150th Anniversary Events at Ellwood Manor – May 3 and 4


The 1864 Overland Campaign Begins with the Battle of the Wilderness


Friends of Wilderness Battlefield (FoWB) in collaboration with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (FRSP) and in commemoration of the 150thAnniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness will offer Programs and Events beginning on Friday, May 2 through Sunday, May 4.

In early spring of 1864 while headquartered in Culpeper, Virginia, General U.S. Grant, USA devised an historic plan to end the American Civil War; it became known as the Overland Campaign. Though it would take the better part of a year and the massing of casualties in the hundreds of thousands to reach its goal, it would begin with the horrific two-day battle at the Wilderness on May 5 and 6 of 1864.

With casualties reaching nearly 30, 000 during the two days of fighting, it is our duty and responsibility to keep their stories alive. “It is not so much a need to relive the past as it is an obligation to honor our ancestors be they military or civilian, black or white, Confederate or Union. At the very least, we owe them that,” said Zann Nelson, President of Friends of Wilderness Battlefield.

Beginning on Saturday, April 26 and running through August 17, Ellwood Manor will be open seven (7) days a week from 10 am to 5 pm. After August 17th, the Ellwood house hours of operation will resume the Sat., Sunday and holiday schedule through October.

There is never a fee to enter Ellwood or participate in any of the events offered on the grounds, though donations are always welcomed.

Upcoming Schedule of Events:

May 2-3: 2-Day Wilderness Battlefield Bus Tour: Guide: Gordon Rhea … SOLD OUT

May 3 and 4: “Living History at Ellwood Manor” ongoing 10-5

May 4: “Tours of Historic Ellwood” will be extended until 7 PM

Print the Event Listing and Ellwood Grounds Diagram

Special Commemorative Programs at Ellwood Manor will include: 

  • Military Hospitals during Battle: With nearly 3,000 Union soldiers killed and an additional 12,000 wounded, the Battle of the Wilderness was one of the fiercest battles of the Civil War and one of the busiest for their doctors. Come listen to surgeons explain how the wounded were transported off of the field to the hospitals. They will also go into detail about how the sick and wounded we’re cared for once they arrived at the various hospitals set up around the region. Presented by “Doc” Duvall and John Pelletier, well-known authorities on the subject of military medicine. 
  • Union Staff Officer: Bob Broadwater, seasoned historical presenter will interact with visitors regarding the role and duties of the staff officer to such commanders as Generals Grant, Meade, or Warren. 
  • The Heritage Tent: Sponsored by FoWB’s Heritage Program. Visitors will hear the stories and view photos of the men and women who were residents of the Wilderness area and the soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Wilderness. Descendants are encouraged to visit the tent to share their stories. Visitors are welcome to come with information to see if their ancestor may qualify for the Heritage Program. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and assist visitors with their ancestry quest. 
  • Wet Plate Photographer: Sunday May 4 only: John Milleker, Jr., professional photographer and skilled “wet plate” artisan of Baltimore, MD, will demonstrate and explain the process of Civil War era photography utilized to chronicle the events of the four years of struggle. Mr. Milleker’s art work will be available for purchase in either the wet plate format or digital photographs of you and your family in a historic setting.
  • Sketch Artist: Local artist David Mitchell will explain the role of the Civil War era sketch artists such as Alfred Waud in reporting the stories of battle to the home front newspapers and magazines. David will be offering personal sketches of visitors for a small fee.

In addition, to these programs the National Park Service is sponsoring the following activities on the Ellwood Manor Grounds:

  •  Children’s Activity Tent (Saturday and Sunday)
  • Military Living History Encampment (Friday, Sat. Sunday and Monday)
  • Two hour Guided Walking Tour (1:30 PM on Sat. May 3)
  • One hour presentation on the Impact of the War on Civilians (3:30 pm on Sat. May 3)
  • Campfire Program: 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM on Sunday, May 4.

Please see for further details.

Ellwood Manor is a circa 1790 house within Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.  The cemetery contains the grave of Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson’s amputated arm from the Battle of Chancellorsville, and the house was a Federal headquarters during the Battle of the Wilderness.  Friends of Wilderness Battlefield is pleased to steward the property in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS).  

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