April Events Newsletter

April Events Newsletter


The Revolutionary Rumble

As the spirit of liberty takes flight once more, Virginians, April beckons! This month, we rededicate ourselves to the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, a time when our Commonwealth stood proud in the fight for independence. Immerse yourselves in the stories of heroes, both ordinary and extraordinary, from all walks of life. Through lectures, living history, and captivating exhibits, let us honor the legacy of the Revolution and its lasting impact on Virginia – our proud star in the constellation of liberty!


April 2

The Other Battle of Petersburg: Revolutionary War Clash in 1781
When many people hear the Battle of Petersburg mentioned, they think of Lee and Grant and the nine-month siege in Virginia during the last year of the Civil War. But there was also a battle of Petersburg in the Revolutionary War, in April 1781. Learn from historian John Maass about this small but important battle between raiding British redcoats and courageous American militia forces in the campaign leading up to Yorktown, and the critical role played by Maj. Gen. Baron von Steuben — the “Valley Forge drillmaster” — in the fighting.

A Common Place: Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley
Since the early frontier days of the 18th century, Harrisonburg has been a vital agricultural, commercial, and political center in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. It was not until the 1950s, however, that it adopted the motto “The City with the Planned Future.” David Ehrenpreis, author of “Picturing Harrisonburg: Visions of a Shenandoah Valley City Since 1828” will examine how visions of a place shift over time, revealing a community’s values, how they evolve, and what they mean today.


April 3

To the Last Extremity: The Battles for Charleston, 1776-1782
York County
Author and speaker Mark Maloy will recount the Revolutionary War history of Charleston. He will explain how the outnumbered patriots beat back the most powerful navy in the world, where soldiers bravely defended the city in 1779 and 1780, and where thousands suffered under occupation. Through it all, brave patriots were willing to defend the city and their liberty “to the last extremity.”


April 4

Founding Friendships: James Monroe and Marquis de Lafayette
In the summer of 1777 during the American Revolutionary War, a 19-year-old Continental Army captain from Virginia met a 20-year-old French aristocrat, recently commissioned a major general by Congress. The two became fast friends, experiencing combat at Brandywine, getting better acquainted during the Valley Forge winter, and each playing a heroic role at Monmouth Court House. Over the next five decades, the lives of these two patriots intersected during revolutions, war, and political intrigue. Years of separation only tightened the bond between them, including the heroic meeting between their courageous wives during the last violent days of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, when the two ladies took part in an event Charles Dickens could not have dreamed up.

Lafayette’s Return to Fredericksburg
Travel back in time and explore the momentous occasion of General Lafayette’s return to Fredericksburg in 1824. Craig Vasey, a local historian and president of the Fredericksburg-Fréjus Sister City Association, will delve into the details of this celebratory visit. Learn about the festivities, the significance of Lafayette’s return, and the enduring legacy of the Revolutionary War hero.

Prelude to Yorktown 1781 – Lafayette vs. Cornwallis in Virginia
Culpeper County
Andrew Gutowski, Museum of Culpeper History board member, discusses the road to surrender. The culmination of the Revolutionary War came in Virginia in 1781. To most people this means the October siege and victory at Yorktown. However, there is a bigger story of an intricate cat and mouse campaign of British vs American forces preceding Yorktown. It includes a great cast of characters, including Lafayette, Washington, Cornwallis, Benedict Arnold and Thomas Jefferson. Culpeper figures in the story of 1781, with echoes down to the present.

April 6

Colonial Fair at Historic Kenmore
Step back in time. Be enchanted by Peter Gardiner’s magical conjuring and laugh along with Professor Horn’s Punch and Judy Show. Engage in colonial art lessons, relish interactive games, and soak in the musical atmosphere of Colonial Faire. This event offers a captivating blend of historical performances and immersive activities, promising a day of enchantment and discovery for all attendees, young and old alike!

From Resistance to Resilience: Black Virginia’s Path to Freedom
Campbell County
Join friends and family for the first of two days of programs honoring the history of Brookneal’s Black communities from 1794 to 1944. Programs include site tours of the estate and Quarter Place, a genealogy seminar by Red Hill’s Historian & Genealogist of African American History, a descendant-led discussion panel, and a presentation on traditional Black Appalachian music.

Born from Conflict: The Pamphlet Wars of the 17th Century
Isle of Wight County
The 1600s were a tumultuous period across the English-speaking world. In the late stages of the English religious reformation, advocates for ideas on every aspect of life, especially on religion, took to publishing pamphlets to spread the word about their causes and ideas. This lecture will dive into the nature of and history of printing by the 1600s, then dive into the wide-ranging beliefs and ideas, as well as the people that distributed them.

Sounds and Sights of a Colonial Farmhouse
Arlington County
Join a special opening day event at the Ball-Sellers House, the oldest house in the county, built around 1750! Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of colonial life with performances by the Monumental City Ancient Fife and Drum Corps. Experience the rousing music that would have filled colonial towns. Then, travel back in time through song with the Guillotine Theatre and hear music from America’s early days. Chat with colonists from the past and learn about their daily lives through interactions with living history re-enactors. Bring a chair, relax on the beautiful grounds, and enjoy a delightful afternoon for the whole family.

Brown Bag Lunch featuring Edward P. Green
Fairfax County
Join Edward P. Green as he discusses the development of early U.S. policies towards Native Americans and the ways that Choctaws attempted to influence those policies, shaping them in ways that would best protect their people.

