A Civil War reenactor stands in front of a marker on the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield near Leesburg, Virginia. Civil War 150th Anniversary commemorative events Include a first-ever Ball’s Bluff reenactment, historic exhibits, and more.
LOUDOUN, Va. (June 22, 2011)–The year 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War. From John Brown’s 1859 raid at nearby Harpers Ferry to Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North in 1862, and various advances and retreats by armies of both sides, Loudoun County, Va., witnessed its share of anxiety during this historic American conflict. Many destinations throughout the county will feature re-enactments, lectures and exhibits to commemorate this vital part of Loudoun’s rich American heritage.
Witness the First-Ever Reenactment at Ball’s Bluff
The Battle of Ball’s Bluff was the second largest to take place in the county during the Civil War, when Union soldiers pushed over an 85-foot bluff into the Potomac River on Oct. 21, 1861. From Oct. 21 to Oct. 23, 2011, this historic event will be recreated for the first time by 1,000 re-enactors at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park in Leesburg. At nearby Historic Morven Park, visitors can witness drill demonstrations, tour “open” regiment campsites, talk with sutlers and explore a HistoryMobile traveling exhibit, among other activities. A full weekend schedule, tickets and more information are available at www.150thballsbluff.com.
Understand the Impact of Ball’s Bluff
Morven Park, home of Westmoreland Davis, progressive farmer and governor of Virginia from 1918 to 1922, will commemorate the sesquicentennial with an exhibit featuring a collection of relics and artifacts that tell the story of Ball’s Bluff and its impact on the the Civil War and the home life of Loudoun residents. The free exhibit is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and runs Oct. 8 to Oct. 30, 2011, at Morven Park in Leesburg. More information is available at www.morvenpark.org.
The impressive Oatlands plantation sprawls alongside U.S Route 15 in rural Loudoun County, Virginia. The manor house is the highlight of public tours.
Experience Life on the Home Front
For a true feeling of what the Civil War was like for a Loudoun resident, history buffs can visit the Oatlands Historic House and Gardens to take a Civil War on the Home Front tour on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23. The Oatlands Plantation was formed in 1798 by George Carter, a descendent of one of Virginia’s first families, and was used as Confederate Gen. Nathan “Shanks” Evans’s headquarters before the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. Tours begin at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and cost $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $7 for students. Additional information can be found at www.oatlands.org.
Dodona Manor, the home of famed WWII General George C. Marshall from 1941-1959, has been beautifully restored. Located at 217 Edwards Ferry Rd near Leesburg, the house is open for tours most summer weekends.
The old Aldie mill was a regional source of stone-ground flour. A Civil War battle was fought nearby. The twin overshot water wheels were restored in October 2010 through a grant from the Loudoun Preservation Society.
Aldie Mill Historic Park is located at 39401 John Mosby Highway in Aldie, Virginia. Click here for the website. From 10/15/2011 (12:00 PM) until 10/16/2011 (5:00 PM), the 17th Mississippi Regiment reenactment group will camp at the mill and give public demonstrations of military drill and camp life. Call (703) 327-9777 for more details on the old mill and surrounding park.
If you go:
Many of Loudoun County’s Civil War attractions can easily be reached from with U.S. Route 15 (from the north or south), U.S. 50, or Virginia Route 7. A wide variety of hotels and restaurant options are available, particularly in the Leesburg area.
For more information about Loudoun’s Civil War events and history, visit www.visitloudoun.org. For press information, contact Lisa Samuel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-252-0900.
All photographs courtesy of Lisa Samuel.