Monthly Archives: March 2015

Civil War Trust Park Day

Every year since 1996, history enthusiasts, preservationists, and other community volunteers have gathered at historic battlefield sites across the country for the Civil War Trust’s Park Day. This annual event, scheduled for Saturday, March 28th, is an effort to help keep our nation’s heritage not only preserved, but pristine. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, the 180 mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Charlottesville, VA has the largest concentration of Civil War battlefields in the country. As such, there are multiple opportunities for individuals to take on maintenance projects large and small to support the particular needs of each participating site.   We encourage you to find a location or opportunity that works for you and join others on that day to make a difference. Here is a listing of confirmed activities within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.


Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Join volunteers from the Civil War Trust and Gettysburg National Military Park cutting brush on the slopes of Little Round Top to reveal historic terrain and original breastworks.  Space is limited and advance registration is required.  Contact: Jo Sanders at Gettysburg NMP via phone at 717-334-1124 x3351 or by email at: For more information, visit


As our nation commemorates the final year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, volunteers across the country have another opportunity to answer their country’s call to service. The Park Day project at Monocacy National Battlefield will focus on removing trash from an area that has been previously inaccessible. It promises to be fun work that will greatly assist your local National Park. Please dress appropriately for field work. Event registration will be from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the visitor center. Volunteers must attend the safety briefing at 9:00 a.m. to participate. Pre-registration is encouraged; please call 301-662-3515. For more information, please visit


Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Forty volunteers are needed to assist with the spring cleanup of the Antietam National Cemetery and the Mumma family cemetery. To sign up please contact project coordinator, Rick Schriever at 301-432-6035. Thirty volunteers are also needed to assist with preparing the Rohrback Group Campground for the camping season. To sign up please contact project coordinator, Debbie Cohen at 301-432-2243. Both projects will work from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. Volunteers should wear proper footwear and dress appropriately for the weather. For more information, visit


Volunteers are needed to help mulch and clear trails. Work will be done on the historic 1862 battlefields of the Park. The park will supply wheel barrows, pitch forks, loppers & steel rake but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves. The Park Service will supply extra gloves if needed for this 4-5 hour work day. For more information, visit


At Ball’s Bluff Battlefield projects include mulching, removal of fallen branches, trash pickup, and many other things. Please bring weather appropriate clothing, gloves, water, and rakes and shovels if you can. And wear clothing that can get dirty, and is appropriate for the weather.

Light snacks will be provided. For more information, call 703-779-9372 or e-mail For more information, visit



Photo Courtesy of the Civil War Trust


Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield is organizing a 2015 Park Day activity on CWT’s Cedar Mountain Battlefield Property. Volunteers are needed to take on a variety of tasks including clearing trash & debris, improving interpretive trails, cleaning markers, and cutting back intrusive brush and fallen trees. They may also work on the split-rail fence on the battlefield. Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves, rakes, shovels, weed whackers, loppers, etc. and wear appropriate work clothing. Light food and drinks (snacks, desserts) will be provided. For more information, visit


The Brandy Station Foundation has identified two projects: to clean up and maintain the trail leading to Kelly’s Ford on BSF owned property along the Rappahannock River at Kelly’s Ford. This trail is used by visitors to access the historic ford, one of the most heavily used during the Civil War; cleanup of the one of the storage areas on the Graffiti House property and a corner of the property along the railroad tracks at Brandy Station. Everyone is invited to join in. it is a great way to see historic areas, make new friends, and improve historic areas. Volunteers will be welcomed at the Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Road, Brandy Station, Virginia, and assigned work at 9:00 AM. They should bring their own work gloves, hats and sturdy shoes. Please bring tools helpful in cutting and removing brush, downed trees and weeds. BSF will provide water, snacks and Park Day T-shirts or patches (while they last). Please sign up in advance with BSF Park Day coordinator Gary Wilson at 540-547-4106. This will help work assignments which match the abilities and interests of volunteers and get needed tools lined up. For more info, visit


