The Sesquicentennial…… Commemorating The Civil War Fallen

by: Marlene email

Sesquicentennial- 150th Anniversary of the Civil War

I now know that the  “Sesquicentennial”  is the 150th  anniversary of  the start of the Civil War.  But if  someone had asked me last December what it referred to,  I would have had to say that I had absolutely no idea .   Lame guess,  maybe a newly discovered manuscript by James Mitchner,  a follow-up to his best seller, Centennial  ?    Or a new postage stamp,  commemorating who knows what ?  Nix to both.  However,  an interesting  article in the January, 2011  issue of Virginia Business   magazine,  entitled “Fighting For Attention”  has enlightened me as to not only the meaning of that tongue twisting word but outlined some of the  many Virginia events planned for the Sesquicentennial.   Who knew ?  According to the Virginia Business article,  tourism commissions across the states which actively fought in the Civil War knew,  especially the Virginia Tourism Commission which hopes to fill hotel rooms all across the state for the many,  many special Sesquicentennial events planned in venues all around the state. The observances will be commemorations rather than celebrations  ” because of the destruction and the great loss of life caused by the Civil War.  Greater emphasis… will also be placed on the emancipation of  slaves”.

Commemorative statue of President Lincoln and son Tad at the Richmond Battlefield Visitor Center

It’s easy to understand why there’s going to be a lot planned in Virginia because Richmond, Virginia was,  of course,  the capitol of the Confederacy.  And almost 60 % of the battles of the Civil War were fought on Virginia soil. I’m pretty sure that most people, ( even if they, like myself, are not Civil War buffs), have heard of the very  famous Civil War battles fought in Virginia– the Battles of Bull Run, the battle  near Norfolk  between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia ( which was built using the hull of the USS Merrimac),  the Battle at New Market and the siege of Petersburg and Richmond.  Of course,  the War ended at the Courthouse in Appomattox County, Virginia where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant.  And ten days before his assassination,  President Lincoln and his son Tad traveled to Richmond as one of  Lincoln’s  first steps in his  plan to start to  “bind the Nation’s wounds.”  ( A great deal of information can be found on various  Civil War Trails sites at  According to Virginia Business,  the Civil War Trails program now includes  over 300+ Civil War sites in 80+ Virginia localities. ) 

The Confederate White House Located On Clay Street, Richmond, VA

Several large events are being planned including a July, 2011 re-inactment of the First Battle at Bull Run  ( ). Many other special  events are  being scheduled in the Richmond, Virginia area, which was essentially ground zero for the Civil War,  the location of the Confederate White House   (   ) .  The  most prominant  Sesquicentennial event closest to Virginia’s Eastern Shore will take place in  in Norfolk, Virginia.   The  Harrison Opera House is offering a production entitled “Rappahannock County” , a musical,  which will also be a featured part of  Norfolk’s annual Virginia Virginia Arts Festival.   (   )  “Rappahannock County” opens on April 12th and  the previews  seem quite interesting.   What,  if anything,  is being planned for  the Eastern Shore of Virginia, I don’t know as of yet but I will check it out.   Actually, I think it was pretty quiet here during the Civil War,  a few soldiers headquartered in Eastville,  the same in Accomac.  But I am going to follow-up with Dr. Miles Barnes, curator of the Eastern Shore Room at the Eastern Shore Public Library,  for a little more detail on the Civil War on the Eastern Shore.    And I’ll post anything interesting which may be planned here on  the Eastern Shore for the  Sesquicentennial.

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