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April 19, 2012

Colonial Williamsburg Programs, Re-enactments Observe the Sesquicentennial of the Battle of Williamsburg May 4-6

Colonial Williamsburg captures the impact of the Civil War on the United States, Virginia and the town of Williamsburg during the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Williamsburg May 4-6.

One of the nation’s Founding Fathers worries about the future of slavery in the United States.

Civilians in the 19th century contemplate the changes in Williamsburg through programs and tours, and soldiers illustrate their lives through tours of the camps and demonstrations of infantry, artillery and cavalry of the Civil War period.

During the program, “Seven Score and Ten: The 150th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony of the Battle of Williamsburg” on Saturday, May 5 at 2 p.m. on Market Square, guests are invited to join units of the Confederate and Union Armies in a tribute to the nearly 4,000 casualties of the Battle of Williamsburg. Nationally renowned Civil War historian Professor James I. Robertson Jr. delivers the keynote address, “The Uncontrollable War.”

Robertson is the Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus in History at Virginia Tech. He is also executive director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and is a charter member of Virginia’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. He served as executive director of the U.S. Civil War Centennial Commission to mark the conflict’s 100th anniversary. Robertson is the author or editor of more than 20 books that include award-winning studies of the Civil War. His massive biography of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson won eight national awards and was used as the basis for the Warner Bros. movie, “Gods and Generals,” for which Robertson was chief historical consultant.

Civil War historian James I. Robertson Jr. speaks May 5.

Programs for May 4, 5 and 6 include:

  • Wolf by the Ear, Thomas Jefferson and the Pursuit of Freedom. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson awaits news of whether Missouri will be admitted to the Union as a free state or a slave state. He reflects on the years since the American Revolution and the great debates over the institution of slavery. Appearing during the drama are Patrick Henry and Edmund Randolph, who debate ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the Haitian revolutionary Jean Jacque Dessalines and Henry Clay, the renowned orator and speaker of the House of Representatives. Live music from the early years of the American republic accent this program. 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4 at the Kimball Theatre. Tickets are $24.95.
  • Understanding the Civil War in Williamsburg. Guests meet with a historian and explore the events that lead up to the arrival of the armies in Williamsburg in 1862. 9:30 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 5 and 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 6 at the Courthouse steps. Admission is included in all Historic Area tickets.
  • Tours of the Camps. Take a guided tour of the camps and learn about military life in 1862. The Confederate camp is located on Nassau Street in the Custis Pasture (across from the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum) and the Union camp is located near the Capitol. 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 5. Admission is included in all Historic Area tickets.
  • Military Field Hospital illustrates how surgeons cared for wounded soldiers. The hospital will conduct ongoing interpretation of medical practices used during the Civil War. Not suitable for small children. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6 at the Courthouse. Admission is included in all Historic Area tickets.
  • Cavalry Demonstration depicts Civil War cavalry tactics. Saturday will feature a cavalry unit from the Confederate army, and Sunday will feature a cavalry unit from the Union army. 10:30 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6 at Market Square. No ticket is required.
  • Artillery Demonstration shows crews practicing firing ordnance. 1:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6 at Market Square. No ticket is required.
  • Seven Score and 10: The 150th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony of the Battle of Williamsburg invites guests to join units of the Confederate and Union Armies in a commemorative ceremony paying tribute to those who died on both sides of this historic conflict. 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 at Market Square. No ticket is required.
  • Military Music of the Civil War Demonstration. Hear the music played by the army during the Civil War. 4:40 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6 at Market Square. No ticket is required.
  • Infantry Demonstration depicts 1862 infantry tactics. Saturday’s program features infantry from the Confederate army. Sunday’s program features infantry from the Union army. 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6 at Market Square. No ticket is required.

    Colonial Williamsburg also offers ongoing programs to showcases the importance of Williamsburg during the Civil War:

  • Un-Civil Harmony: Music of the Civil War depicts how the Civil War shook our nation and tore us apart. Guests hear the stories and music of Williamsburg and America when we were at war with ourselves. The program is presented at 7 p.m. Wednesdays through June 13 and Saturday, May 5 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St. Cost for this program is $18 for adults and $9 for children under six.
  • Women of Civil War Williamsburg explores the hardship and loss after the Battle of Williamsburg and the following three years of military occupation. Guests join a one-hour walking tour that presents the effects of the Civil War on the lives of the women of Williamsburg at 7, 7:20, 7:40, 8:20, 8:40 and 9 p.m. Saturday, May 5 and Sundays through June 17 at the Secretary’s Office. Cost for this program is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children under six.
  • Williamsburg Civil War Tour tells stories about the important role Williamsburg played in the American Civil War. In addition to witnessing both the Northern and Southern Armies, it experienced a tragic battle on its doorstep. Join the tour and meet people who were here and learn more about Williamsburg’s role in this heart-rending period of American history. The one-hour walking tour is offered evenings at 7, 7:20, 7:40, 8:20, 8:40 and 9 on Fridays through June 15 at the Courthouse in the Historic Area. Cost for this program is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children under six.

    Colonial Williamsburg ticketed hotel guests, Annual pass members and Good Neighbor pass members receive a discount on these programs. For more information and reservations, call 1-800-HISTORY.

    Programs and exhibitions at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

    Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at www.history.org.

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121



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