Living HIstory at Ellwood

John Pelletier will portray a Civil War surgeon during a living history event at Ellwood on Saturday.

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“Mysteries of Montpelier.” A new exhibit at James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange aims to put visitors into the shoes of museum curators. Using artifacts that have been discovered across Montpelier’s 2,650 acres, guests will learn how these objects answer questions about the past and tell stories about who lived at Montpelier, what they ate, how they dressed, and more. It showcases how Montpelier has changed through time with a range of artifacts, including Native American spear points, shoes owned by Dolley Madison, a bayonet from the gun of a Confederate soldier, and bowling pins from the duPont bowling alley. Visitors will also be able to create their own miniature museum displays, touch artifacts from the property, and take a picture at a selfie station. “Mysteries of Montpelier” in the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center is open to the public at no charge during normal business hours.“Hartwood Church Amidst War.” Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hartwood Presbyterian Church, 50 Hartwood Church Road. Presentations by John Hennessy of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, as well as tours by uniformed docents. Free admission. Civil War-era refreshments and items for sale. Rain or shine.

“Fall Colors Kayaking on the Potomac.” Oct. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. Experience the changing seasons and spectacular prehistoric cliffs from your kayak. The tour will be led by Denise and Bill Micks, who will supply Old Town traditional tandem kayaks. Personal kayaks are not permitted. Beginner and experienced paddlers older than 12 are welcome. Instructors will offer safety education before, during and after the event. Participants are advised to dress with suitable shoes, backpack with water and energy snacks, and waterproof camera. If the weather is inclement or the waters unsafe, all registrants will be notified and a refund will be issued. Cost is $40/single, $75/double. Register by Oct. 10. Contact Alex Withers at 804/493-1979 or

B.A.R.K. Ranger Day at National Military Park. Oct. 12 starting at 10 a.m. Four-legged friends are encouraged to visit Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. At 10 a.m., Park Ranger Peter Maugle will lead a 3-mile, dog-friendly hike at Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield, and tell stories about dogs in the battle. Meet at Tour Stop No. 3. Sturdy shoes, water, bug spray and long pants recommended. At Fredericksburg Battlefield, staff will conduct 35-minute dog-friendly tours of the Sunken Road, explaining the battle and including tales about dogs. Meet at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, 1013 Lafayette Blvd. Tours begin at 11:25 a.m., and 1:25, 2:25 and 3:25 p.m. Chancellorsville Battlefield park staff will conduct 35-minute, dog-friendly walking tours about the Battle of Chancellorsville and wounding of Confederate Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson, including tales about dogs. Meet at the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center, 9001 Plank Road. Tours begin at 11:25 a.m., and 1:25, 2:25 and 3:25 p.m. “Companions in Battle: Animals at War,” a campfire program, will take place at 6:30 p.m. Maugle will examine how , whether mascots, pets or encountered in the wild, animals accompanied the armies during battles or were present to influence the soldiers’ experience of combat, and even their emotional healing or understanding afterward. Meet at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, 1013 Lafayette Blvd. Bring a lawn chair, blanket and flashlight. All programs are family (and pet) friendly, free and open to the public. Dogs must be well-behaved and leashed at all times. 540/693-3200 or

Downtown walking tour. Oct. 12 at 9:30 a.m. Guides from Hallowed Ground Tours, in association with the Fredericksburg Area Museum, will conduct a 1.5-hour walking tour of the downtown area highlighting 400 years of Fredericksburg history and architecture. The eight- to 10-block tour, “Bricks and Boards in the ’Burg,” will begin and end in Historic Market Square, behind the museum, 907 Princess Anne St. The cost is $7 for adults. Museum members are free. A discount coupon for museum entry is included. 540/809-3918.

Neighborhood walking tour. Oct. 12 at 11:30 a.m. Guides from Hallowed Ground Tours—in cooperation with the Fredericksburg Area Museum—will lead a 1.5-hour walking tour of Fredericksburg’s lower Caroline Street neighborhood. Meet in the commuter parking lot at the corner of Caroline and Frederick streets. Part of the “History of Our Homes” local tour series, this six-block walk will discuss the history of the people and the homes of that street. The cost is $7. Museum members are free. Tickets for discounted museum entry are included. 540/809-3918.

Freedom Rides Bus Tour. Oct. 12–15. The University of Mary Washington is inviting members of the community to join students on a trip of a lifetime. The Freedom Rides Tour will trace the route of the history-changing 1960s bus rides across the American South. The social justice experience celebrates Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the late civil rights icon and Mary Washington history professor, and his signature movement to enforce the desegregation of interstate travel. A community bus, caravanning with a student bus, will stop at some of the same places the Freedom Riders stopped as they spoke with other activists at North Carolina’s Bennett College, strategized next steps in Georgia, or sought a safe place to sleep for the night. The tour includes visits to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in North Carolina, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama, and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and the Atlanta University Center, both in Georgia. Buses will depart from UMW’s Fredericksburg Campus the morning of Oct. 12 and return Oct. 15. The cost of the trip is $490 per person and includes transportation, double-occupancy hotel accommodations and tour admissions. A $125 supplement charge is required of those traveling solo. For more information about the trip, including an itinerary and registration information, visit the Mary Washington Alumni website at and go to the Social Justice Trip: Freedom Rides Tour page.

