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Experience American Civil War camp life and a variety of living history presentations during the 2017 Fairfax Civil War Day, to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 29 at Historic Blenheim, 3610 Old Lee Highway. 

Historical interpreters will portray Civil War figures, including: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Ulysses S. Grant, General Robert E. Lee, American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, and aeronaut Thaddeus Lowe.  Re-enactors will demonstrate and discuss a spectrum of topics including African-American units in the United States Colored Troops, medicine, blacksmithing (with a replica 1862 traveling forge), and the preservation of Mount Vernon.  New participants this year include a silhouettist who will discuss phrenology and physiognomy, preservationist Sarah Tracy, and photographer Mathew Brady with his display of period camera equipment. 

Talks on a variety of Civil War subjects include Fairfax County Freedmen’s schools, the art of 19th century mourning, and the life of a living history presenter portraying General Lee.  Civil War documents from the Fairfax County Circuit Court Archives will be on display in the site’s Civil War Interpretive Center. 

Popular annual activities include firing cannon artillery guns, youth “boot camps” for kids, author/vendor tents, and wagon rides through soldier camps.  The Black Horse Cavalry, a crowd favorite, returns this year with their horses to discuss cavalry tactics.  2nd South Carolina String Band is this year’s host musical group. 

All of this takes place on a historic landscape, a 12-acre wooded estate with a home built circa 1859, a family graveyard, and more.  Guided tours of the first floor of the Historic Blenheim house and its famous Union soldier graffiti will be offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as a discussion inside the house of caring for the sick and wounded by living history interpreters portraying Surgeon B.L. Hovey and his wife, Marilla. Signed Civil War prints from renowned artists will be sold at Grandma’s Cottage during the event.

Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per child age 12 and younger.  Proceeds benefit the restoration of Historic Blenheim. Free parking and full accessibility shuttle service are provided at Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run. (Please note: parking is not available at the event site.) 

This event is produced by the City of Fairfax Office of Historic Resources, with support from Historic Fairfax City, Inc.; and the 17th Virginia Infantry, Company D “Fairfax Rifles.”