At Sully Historic Site in Chantilly tomorrow (Saturday Dec 17), you can travel back to Christmas1862. During the evening, the yard will be the scene of an encampment of Confederate soldiers while inside residents prepare to celebrate Christmas.
Following their victory at the first Battle of Manassas in July, Chantilly was in the hands of the Confederate army. But, like soldiers today, even the holidays failed to provide a complete respite from the realities of combat. Although battles were rare during the winters of the Civil War, soldiers of both armies remained in their camps.
Members of the 28th and 42nd Virginia Regiments will set up their tents and gather around the campfire. The men will be preparing a holiday dinner such as could be assembled with army rations and food supplies obtained from local farmers. A turkey will be roasting over the fire and seasonal vegetables will complement the meal.
Sgt. Michael Mescher of the 42nd Virginia will be displaying the contents of a box from home typical of those received by soldiers. The box from home was of the greatest interest at this time of year, containing an assortment of foods, articles of clothing to replace worn apparel as well as warm knitted items, sundry articles to help with soldiersâ€™ daily lives, and a letter with news from home.
The Civil War Candlelight Tours are featured this one night only. The evening includes a tour of the house, a visit to the soldiersâ€™ encampment, open hearth cooking, music by fiddler Michael McDonnell, ornament making and complimentary refreshments.
Tours begin at 4:45 p.m. with the last one at 7 p.m. Prepaid reservations are recommended. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and children. For additional information, contact Sully Historic Site at 703- 437-1794.