Re-enactors participated in a sunrise battle during the 2006 National Civil War Re-enactment on Oct. 7, 2006, in Perryville, Ky. The 149th Batttle of Perryville Re-enactment is scheduled for Oct. 1-2, 2011, and the 150th anniversary for Oct. 6-7, 2012. ((Danville, Ky.) Advocate-Messenger viat the ASSOCI)
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Civil War event planners in Charleston, S.C., expect the 150th anniversary to be a big draw from a tourist standpoint, and they're not the only ones. Local communities across the U.S. are rolling out events to commemorate the "War Between the States." A roundup of 2011 events and other programs:
Spring cleaning at Civil War sites
Civil War battlefield properties and historic sites in 24 states will organize volunteers for cleanup and restoration projects on Park Day, April 2. Work is planned at 19 sites across Virginia alone. Among the tasks scheduled are trail bed mulch work, trash cleanup, brush removal, firewood cutting, sign cleaning and bench replacement. To find a Park Day event near you, go to http://www.civilwar.org/aboutus/events/park-day/">www.civilwar.org/aboutus/events/park-day/.
Battlefield motorcycle tour
The Arkansas tourism office has plotted a heritage trail for motorcyclists that explores eight Civil War battles and campaigns along the routes that Union and Confederate troops traveled, including sites at Prairie Grove, Pea Ridge, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Helena, Camden, Fayetteville and locations associated with Price's Raid. The first 1,000 riders to complete the tour receive a free commemorative patch. Download the route brochure at http://www.arkansasheritagetrails.com/civil-war/">http://www.arkansasheritagetrails.com/civil-war/.
Keepsake program for park visitors
To attract visitors to 23 Civil War-related sites in the state, the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission will provide a "passport" that visitors can have stamped at each place. The full passport can be exchanged for an Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial coin or patch.
‘40 acres and a mule' marker
A historical marker in Savannah sums up the history of the "40 acres and a mule" program outside the cotton merchant's mansion that served as Gen. William T. Sherman's headquarters toward the end of the war. The "40 acres" policy actually came down as a military order, Special Field Orders 15, issued by Sherman after he met with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and 20 black ministers. Sherman's order granted the ex-slaves each 40 acres, to be located along the U.S. coast from Charleston, S.C., to the St. Johns River in Florida. The document didn't mention mules, but the Union troops had extra and gave them away. The promise of 40 acres didn't last. A few months after President Lincoln's assassination in April 1865, President Andrew Johnson ordered that lands seized from Southern whites be returned to them.
"The Fiery Trail: Iowa and the Civil War" will be housed in a 32-foot trailer and will be part of the State Historical Museum's "History on the Move" program that serves Iowa residents in their communities. It opens April 12. Contact the State Historical Museum for bookings.
Fort Scott candlelight tour
The 30th annual candlelight tour of the Fort Scott National Historic Site, on Dec. 2-3, will feature events that took place in Fort Scott in 1861. Tickets go on sale Nov. 1.
Planning underway in Natchez
Community and historical organizations have begun planning for Natchez's commemoration of events that occurred in 1863 and 1864, during the city's occupation. "We aren't calling it a celebration, because you can't celebrate so much death," U.S., Historic Natchez Foundation Director Mimi Miller said. "But we can use the Civil War to build relationships, stimulate thought and encourage the reconciliation both regional and racial."
Battlefield claims historic status
The South Mountain Civil War battlefield near Boonsboro is taking its place on the National Register of Historic Places. The state Department of Natural Resources, which manages the battlefield, says the listing is a huge step toward preserving the site on the mountain ridge that defines the Frederick-Washington county line. Private landowners in designated areas will be encouraged to keep their properties looking the way they did in September 1862. At least 4,000 troops were killed, wounded or declared missing in action on South Mountain on Sept. 14, 1862.
Tweets show Civil War life
A historian with the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources is telling the story of the Civil War, 140 characters at a time. LeRae Umfleet is using a Twitter account to tell the story of North Carolina civilians during the war. A blog contains the full citation for each message. One recent tweet quotes a North Carolina woman complaining that her sister is a staunch supporter of the Union. Umfleet says the concise messages of Twitter are a good way to help modern audiences understand the effects of the war on civilians. Go to http://twitter.com/civilianwartime">twitter.com/civilianwartime.
