Fort A.P. Hill Civil War Sesquicentennial Winter Encampment attracts more than 100
April 3, 2013
By Bob McElroy
FORT A.P. HILL, Va. -- More than 100 visitors came out on a sunny Saturday afternoon recently to view the Civil War Sesquicentennial Winter Quarters Exhibition at historic Liberty Church and the Travis Lake Historic District here.
The Exhibition marked the 150th anniversary of the end of the 1862-1863 winter encampment of Lt. Gen. (Confederate States Army) Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and the Confederate II Corps in Caroline County, Va.
Jackson's Confederate II Corps included units from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Liberty Church, which opened in 1850, was open for visitors and Civil War re-enactors from Company I, 47th Virginia Infantry set up a campsite complete with tents, a fire and equipment displays.
The campsite included a replica hut dug into the ground and reinforced with logs. Opposite the entrance was a stove with a chimney made of logs and packed mud; a canvas tent covered the hut to keep the rain off.
Re-enactor Wayne Thompson of Falmouth said the hut could sleep up to six Soldiers.
It looks small but you've got to remember that they were smaller then than we are now, Thompson said. They could get more guys in there.
Nearby re-enactor Woodford Broaddus laid out the gear and personal items a Confederate Soldier carried. It included a metal plate, sewing kit, knife, comb, mirror, toothbrush and, most important, a rifle and ammunition.
Broaddus said that the Soldiers often dumped some of their equipment as they marched to lighten their load.
They would only carry the essentials, Broaddus said. They didn't need to see what they looked like or comb their hair so they got rid of their mirror and comb. They didn't need a toothbrush either; they could cut a twig and flatten one end to clean their teeth.
The event also featured walking tours from Liberty Church to a former Civil War camp site in the Travis Lake Historic District. Red flags marked the site where Civil War huts were built on the hillsides above Travis Lake.
Fort A.P. Hill archaeologist and Cultural Resources Manager John Mullin considered the event a great success.
"I thought it was a great opportunity to get people out here to see the resources people don't often get to see," Mullen said. "We have Civil War sites in our historic district that are protected, we don't allow training there. It's nice to let the public in here to see them."
Mullen said that one of the re-enactors told him other military posts in the area wouldn't let them visit Civil War sites.
They were happy we let them go to our sites, Mullen said. They've studied them and walking down the road they could see the sites and visualize how they looked back then.
Mullen said that he hopes A.P. Hill will host similar events in the future given the success of Saturday's Winter Encampment exhibition.
It would be nice to do something like this again, he said.