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Free Friday-night program to kick off Spotsylvania Civil War Re-enactment and Living History Weekend; Saturday, Sunday will bring mock battle, historical characters, kids' programs, farm animals
An officer (left) inspects horsemen in a Confederate cavalry unit during last year's Spotsylvania Civil War
SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY TOURISM
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BY CLINT SCHEMMER
Robert E. Lee. Jeff Davis. Ulysses S. Grant.
Ladies in crinoline skirts, artillerists with Stribling's Battery, cavalrymen, U.S. Colored Troops, the 2nd South Carolina String Band, tintype photographer Robert Szabo, sharpshooter "Kansas" Tom Johnson, blacksmith Edgar Harrison and war correspondent Theodore Davis.
All of these "living historians" will enliven Spotsylvania Courthouse Village for the county's third annual Civil War Re-enactment and Living History Weekend on Saturday and Sunday. And that's just the peaceful part.
Some 470 re-enactors are registered for the event, 355 of them men in gray and blue--easily a third more than at last year's event.
Some 110 people will be doing civilian impressions of various kinds: showing how to plow with a mule team, preaching 19th-century gospel, describing the changing roles of women in the Civil War, demonstrating period medical practices, displaying miniature wartime trains, and more.
Some of the finest personas in the field of living history will be present," Terry Dougherty, director of the Spotsylvania County Museum, said Thursday. "This year's event will not only commemorate the battle but will also feature a number of interesting personalities and a group of Civil War sutlers anxious to market their wares to the public."
It'll be a much richer set of living-history programs, starting at 9 a.m. each day, than visitors experienced in 2011, said Deborah Aylor, tourism manager for Spotsylvania County.
In a free program, speechifying by His Excellency Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, will kick off the weekend at 7 p.m. today at the pavilion at Spotsylvania Courthouse Village off State Route 208. He'll be followed by Lee and Grant, who may have a few words for each other, at 8 p.m. (The last time those two commanders were in the vicinity, it was 1864, and their forces met in Spotsylvania and Orange counties in a series of battles that led to Appomattox, 11 months later.)