Capt. Flagg’s U.S. Quartermaster City: Prospects of Peace 1864

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Date: November 16, 2015
Contact: Melinda Day, 304-535-6063
Contact: John King, 304-535-6064

 Event dates: Saturday and Sunday December 5 and 6, 2015

Harpers Ferry Park invites the public to join a unique window into the magnitude and scope of Captain Flagg’s 1864 US Quartermaster city. Everything that General Philip Sheridan’s Army would need to fight in the Shenandoah Valley, was stored and moved out of the town’s former US Armory site. It is through this 1864 Yuletide event, that the park continues to reflect on what the Civil War will determine; the Union of the States, and eventual freedom of 4 million enslaved people. 

It’s December…American troops are deployed in the field, new insurgent attacks occur almost every day. The death toll is rising and the country is thinking about the recent contentious presidential election. The Democrats wanted to regain the White House charging that the war is mismanaged, and that an exit strategy should be pursued. The Republican incumbent stated that America will finish the fight and will do so victorious. Abraham Lincoln’s second election hinged on the success of Union General Philip Sheridan’s Valley Campaign.

For many citizens and soldiers, Harpers Ferry was both a home and military post. To represent Capt. Flagg’s Quartermaster city, Harpers Ferry will be depicted as a Union garrisoned town during the Christmas season of 1864. The town is under federal occupation, and the American flag that flies over this national park flew here 151 years ago. For several months, Harpers Ferry had been the staging area for Union operations in the Shenandoah Valley; successful operations that brought the inevitable end of the conflict ever closer. Troops and supplies steadily poured south from the Ferry by rail and wagon train. Over 60,000 federal soldiers and all their gear passed through into the Shenandoah Valley. Those same means of transportation brought back a steady stream of wounded soldiers, prisoners, and the dead. Buildings at Harpers Ferry that are not used to house supplies are occupied by hospitals, the Christian Commission, and the Sanitary Commission. These organizations provided charity, aid and comfort to soldiers spending another Christmas far from home. 

On the home front, the Christmas spirit is tempered by concern for the safety of loved ones far from home and deployed in harm’s way. Hopes and prayers are that Santa Claus will visit every home, but that a notice of sad tidings from the battlefield will not. The spirit of Christmas, the spirit of hope, charity, the spirit of joy are muted this holiday season, overshadowed by the clouds of war, and an occupying army in the field.

 

Event schedule:

Saturday, December 5 (11-6 pm Historic exhibits open)

11am - 1pm & 2pm - 4pm.While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced in Their Heads” Workshop.  Join Carol Anderson, Historic Foodways & 19th Century Confections Expert to learn the art and mystery of the Confectioner’s Yuletide trade and treats while exploring the world of sugar work. Pre-registration required along with payment at 304-535-1523.

11-3 pm “Decking the Halls: Ornaments for the Tree” Make and take a 19th century style ornament. At the Lyceum Tent. Make real tin tinsel & tin spiral decorations and edible ornaments for your tree!  

1 pm “Mail Call: Packages From Home” Witness local citizens and soldiers gathering to receive their censored mail from the US Provost Marshal’s office. Begins at the Lyceum Tent.

1-4pm “Captain Flagg’s US Quarter Master City”: A Guided Horse and Wagon Tour. Sign up & reserve your free ticket at the Soldiers Rest on Potomac Street.

2 pm “Caught Yesterday, French Bill, Notorious Murderer and Bushwhacker”. Follow the Provost Marshal as they deal with the crime and punishment of a well known deserter. Begins at Lyceum Tent. Guided tour including weapons firing and demonstration.

2:30  "Ho For Christmas",  What songs transported soldiers from the front line to the home front? Join this musical journey back in time with the musical group Home Front. At the Lyceum Tent.

3 pm “Feeding the War Machine: Soft Bread for Sheridan’s Army” See how 5,000 loaves of bread were made and baked in brick ovens. Meet at the backyard of Soldiers Rest Potomac Street. 

3-5 pm “A Grand Military and Citizen’s Ball” Join the 34th Massachusetts Officers and their wives as they host a Victorian Dance. Dance instruction provided by the Victorian Dance Ensemble to period dance music by Wheaton’s Parlor Orchestra, at the Lyceum Tent.

 9:30pm Last park shuttle departs the lower town for Cavalier Heights entrance station parking. 

Sunday, December 6th 2015 (11-4pm Historic exhibits open) 

1-2 pm “Mail Call: Packages From Home” Witness local citizens and soldiers gathering to receive their censored mail from the US Provost Marshal’s office. Begins at the Lyceum Tent Arsenal. 

1-4pm “Captain Flagg’s US Quarter Master City”: A Guided Horse and Wagon Tour. Sign up & reserve your free ticket at the Soldiers Rest on Potomac Street.

2pm “Feeding the War Machine: Soft Bread for Sheridan’s Army” See how 5,000 loaves of bread were made and baked in brick ovens. Meet at the backyard of the Soldiers Rest.  

2-3 pm “Caught Yesterday, French Bill, Notorious Murderer and Bushwhacker”. Follow the Provost Marshal as they deal with the crime and punishment of a well known deserter. Begins at Lyceum Tent. Guided tour including weapons firing and demonstration.  

4 pm Special exhibits close.  

6:30pm Last park shuttle departs the lower town for Cavalier Heights entrance station parking.



Last updated: November 19, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Phone:

(304) 535-6029

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