This weekend sees the sesquicentennial (that is, the 150th anniversary) of the Battle of Williamsburg, a major event in the American Civil War that involved more than 70,000 men. Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, the world’s largest “living” history museum, is marking this significant anniversary this weekend with a number of events.
In the 18th century, Williamsburg was the largest, wealthiest and most populous of Britain’s New World outposts and the capital of Virginia. After Richmond became the capital in 1780, much of historic Williamsburg fell into decline until the 1930s, when a non-profit organisation restored 300 acres to its former glory. Dozens of original administrative buildings, shops and homes were returned to their original states and the area was repopulated with the plant and wildlife that once dominated the area.
Historical re-enactors dressed in period costume mimic the daily lives and social orders of the time. Bringing the museum to life, they act out, describe and demonstrate the way people worked and communicated 200 years ago.
Colonial Williamsburg’s programme of events (from 4 to 6 May) will capture the impact the Civil War had on Williamsburg, Virginia and the United States. Notably, one of America’s founding fathers – Thomas Jefferson – will give an address about the future of slavery, while 19th century civilians will contemplate how the war changed Williamsburg and soldiers will illustrate the challenges of being infantry, cavalry or artillery during the Civil War.
Events culminate on Saturday at 2pm with a re-enactment of the battle during which units of the Confederate and Union armies will pay tribute to the nearly 4,000 casualties of the 1862 Battle of Williamsburg.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
(Image: Snap Man)Brett Ackroyd