Where: Richmond, Green County, Virginia, Southeast USA
When: 1861 – 1865
History: A minor skirmish in America’s bloody Civil War dramatically re-enacted – with cavalry and canons
America’s Civil War
Virginia oozes history – every town has associations with the Revolution or the Civil War and no more so than Richmond, the once capital of the confederacy and now the capital of the state. It’s hard to believe now on Richmond’s beautiful plains that Virginian soil once ran with blood, but this was the battleground of a four year bloody conflict that pitted countryman against countryman, divided families, caused widespread destruction, and horrific military and civilian casualties.
The United States in the mid-1800s was like two separate countries living together as one. The issue of slavery brought things to a head – the more the North insisted it was morally wrong and should be abolished, the more the South, whose economy was built on cheap slave labour, resisted. Not one single issue caused the Civil War – North and South were like a bickering couple who just couldn’t bear to live together any more! So from 1861 to 1865 the Unionists from the North battled the Confederates from the South until the South was defeated.
Although the Battle of Stanardsville in Green County was only a minor skirmish it was indicative of the loss of life and bloodshed of what was happening over Virginia – at Manassas, at Fredericksburg, and at Petersburg. It’s estimated that 35,000 Union soldiers and 95,000 Confederates died in combat during the Civil War.
What to See and Do at the Battle of Stanardsville Festival
At this two day event, spectators can buy souvenirs from sutlers (vendors who sold goods – sweets, tobacco, newspapers – at exorbitant prices to desperate soldiers), listen to the civil war bands performing traditional numbers, enjoy the Ladies Tea and Fashion Show, witness the spectacular Civil War Re-enactment battle complete with cavalry and canons and finally dance the night away at the Civil War Ball.
Other Places to Experience the Civil War
If you miss the battle, there are plenty of other places in Virginia to get a taste of the Civil War era. At the Pamplin Park Historical Site at Petersburg ( an hour and a half drive from Stanardsville), you can become a civil war soldier for a day. The average pay of a soldier was a mere $16 a month, but today you’ll have to pay nearly this much for the privilege of doing the same.
The day starts with some drilling – most soldiers were inactive 75 percent of the time and so bored by drilling, they only realising its importance when it was too late. The average Civil War soldier had more to fear from disease than enemy bullets – diseases like cholera, smallpox, and measles killed twice as many soldiers as any bullets. At Pamplin Park you can even take a lesson in battlefield medicine and learn many gory stories and play with horrific amputation instruments. At lunch you will be served a typical soldier’s meal on a tinplate before retiring to a wooden 16-bed barrack for a less than luxurious night’s sleep.
Battle of Stanardsville
Photos and contact details of the re-enactment.
Pamplin Historical Park
Plan you visit to the Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier.
By Susi O’Neill