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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Montpelier Civil War Encampment Aug.1 - 3

Montpelier Civil War Encampment
August 1-3, 2008

So, history buffs – make note of two significant upcoming events at historic Montpelier, President James Madison’s home in Orange County, VA.

About 50 Civil War re-enactors from Company A 13th Virginia, which was known as the “Montpelier Guards,” will be camping Aug. 1-3 at Montpelier and participating in activities similar to those of the estimated 4,500 Confederate forces housed on Montpelier grounds in 1863-64. The event is open to the public on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The standard $14 admission to Montpelier covers entrance to the encampment and other activities. And by the way, we have discounted admission tickets which also give you a 10% discount at the Montpelier Gift Shop!

As part of the weekend activities, Montpelier senior guide and noted Civil War book author Jayne E. Blair will lead in-depth guide’s tours of the Confederate Winter Camp Site at Montpelier, as well as recognize the Aug. 1 anniversary of the Confederate return to Orange County Courthouse following General Robert E. Lee’s devastating defeat at Gettysburg.

Prior to the 1864 Battle of the Wilderness, Orange County served as headquarters for General Lee’s army. That winter before the 3-day battle that resulted in almost 30,000 casualties, General Samuel McCowan’s South Carolina Brigade occupied the camp located on what is now Montpelier’s 2,650 acres.

Since the site was abandoned on May 4, 1864, the 5-acre encampment that included huts with hearths laid out in 50-men streets has been nearly untouched. In an exciting discovery, Montpelier’s archaeologists have excavated four of these hut sites, and they are featured as part of a ¾-mile interpretive trail.

Also included on the tours will be the Gilmore Cabin, which is the post-Civil War home of freedman George Gilmore, his wife Polly and their five children. Born a slave at Montpelier during James Madison’s first presidential term, Gilmore was emancipated because of the Civil War. Following his freedom in the late 1860s, he leased nearby land from Dr. James A. Madison, a grandson the president’s brother. The 1873 home he built has been fully restored and opened to the public in 2005. It is the only restored Freedman cabin in Virginia.

Since 2003, Montpelier’s 26-room, 12,261-square-foot mansion has been undergoing the most significant historical restoration in the nation to return it to the home James and Dolley Madison created. Completion of the $24 million project will be celebrated on Constitution Day, Sept. 17, with a Restoration Celebration that will be attended by numerous national dignitaries and luminaries. Admission to Montpelier will be free that day, honoring Mr. Madison – the Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights and fourth president of the United States.

Of course, there’s more to do around us than just go to these exciting events at Montpelier. And it’s going to take you more than one day to do it all!

We are surrounded by some of the state’s finest wineries – Gray Ghost, Old House, Keswick, Prince Michel, Horton, Barboursville, Gadino Cellars, Three Foxes and Pearmund, just to name a few.

And we’re within an hour’s drive of historic Charlottesville and Fredericksburg or the always scenic Skyline Drive. And then there are the galleries, antique shops and quaint markets.

So, if you reserve for the Civil War encampment on August 1-3 and mention you read this blog entry and we’ll give you $100 off a two-night stay with dinner at least one of the nights! You can make reservations on-line from our website, http://www.meander.net/, or call us at 800-385-4936.



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