Backstage tours of rarely viewed artifacts
The Ohio Historical Society says that on one Thursday evening each in April, May and June, it will give the first official behind-the-scenes tours of its Civil War collections. Officials say in a statement that groups of up to a dozen people will glimpse stored-away objects that in many cases have never before been seen by visitors. Each tour begins at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus, and officials say the two-hour experience will include opportunities for participants to taste traditional soldier food and hold real military equipment. The cost will be $150 per person. Go to. http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/index.shtml">http://ohsweb.ohiohistory.org/index.shtml.
Union sympathizers burned the Hiawassee River railroad bridge in Charleston during the Civil War, and there are plans in the works to do it again. Union sympathizers burned the bridge in 1861 in an effort to cut the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad that linked Virginia and the lower South through Knoxville. This time, students will be playing the parts of soldiers. About 1,000 fifth-graders will go to Union and Confederate re-enactment camps Nov. 4. A mock-up of the bridge will be set on fire the next day.
Mount Vernon tour
George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate will offer a new tour to highlight its connection to the Civil War. After Union troops stormed nearby Alexandria weeks into the war, Confederate forces were closing in from the south. Records show soldiers from both sides visited the estate during that turbulent time. Washington's home was considered one of the few neutral locations during the war, due to efforts by the home's caretakers, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association. The estate announced recently that it will offer the "Mount Vernon in the Civil War" tour on Saturdays and Sundays beginning April 2 through October. It will show the changing role of blacks at the estate and present views from Union and Confederate perspectives about the first U.S. president.
HistoryMobile unveiled at Manassas
The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission will debut its Civil War 150 HistoryMobile near Henry Hill at Manassas National Battlefield Park during the First Battle of Manassas Commemorative Program on July 21-24. The HistoryMobile "is an immersive exhibit that will ... travel throughout Virginia and the nation during the sesquicentennial," according to the National Park Service. Activities at Manassas will include special battlefield tours, living history and historic weapons demonstrations, exhibits, lectures, music and a kids tent.
Colonial Williamsburg walking tour
Colonial Williamsburg plans to offer a one-hour walking tour that explores the town's major Civil War sites. Guests will meet interpreters portraying a Union soldier, a Confederate soldier and one of the town's women. Williamsburg was occupied for several years during the war. Tours will take place on most Fridays from April 1 through Aug. 26 and Oct. 7 through Nov. 18.
Library helps preserve documents
Library of Virginia archivists are helping residents preserve their Civil War-era documents in cyberspace. Archivists Laura Drake Davis and Renee Savits are working in different parts of the state, usually scanning documents on weekends.
So far, they've scanned more than 5,000 documents. It's part of a project the library is conducting in partnership with the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. Savits says the library has been inundated with materials and that scanning them takes time. The documents eventually will be on display at http://www.virginiamemory.com/collections/cw150">www.virginiamemory.com/cw150.
Grant for tree project
A partnership is getting funding from Virginia to plant trees from Gettysburg to Monticello as a living memorial for all soldiers who died in the Civil War. The $300,000 grant from the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board will be used to design a Living Legacy Tree Planting program. The goal is to plant 620,000 trees along the Journey through Hallowed Ground, a 180-mile National Scenic Byway in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. http://www.hallowedground.org/">www.hallowedground.org
Richmond forms commission
Richmond hopes to put tensions about the Civil War behind it and to cash in on tourism. Richmond served as the capital of the Confederacy. Mayor Dwight Jones says he believes "we're all grown up enough now to recognize that everybody's story needs to be told" when it comes to the Civil War, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Monthly education program
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will conduct a monthly program to commemorate key events in the Civil War and West Virginia's statehood. The programs will take place on the first Monday of every month at the state Culture Center museum in Charleston. Items and documents related to President Lincoln will be discussed and displayed. Events are free and open to the public. http://www.wvculture.org/">http://www.wvculture.org/
Battle of Carnifex Ferry
Re-enactors will re-create Civil War life and the 1861 Battle of Carnifex Ferry the weekend of Sept. 10-11 at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park in Summersville. The battle is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sept. 11.
Madison museum features relics
The Wisconsin Historical Museum is exhibiting battlefield relics and home-front souvenirs to show how people of the Civil War era responded to the conflict, how they memorialized the war, and how the experience of war and remembrance has changed over 150 years. "Civil War Memories and Mementos" will run through Oct. 8.