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Contact: Mike Andrus, 804 226-1981 x. 30
On Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28, 2007, Richmond National Battlefield Park will present special living history and ranger-guided programs at the Shelton House also known as Rural Plains. This ca.1725 home stood in the vortex of the May 29-31, 1864, battle of Totopotomoy Creek. During that engagement Union General Winfield Hancock’s Second Army Corps entrenched near the Shelton House facing the forces under General Robert E. Lee on the opposite banks of the creek. On May 30 and 31, Union infantry launched repeated assaults in a failed attempt to carry the Confederate lines. Artillery fire from both sides erupted periodically into ear-shattering cannonades. Southern cannonballs severely damaged the Shelton home that still shows signs of the damage.
For the first time since the site’s acquisition by the National Park Service, the first floor of the home will be open to the public. Here you can see the room where Patrick Henry married Sarah Shelton in 1754, and where Union surgeons established a field hospital. Several pieces of Shelton furniture that witnessed the Civil War remain in the home.
During the weekend NPS rangers will conduct scheduled tours through the battlefield area, and living history volunteers will portray General Winfield Scott Hancock and his staff as they were headquartered on the lawn of the Shelton home. Volunteers portraying Federal artillerymen also will also be on hand to discuss the dramatic role of artillery in the battle, including the story of a rare battery of mortars emplaced just outside the building. The programs will run Saturday from 10:30 to 4:30 and Sunday from 11:30 to 4:00.