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Several Civil War events scheduled this weekend

By Ryan Cornell

Towns across Shenandoah County will celebrate the area's role in providing medical care for wounded Civil War soldiers, while the Kernstown Battlefield in Winchester will commemorate the Second Battle of Kernstown.

Strasburg, Edinburg, Mount Jackson and New Market are the locations participating in Civil War Day on Saturday.

Starting at 10 a.m. in the Strasburg Museum, Belle Grove Board Chairman John Adamson will talk about the York Hospital Register, which documented wounded Union and Confederate soldiers and their reasons for hospitalization.

At 11 a.m., Hupp's Hill Civil War Park in Strasburg will feature John Christensen, executive director of the Lee-Fendall House in Alexandria, who will discuss the experiences of Union prisoners captured at Gettysburg. Reenactors at the park also will demonstrate soldier life and equipment.

At noon at the Edinburg Mill, Robert G. Slawson, a retired physician who serves as a master docent at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, will present a program on Civil War medicine.

At 1 p.m. in the Union Church in Mount Jackson, historian Hal Sharpe, author of "Shenandoah County in the Civil War: Four Dark Years," will speak about medical care in the county, and the building, staffing and use of the Mount Jackson Confederate Hospital.

At 3 p.m., the Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market will offer a 45-minute tour led by a VMI Cadet of the New Market Battlefield.

The events commemorating the Second Battle of Kernstown will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Author and historian Scott C. Patchan will lead a walking tour of the battlefield, starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Patchan and four other local Civil War authors -- Barrett Dowell, Roderick Gainer, Jerry Holsworth and Thomas K. Tate -- also will be available throughout Saturday to discuss and sign their books.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Shenandoah Valley Minstrels will perform music popular during the era. "Any Civil War song is in their repertoire," said Gary Crawford, president of the Kernstown Battlefield Association.

Then at 1 p.m., a "Ladies Period Fashion Show" will display the hippest and hottest threads in style back then. Crawford said the show will feature hoop skirts, day dresses, work dresses and anything else that was trendy at the time.

The commemoration will continue on Sunday with a church service at 10 a.m. and a memorial service at 1 p.m. The memorial service is dedicated to Union Army Col. James Mulligan, who was mortally wounded in front of the Pritchard House during the battle.

The Pritchard House typically charges $3 for admission, but Crawford said the house tours will be free all this weekend. Among the other events that will be ongoing all Saturday and Sunday are a living history encampment and demonstrations of infantry drills and blacksmithing.

The Second Battle of Kernstown, fought on July 23, 1864, between Lt. Gen. Jubal Early and Brig. Gen. George Crook, resulted in about 1,800 casualties.

"It was more or less a last gasp," said Crawford. "It was the last major battle the confederacy won."

For more information about Civil War Day, contact Garland Miller at 540-459-6221. Information about the Second Battle of Kernstown commemoration can be found at kernstownbattle.org.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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