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Culpeper’s history comes alive during Remembrance Days

A re-enactor talks to curious children during Remembrance Days 2012. Courtesy Photo/Culpeper Department of Tourism
Note: This is the first article in a four-part series leading up to the celebration of Remembrance Days in Culpeper April 20-21. Today: Remembering Culpeper's part in the War for Independence and the War Between the States)

Culpeper has a notable past, a vibrant present and a promising future.
Remembrance Days gives residents and visitors an opportunity to remember its past and the people who shaped it.
From 17-year-old future president George Washington, who had his first job as a surveyor in Culpeper to Culpeper native Gen. Edward Stevens and the Culpeper Minutemen to Culpeper-born Confederate Gen. Ambose Powell (A.P.) Hill and his 13th Virginia Infantry, this area has seen its share of heroes.

Remembrance Days will pay homage to Culpeper's rich history with events at the Museum of Culpeper History, the adjoining Burgandine House, historic St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and the Graffiti House in Brandy Station.
“This is the seventh year for Remembrance Days,” said Lori Sorrentino, Culpeper tourism director. “Windmore will host an exciting Civil War Civil War spy presentation on April 20, there will be – for the first time – special events focusing on black history and there will be re-enactors at the Museum of Culpeper History.”

Also, historic Little Fork Episcopal Church in Rixeyville will have a special program April 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Parish Hall which will include a colonial service and colonial music, dancers, games and a special tea.” (For more information visit: www.littleforkchurch.net)
During the War Between the States, 150 years ago in 1863, the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in Southern-held states and the battles of Kelly's Ford and Brandy Station had historic impact on the Culpeper area.

“The Museum of Culpeper History will host a Civil War encampment on the museum lawn and at the Hill mansion on East Street and there will be Colonial dancers on Saturday afternoon,” wrote Lee Langston-Harrison, museum executive director in an e-mail.
The museum itself and the adjacent Burgandine House – Culpeper's oldest house – will be open all weekend (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.) with living historians. The museum exhibit focuses on life in Culpeper during 1863.
“There will be Civil War and Sons of the American Revolution re-enactors all weekend,” wrote Langston-Harrison.
“Friday afternoon (April 19) any school group is invited to come over and interact with civilians in the historic Civil War encampment area.” (For more information call: 829-1749).

The Graffiti House in Brandy Station served as a field hospital during the War Between the States and was also Federal headquarters during the Union Encampment of 1863-63. Soldiers from both sides made drawings and signed their names and units on the walls. The graffiti was rediscovered in 1993 and much of it has been painstakingly preserved.
“The house will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.” wrote Joe McKinney, president of the Brandy Station Foundation in an e-mail. “I will be giving a special free presentation Saturday and Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. about the history of the house.” (For more information call 219-7478)
For details on Culpeper Remembrance Days go to: visitculpeperva.com or see: Culpeper Remembrance Days on Facebook.
Next week: The Quest for Freedom

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