History at Sunset is an annual program held by the park during the summer season. Every Friday evening at 7 p.m., park historians will lead a tour or special program in the park or the surrounding area. These tours focus on areas rarely visited or stories rarely told.
The programs will begin at 7 p.m. and will run approximately 90 minutes. Be prepared for some walking, and please bring a flashlight. See the 2018 schedule below:
The National Park Service is pleased to announce the 2018 schedule for its History at Sunset series of programs. The series kicks off on June 8 with a first-ever program at Germanna Ford on the Rapidan River, led by Supervisory Historian Greg Mertz and hosted by the Germanna Foundation. Other highlights include an exploration of the monuments along the Sunken Road on July 27, a visit to Hartwood Church in Stafford County on August 3, an exploration of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp (and the role of the CCC in the development of the park) at the Wilderness Battlefield on July 6, and a visit to the historic Carpenter Farm, site of Union field hospitals at the Wilderness (a program hosted by the Izaak Walton League, owners of the property).
History at Sunset is now in its 16th year. To date, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP staff have presented 159 History at Sunset programs to more than 18,000 visitors (an average of about 120 per program). The goal of History at Sunset is to offer visitors access to sites not typically accessible for tours or to see familiar sites through a different lens.
June 8: Germanna Ford: Threshold to Battle. Greg Mertz. Park at the Germanna Community College, Locust Grove Campus, 2130 Germanna Hwy, Locust Grove, VA 22508. Gather at the end of the college parking lot closest to Route 3 and the entrance to the lot. The Germanna Foundation, which honors the two German colonies that first settled at Germanna in 1714 and 1717, is hosting the event.
June 15: Fredericksburg’s Forgotten Plain: Bernard’s Cabins and Latimer’s Knoll. Frank O’Reilly & John Hennessy. This program will explore Latimer’s Knoll and the adjacent site of the slave cabins for Mannsfield Plantation, both of which became key Confederate positions in the climactic fighting on December 13, 1862. Meet at the Bernard’s Cabin Trailhead, South Lee Drive, Fredericksburg Battlefield.
June 22: Roaring into Modernity: 20th Century Chatham. Becky Oakes. Chatham was a private residence until 1975, and much of the landscape today reflects the 20thCentury. Becky Oakes will explore Chatham’s transformation into a modern home, the people who envisioned it as an ornate retreat, and those whose labor made it a reality. 120 Chatham Lane, 22405.
June 29: “After me with a sharp stick”: Hooker’s Retreat from Chancellorsville. Beth Parnicza and Maureen Lavelle will track the experience of Union General Joseph Hooker—his wounding and the age-old question: why did he retreat? Park along Hooker Drive near River Road, Chancellorsville Battlefield.
July 6: Evolution of a Park: Saunders Field. Eric Mink and Becky Oakes will explore the site of the Wilderness Civilian Conservation Corps, which helped construct the National Military Park in the 1930s. Meet at Wilderness Exhibit Shelter (tour stop 2), 35347 Constitution Highway, 22508
July 13: Hospitals and Forgotten Graves in the Wilderness: The Carpenter Farm. John Hennessy. A rare opportunity to explore the site of one of the largest and most important field hospitals in the region, exploding myths and illuminating an immense human struggle along the way. At the Izaak Walton League, 12400 Herndon Road, 22553.
July 20: Absolutely Hopeless: May 18 at Spotsylvania. Beth Parnicza & Peter Maugle. Meet at the Bloody Angle, Spotsylvania Tour Stop 3. You perhaps know the landscape—the Bloody Angle—but you likely don’t know the story of the futile, disastrous Union attack launched across that ground on May 18, 1864, six days after the more famous fighting at the Bloody Angle. Parking is available along tour road; GPS coordinates for Tour Stop 3 are 38.223728, -77.602356
July 27: Legends, Lives, and Stone: Fredericksburg in Stories and Granite. Beth Parnicza and Becca Jameson. The area around the famed Sunken Road is one of the most heavily commemorated landscapes in the park. Explore what these stone sentinels can tell us about the generations that created them as well as those they memorialize. Park at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, 1013 Lafayette Boulevard, 22401.
August 3: Hartwood Church Inside and Out. Frank O’Reilly and John Hennessy. Our first-ever visit to this historic Church in southern Stafford, which witnessed battle and the passage of troops, and whose congregation struggled to survive amidst war. 25 Hartwood Road, 22406. Bring a lawn chair.
August 10: Distinguished Gallantry: Medals of Honor at Slaughter Pen Farm. Peter Maugle, Ryan Quint, and Justin Voithofer will explore the Slaughter Pen Farm, with an emphasis on those who received the Medal of Honor by their acts there. Meet at 11190 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg, 22408