The Civil War Comes to Rockville

J.E.B. Stuart

J.E.B. Stuart

Peerless Rockville, Heritage Montgomery, Montgomery County Historical Society, and the Washington Revels plan to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart’s raid on the town. On June 29 from 10 am to 8:30 pm, visitors will have the opportunity to watch reenactments, participate in games and crafts of the period, and enjoy music, lectures, and a community dance.

As part of the event, Peerless Rockville will offer the following three lectures at the Red Brick Courthouse:

10 am: Changing America
John W. Franklin will present the history, mission, programs, and exhibitions of the Smithsonian’s newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Currently under construction on the National Mall, the museum is scheduled to open in late 2015. Franklin will discuss Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation 1863 and the March on Washington 1963, which is on exhibit in the museum’s gallery in the National Museum of American History.

12 noon: Emancipation Proclamation at 150
President Abraham Lincoln spent critical moments of his Presidency at a cottage on the grounds of Old Soldiers’ Home, three miles north of the White House.  This place provided a refuge during the summer of 1862—at the very moment when Lincoln was grappling with the war’s breadth, scope, and meaning. This presentation by Scott Ackerman will use Lincoln’s time at Soldiers’ Home as a lens on the development of Lincoln’s emancipation policy during the summer of 1862, and thus directly tie that achievement to the time Lincoln spent at his wartime retreat.

2 pm:  J.E.B. Stuart’s “Wild Ride” Through Montgomery County – June 1863
On June 28, 1863, General James Ewell Brown (Jeb) Stuart and 5,000 Confederate cavalrymen crossed the Potomac River at Rowser’s Ford (near Violet’s Lock) and rode through Montgomery County on their way to join General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in Pennsylvania. On the way, they terrorized local Union sympathizers, captured a wagon train brimming with supplies on their way to the Union army, and becharmed the young ladies of a female academy in Rockville. As a result of these actions, Stuart’s cavalry was late arriving in Gettysburg to join Lee’s troops who were in the midst of battle. Stuart’s tardy arrival started a controversy over why the Confederates lost the Battle of Gettysburg that continues to this day. Historian Robert Plumb tells the story of Stuart’s Confederate cavalry during the critical days of June 28-June 29, 1863 spent in Montgomery County.

Author Peter Carlson will also be at the Red Brick Courthouse selling his new book, Junius and Albert’s Adventures in the Confederacy.

The Civil War Comes to Rockville is free. For a listing of the day’s activities and locations, please visit or call Peerless at 301-762-0096.

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