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Re-enactors to be part of Civil War Family Day

Dr. Wesley Wilson will portray Medal of Honor winner James Gardner at Civil War Family Day on Saturday, July 13, at Historic Christ Church in Weems.

Civil War re-enactors are coming to Historic Christ Church in Weems as part of a Civil War Family Day on Saturday, July 13.  Members of “Voices of Freedom,” a group of living historians from Gloucester led by Dr. Wesley Wilson and Chauncey Herring, will be on site from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Dr. Wilson will portray Private James Gardner, a free black man from Gloucester County who served with the 36th Infantry Regiment in the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery at the Battle of New Market Heights on September 29, 1864. 

Chauncey Herring will portray Thomas Morris Chester, the first African-American war correspondent to work for a major daily newspaper (Philadelphia Press).  

The Voices of Freedom group will also have a number of teenage boys on hand portraying Civil War sailors.  

Joining this group will be another noted re-enactor, John Pelletier of Portsmouth, who portrays a Civil War surgeon.  Pelletier will show some of the medical instruments and discuss the types of treatments surgeons had available during the war.  He has performed across Virginia and a few years ago recreated a Civil War amputation for a video in an exhibition from the Virginia Historical Society.    

In addition to these exciting programs, the Civil War Family Day will include tours of the Virginia Historical Society’s traveling exhibition, “An American Turning Point: The Civil War in Virginia,” and the Civil War 150 HistoryMobile from the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.

An American Turning Point is a 1,000-square-foot traveling panel exhibition comprised of images and interpretive text.  This free exhibition explores the people and communities of Virginia affected by the greatest turmoil to happen on American soil.  It is divided into 10 themes that focus on various aspects of the war. The exhibition asks visitors questions that may challenge conventional wisdom about the Civil War, such as “Why did the Civil War Happen?”, “The First Modern War?”, “Who Freed the Slaves?”, and “Did the Civil War End at Appomattox?”.  

Made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, An American Turning Point will be on display from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 2-5 p.m. Sunday, from July 12-28.

Civil War Family Day is co-sponsored by the Foundation for Historic Christ Church, the Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, and the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society with support from Connemara Corporation of White Stone.  For more details, visit or call 438-6855.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 07.02.2013

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