Anniversary of the Potomac River Blockade 1861
- Celebrate the Incredible History OurVirgnia State Parks Have to Offer!
Sarah Percival, Chief Ranger, Leesylvania State Park
Annette Bareford, District II Visitor Services Specialist, Virginia State Parks
Plan to be on hand for the Anniversary of the Potomac River Blockade 1861 at Leesylvania State Park on September 21st from 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m and September 22nd from 10 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
A fight on the Potomac took place here on September 25, 1861. According to Confederate Sgt. Wilmot Walter Curry, his unit was ordered to construct a battery at Freestone Point in order to deflect attention from larger, more permanent batteries downriver. The diary of Sgt. Curry recounts the event, beginning on September 20, 1861: "Today a detachment from the Washington Mounted Artillery was sent down to Freestone Point for the purpose of erecting a Battery. The Battery will contain the two Rifled six-pounders from our battery and an eleven foot long thirty-pounder known as "Long Tom" which was captured at Manassas plains. It is a very handsome piece." Indeed there was a skirmish just on the 25th of September as the Union Troops fired on the Battery from the Potomac River before it was opened. The Battery soon released their guns upon the Union vessel. No injuries were reported.
Join Living Historians as they camp at Freestone Point, the preserved site of the Confederate Gun Battery during the Blockade of the Potomac. Discover the story of the Battery and see artillery demonstrations, camp life, and talk to historians as they discuss the lives of the soldiers and the women and children they left behind.
Living History - Visit a civil war encampment with costumed living historians to learn about the soldiers' life. Meet Martha Fairfax and she can sign you up as a confederate soldier!
Historic Weapons Demonstration - Musketry Firing and drills at the Visitor Center.
Civil War Cooking - Come into the Visitor Center to taste the flavors of the American Civil War. Learn how women prepare meals and the sort of cooking implements they used. Authentic Civil War era foods will be available to sample and purchase.
Army Balloon Corps Display - The use of hot air balloons in the American Civil War! (tentative please check our website or call the park for more information)
If you cannot make it to the anniversary celebration in September, you can still visit the historic sites year round during regular park hours.
Freestone Point - The remains of a Confederate artillery battery are located in this Potomac River Park. The battery was in action on September 25, 1861 when it exchanged shots with Union vessels in the river. A walking trail interprets the battery and Civil War History.
Fairfax House - Only the stone foundation and the ruins of two brick chimneys remain of the Fairfax House. There is also a brick-lined well near the house, some foundations of farm buildings, and the remains of a large well on the hill behind the house. The Fairfax house was located about 500 yards east of the Lee House, known as Leesylvania, on a hill overlooking the river at Freestone Point. It was a two-story, three-bay, frame house on a high stone foundation with brick end chimneys. The house had a central hall plan with parlors on either side. Soldiers camped at nearby Freestone Point to guard the heavy artillery guns that had been placed on the cliff during the Confederates' successful blockade of the Potomac River during 1861 and 1862.
For more information please contact Leesylvania State Park (703) 583-6904