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A HOUSE DIVIDED THE CIVIL WAR AT HAMPTON

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Date: June 10, 2011
Contact: Angela Roberts-Burton, 410-823-1309 x208

SPECIAL EXHIBITION OPENS AT HAMPTON

A HOUSE DIVIDED: THE CIVIL WAR AT HAMPTON

PREVIEW SUNDAY, JULY 10, 2011

AT HAMPTON NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE IN TOWSON

Announcing the opening of the exhibition A House Divided: The Civil War at Hamptonin the changing exhibition gallery at Hampton mansion. One hundred and fifty years ago, the nation was plunged into Civil War. At Hampton one finds evidence of conditions seen across the country, but especially in border states such as Maryland: families with divided loyalties, tensions on the home front, enslaved peoples' desire for freedom. The exhibit will highlight these themes as seen through Hampton NHS's rich museum and archival collections, featuring numerous items never before on view including historic photographs, arms, and war-related manuscripts and memorabilia.

One whole section of the exhibit will highlight the exciting story of the Baltimore County Horse Guards. Charles Ridgely of Hampton was the captain of this group of mainly pro-Southern gentlemen from the area who played an interesting role in the tumultuous days at the very beginning of the war when Maryland's fate had not yet been decided. Says Chief of Interpretation Vince Vaise, "The Horse Guard, in their ornate uniforms of blue and gray, epitomized the notion that riding off to war was a romantic adventure - that changed quickly in the summer of 1861."

Curator Gregory Weidman is especially impressed by the ironies seen in the split allegiances of various family members. "Nicholas Greenbury Ridgely, a young cousin of Hampton's mistress Eliza Ridgely who spent much of his childhood at Hampton, wrote and published ardently pro-Southern satirical poetry during the War, making fun of Union politicians and generals. At the same time, his own father was serving heroically as a captain in the Union navy!" Not surprisingly, "Cousin Nickody," as he was called by the family, published his works under various pseudonyms.

The Ridgelys of Hampton held the second-largest number of enslaved individuals in Baltimore County in 1860. The exhibit brings light to their individual identities and examines what became of them after Emancipation. Documents even show the names of Hampton slaves who became recruits for the Union Army.

The opening of A House Divided: The Civil War at Hampton will coincide with another special event, a Hampton Second Sunday program featuring jousting, Maryland's official state sport.Jousters on the North Lawn of the mansion will display the skilled sport by catching small hoops on their lances while racing across the green.The free fun for the entire family will take place on July 10, 2011 from 12:30 PM to 4 PM.

The Civil War exhibit will be on view through March 2012. Hampton is open seven days a week, with tours beginning on the hour at 10 AM until 4 PM. Admission is to Hampton National Historic Site is free.

 

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Fort McHenry National Monument

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