Volunteers are encouraged to join the staff at Bristoe Station Battlefield for a fun and rewarding day of work at Bristoe Battlefield. Projects will include litter pick up, cleaning cemeteries and trail maintenance throughout the 133-acre park. Wear sturdy work shoes, bring gloves and remember sunscreen. Tools and snacks will be provided. For more information, call 703-366-3049


Activities here will include trash and debris pickup, raking leaves, painting, cleaning up pulloff and monument areas. Volunteers should meet at the Saunders Field shelter on the Wilderness Battlefield, on Rt 20 in Orange County at 9:00 a.m. Bring your own gloves and safety vests if you already own some. For more information, visit



This 18th annual Park Day volunteer event, which takes place at more than 98 historic sites nationwide, is sponsored by the Civil War Trust, HistoryTM and Take Pride in America. For a full list of locations, visit

Explore Women’s History Month in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground

As Women’s History Month is celebrated each March, one region in the country is highlighting the significant contributions women have made throughout the nation’s history and encouraging individuals to visit specific sites to learn more.  The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, known as the region Where America Happened™, contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential sites, 13 National Park units, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

This 180-mile long, 75-mile wide swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, contains a rich collection of sites that chronicle important contributions women have made throughout history.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you decide to Take the Journey™.

Photo by Destination Gettysburg

Statue of Elizabeth Thorn. Photo by Destination Gettysburg

While most envision men and boys marching the battlefield in Gettysburg, PA, many of the town’s heroes are actually women. After the epic battle in 1863, women were often the only ones to tend to the wounded and take charge in cleaning up the town. One such woman is Elizabeth Thorn. Her husband Peter was the caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, and was off fighting in another part of the country. At the urging of the community, Elizabeth who was six months pregnant and the mother of three children, dug over one hundred graves in the rocky soil in the extreme July heat.  Today, a statue of Elizabeth Thorn stands outside the cemetery gatehouse as part of the Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial.  For more information, visit

Continuing down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should stop by the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, MD.  This site promotes the life and legacy of the Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first native-born saint from the United States.  Seton, who lived, worked, died, and is now buried here, founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s.  Her enduring legacy now includes hundreds of schools, social service centers, and hospitals throughout the world.  She was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975 in St. Peter’s Square.  Check out for additional details.

Clara Barton Memorial at Antietam

Clara Barton Memorial at Antietam

Near Sharpsburg, Maryland, a monument stands at Antietam National Battlefield to Clara Barton, one of the most honored women in American History.  Known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” Barton brought supplies and nursing aid to the wounded at several Civil War battle sites, including Antietam, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Harpers Ferry, and others.  She later founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and led it for the next 23 years.  For more information, visit

First Ladies also left their mark within the region.  Jackie Kennedy’s style and grace epitomized Loudoun County’s horse country and its capital, Middleburg.  In the early 1960s, the Kennedy’s used Middleburg as an escape from Washington by leasing, and then building, their own country retreat.  In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend fox-hunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments the First Lady patronized, and the town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to Jackie.  For more great places to visit in the area, check out

Edna Lewis, born in Freetown, Virginia, inspired a generation of young African American chefs and ensured traditional Southern foods and preparations would live forever.  Before her culinary journey began, Lewis found work as a seamstress and copied Christian Dior dresses for Dorcas Avedon.  She made a dress for Marilyn Monroe and became well known for her African-inspired dresses.  Eventually, Lewis opened up Café Nicholson, a restaurant located in Manhattan’s East Side. She became a local legend and cooked for many celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman Capote.  Known for her simple, but delicious Southern cooking, Lewis authored three seminal cookbooks and is lauded as one of the great women of American cooking. A new food festival, created in 2012, recognizes the culinary contributions the Orange County native has made.  Details can be found at

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

And finally, visitors should also make a point to stop at Ash Lawn-Highland in Charlottesville, Virginia.  This home of President James Monroe, and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, served as the official residence of the former first family from 1799 to 1823.  Here, they regularly welcomed friends, neighbors, dignitaries, and other visitors with warm hospitality.  To learn more, visit

There are many other historic sites pertaining to notable women within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  Maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at or by calling 540-882-4929.

ADDENDUM:  For a wonderful and in-depth story about Elizabeth Thorn, check out Kate Kelly’s piece at