¬†but the¬†wick had never been lit.

    Want to turn it up a notch? Head to Dumfries.

    The Weems-Botts Museum is the home of a ghost who throws books and likes to turn lights on and off. Reverend Mason Locke Weems was a one-time resident of the home. It was he who fabricated the story of George Washington and the cherry tree! The house also served as his bookstore, so perhaps he is the book-throwing ghost.

    Into Civil War ghost stories and sightings?

    In Leesburg, at the Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, apparitions of soldiers climbing the bluffs have been seen at night. This¬†is the site of Loudoun County’s largest Civil War battle.

    Fort Monroe¬†in Hampton was¬†known during the Civil War as “Freedom’s Fortress” by runaway slaves. Apparitions of young soldiers walking along the top of the fort have been reported.

    Cold Harbor National Battlefield. Photo by Bill Crabtree, Jr.

    Cold Harbor National Battlefield. Photo by Bill Crabtree, Jr.

    Mechanicsville’s Cold Harbor National Battlefield Park still has ghostly battles at night. Many¬†photographs have captured ghosts¬†near the walkway.

    Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon has held haunting intrigue since the Civil War when the building was used as a hospital. It is said that a young nursing student named Beth cared for a wounded Confederate soldier. Nearing death, he asked her to play the violin. As she played, he quietly passed on. Heartbroken, Beth died a few weeks later. It is said that the room where the soldier died has harbored her spirit since.

    On the campus of Virginia Military Institute¬†in Lexington, written accounts report¬†tears¬†streaming from the¬†”Virginia Mourning Her Dead” statue. Some say¬†she mourns¬†cadets buried at her feet. They¬†died in the Battle of New Market. Additionally, a cadet who was accidentally locked¬†inside Jackson Memorial Hall claimed he saw figures moving on¬†the large mural that depicts the Battle of New Market,¬†and saw flashes of gunfire.

    Of Revolutionary War intrigue …

    On the southern banks of the James River in Surry¬†is¬†Bacon’s Castle, Virginia’s oldest house, dating to 1665. You’ve probably heard of Bacon’s Rebellion? Yes, this was the¬†home that Nathaniel Bacon’s men¬†seized from¬†owner and builder Arthur Allen while rebelling against the Colonial government in 1676. Strange things happen here …

    Colonial Williamsburg

    Colonial Williamsburg

    An iridescent ball of light has often appeared and disappeared to inhabitants of this home, of which there have been several. One¬†owner’s wife encountered “a sweet white face with large black eyes and parted hair with a white scarf around her head.” Some time later, the same owner’s wife¬†discovered her room in disarray ‚ÄĒ a round burner-lamp, normally sitting on the table was leaning against a pedestal, and a globe was smashed to pieces. Also, a large open dictionary was placed tidily on the sofa, and the heavy bookstand had been moved across the room.

    In the¬†second capital city¬†of Virginia,¬†Colonial Williamsburg¬†…

    Some believe the ghost of Lady Ann Skipwith inhabits the George Wythe House.¬†The story goes, Lady Ann¬†and her husband attended a gala at the Governor’s Palace, but because of some slight, her temper flared and she left in such a hurry that one of her slippers broke. She hobbled up the wooden staircase at the Wythe House, sounding like someone with a peg leg. One report stated that Lady Ann took her own life. She is buried in the graveyard of nearby Bruton Parish Church, and is said to be heard ascending the stairs in her one good slipper.

    Ready for a ghost hunt? Learn about more thrilling ghost sightings and history at Virginia.org/GhostlyHaunts.



    Civil War, Fall in Virginia, History | 1 Comment

    War Between the Grapes

    by Tom | Posted on September 27th, 2011

    If you are that special breed of traveler who is a fan of Civil War history and wine tasting, the Virginia Wine Board and 23 Virginia wineries have got a regiment-sized diversion for you.

    When your metal-detector Monitor Vs Virginiastarts to get heavy, or you’re just tired of playing another battlefield casualty, stop by a participating winery and sample one of the dozens of specially-labeled wines commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War and Emancipation. There are themes for everyone, from James River Cellar’s Monitor Vs. Virginia red, marking the famous ironclad battles, to Democracy Vineyards’ 2010 Emancipation Merlot in celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, to Casanel Vineyards’ 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, which pays tribute to all the men and women on both sides who suffered and sacrificed so much for their cause.

    Virginia Winery Passport

    Virginia Sesquicentennial Winery Passport

    To keep track of all the great wines and stories you’ll experience, the Virginia Wine Board has created a handy and detailed Virginia Sesquicentennial Winery Passport. This compact little book contains descriptions of all the featured vintages,¬† descriptions of the battles and people commemorated, and a fold-out map with the locations of nearby Civil War sites. To make your visit complete your passport also leaves space for that all-important stamp.

    While you still have several years to fill your Passport (and glass), this October is Virginia Wine Month, an ideal time to get started and “Find Your Perfect Crush”. Ask for Virginia wine at your favorite restaurant or visit a wine festival; chances are good there’s a Civil War site waiting to be explored just minutes away.



    Civil War, Fall in Virginia, Food and Wine | 2 Comments