“Clara Barton in the Civil War.” Oct. 14 at Brock’s Riverside Grill on Sophia Street in Fredericksburg. Historian Jenee Lindner will speak during the Rappahannock Valley Civil War Roundtable’s monthly dinner meeting. Social time begins at 5:45 p.m.; dinner at 6:45; speaker at 7:45. The talk is free, public invited. Reservations required for dinner; $25 for members, $30 for non-members. For dinner reservations, email or call 540/399-1702.

CWSG annual Battle of the Wilderness Dinner. Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. The Civil War Study Group hosts its annual dinner at the Lake of the Woods Clubhouse. Guest speaker will be Chris Mackowski, editor in chief of the Emerging Civil War book series. He will speak on his latest book, “The Great Battle Never Fought: The 1863 Mine Run Campaign.” Open to the public. Limited seating. $27 per person. Reservations close Oct. 10. Go to

Living History at Ellwood. Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 36380 Constitution Highway, Locust Grove. Friends of Wilderness Battlefield will present an event detailing what life was like for the common soldier in the Civil War. At 10:15 a.m., FoWB volunteers will lead a walking tour of the grounds around Ellwood. At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., living historians Joe Bianchini and Mike Pierce, who portray a Union and a Confederate soldier, will compare and contrast the equipment, motivation and experiences of soldiers on the opposing sides of the conflict. At 2 p.m., FoWB volunteers will lead a walking tour to the site of the Wilderness Tavern. The tour begins at the front steps of the house and is approximately 1.5 miles in length over unpaved terrain. Visitors will learn why the armies were drawn into combat in the Wilderness and how the roads and vegetation affected the battle. Throughout the day, John Pelletier will portray a Civil War surgeon inside the house. Visitors are encouraged to converse with him and ask questions about medical practices utilized during the Civil War era. FoWB volunteers will be available to talk with visitors. Just down the road, visitors can stop at the Exhibit Shelter at Saunders Field, a major part of the Wilderness Battlefield. All programs are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome. After Dark. Oct. 19 from 4–9 p.m. at Stratford Hall. There will be trick-or-treating, seasonal crafts, fortune telling, face painting, hayrides and ghost tours. Costumes are welcome, but attendees are asked to adhere to guidelines, which can be seen on Stratford Hall’s website. Cost is $15 for those 12 and older, $10 for ages 6-11 and free for children 5 and younger. Ghost tours fill up fast, so attendees should preregister at To register, contact Alex Withers at 804/493-1979 or

“In Memory of Self and Comrades: Thomas W. Colley’s Recollection.” Oct. 23 at University of Mary Washington Jepson Alumni Executive Center, 1119 Hanover St., Fredericksburg. Michael K. Shaffer, author and Civil War historian will speak to the Civil War Round Table of Fredericksburg. Bar opens at 5:45 p.m. Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Program starts about 7:30 p.m.; questions afterward. Reserve seats no later than Oct. 18 at 540/361-2105; or on the website; call in any cancellations. Dinner $32 by cash or check at the door.

“Spirits of the Graffiti House.” Oct. 26 from 5–9 p.m. at the Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Road, Brandy Station. Brandy Station Foundation and Culpeper Paranormal will host this free, family-friendly event, which will include treats, ghostly stories and a raffle. Come meet the Culpeper Paranormal Team. Members will be on hand to share their findings from previous investigations at the Graffiti House and other locations. They will also have equipment demonstrations and evidence for presentation. The foundation welcomes donations.

“Musical Borrowings: Tribute or Plagiarism?” Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. in in the Pavilion at Belmont, 224 Washington St., Falmouth. Gari Melchers Home and Studio will host a talk on the history of parodies, tributes and highway robbery in music, presented by UMW Professor of Musicology Brooks Kuykendall. Admission is free.

Extended hours at Fredericksburg Area Museum. Nov. 1 from 5–8 p.m. FAM gallery spaces will be free and open to the public for November’s First Friday. Come see “People & Their Pets,” “The People’s Gallery” and “Our Fredericksburg Story: In Their Own Words” before they close at the end of the year.

Speaker Series. Nov. 7 from 10–11 a.m. at Dorothy Hart Community Center, 408 Canal St., Fredericksburg. Laura Galke will present “Anxious Colonials, Proud Americans: The Washingtons, 1732–1799.” Free.

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