April 9

The Other Battle of Petersburg: Revolutionary War Clash in 1781
Virtual & Fairfax County
When many people hear the Battle of Petersburg mentioned, they think of Lee and Grant and the nine-month siege in Virginia during the last year of the Civil War. But there was also a battle of Petersburg in the Revolutionary War, in April 1781. Learn from historian John Maass about this small but important battle between raiding British redcoats and courageous American militia forces in the campaign leading up to Yorktown, and the critical role played by Maj. Gen. Baron von Steuben — the “Valley Forge drillmaster” — in the fighting.

April 10

Take a Sip of History
Prince William County
Prince William County residents played a central role in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783. Local leaders led in the halls of government and on the battlefield. Hundreds of residents volunteered to fight for American independence. Learn their stories and ask a panel of experts questions about the county’s role in the nation’s founding.

April 11

The Other Tea Parties
Henrico County
The Boston Tea Party took place 250 years ago in December 1773, but there were several others. Learn about the roughly 17 other tea parties, including one here in Virginia! The talk will also include how the tea protests fit into the growing conflict with England, setting the colonies on the course for independence. Join historian, Bert Dunkerly, as he takes you beyond the Boston Tea Party.

National Symphony Orchestra at Mount Vernon
Fairfax County
Listen to chamber music performed by members of the National Symphony Orchestra during this three-part concert series and learn about the music and instruments that George Washington enjoyed most.

Founding Partisans: Author Lecture with H. W. Brands
Fairfax County
To the framers of the Constitution, political parties were a threat to republican virtues. Yet parties emerged as the Founding Fathers fought one another with competing visions of what our nation would be. “Founding Partisans” by bestselling historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist H.W. Brands, is a revelatory history of the shocking emergence of vicious political division at the birth of the United States. A book signing and reception with complimentary beer, wine, and hors-d’oeuvres will take place after the lecture.

April 12

Poplar Forest Naturalization Ceremony
Bedford County
Join Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest and the Blue Ridge Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) to witness a Naturalization Ceremony welcoming new American citizens in honor of Constitution Day, the day in 1787 the American Constitution was signed into law. A luncheon for the new citizens and their families will be served following the ceremony. Admission to the ceremony is included with general admission to Poplar Forest.

April 13

Dog Days at Ferry Farm
Stafford County
George sure loved his hounds, and so do we! Bring your furry friend to Ferry Farm for a day of fun. Experience the nature trails that lead around the fields and along the Rappahannock River with a discount on Ferry Farm’s grounds for the day.

Grave Marking & Wreath Laying Ceremony
Join a commemoration of Revolutionary War Patriots Willis Wilkins and William West, two local heroes who fought for American independence. Honor their sacrifice and learn their stories.

A Post Such As Portsmouth- 1781
An immersive, interactive, educational, child-friendly, annual spring event commemorating the 1781 British occupation of Portsmouth by the turncoat Benedict Arnold. Market girls, foragers, redcoats, Hessians, members of the Ethiopian Regiment, musicians, rebels, camp followers, and spies mingle in their daily duties before the Battle of Scott’s Creek (after which you might even spot the Marquis de Lafayette!) Renew your pledge of loyalty to the King with General Benedict Arnold (or join James Fayette in a scheme to kidnap the traitor!). Learn a new dance, and gossip about the politics and events of the day. You may even choose to join a side… but which one?

York County History Day
York County
Join a celebration of York County history. This event highlights the American Revolution and Civil War. Enjoy music, military demonstrations, crafts, food, and much, much more around Historic Yorktown.

The “Grandest Congress”: The French and Indian War in Alexandria
Major General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America, landed in Alexandria on March 26, 1775, to assume command of all North American military forces. He lodged at the grandest dwelling in town, Carlyle House. While staying at Carlyle House, Braddock convened a meeting of five colonial governors. Among Braddock’s objectives was to secure funding for his upcoming campaign against the French. Carlyle called this gathering “the Grandest Congress … ever known on the Continent.” Visitors to the Carlyle House will experience Braddock’s visit and the French and Indian War firsthand through costumed interpreters and hands-on activities.

April 14

Finding Leedstown–What Archaeology Reveals about this Remarkable Place
Northumberland County
In 1937, an unusual find at a Native American site in Leedstown led to similar discoveries in modern museums throughout the country and sparked intriguing questions about the history of the site. Join Dr. Julia King as she explores the significance of Leedstown by placing it in multiple contexts.

April 14 – 15

Conversation with Jefferson and Lafayette
Washington County
Join Thomas Jefferson (Bill Barker from Monticello) and the Marquis de Lafayette (Mark Schneider from Colonial Williamsburg) as they travel to Virginia’s frontier to visit with the citizens of Washington County.

April 18

An Evening with Christy Coleman
The Walter W. Craigie Speaker Series brings speakers to St. John’s Church to talk about a wide variety of topics related to history. Christy S. Coleman has served as the Chief Executive Officer of some of the nation’s most prominent museums. She’s a tireless advocate for the power of museums, narrative correction, diversity and inclusiveness. Ms. Coleman is an innovator and leader in the museum field having held leadership roles at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, and the American Civil War Museum. She now serves as the Executive Director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and is a member of the VA250 Commission.

April 19

Battle of Petersburg Lecture
Learn about the Battle of Petersburg from historian William Welsch. In April of 1781, the British Army, under the command of Major General William Phillips, along with Brigadier Benedict Arnold, arrived at City Point (Hopewell) and marched on the City of Petersburg. The Virginia militia outnumbered 2,500 to 1,000, met Gen. Phillips and his army just east of Blandford. The Virginia militia led by Major General Von Steuben put up a strong resistance, however, after three hours of fighting, Von Steuben ordered a retreat across the Pocahontas bridge, onto the Heights (now Colonial Heights). He hoped to regroup and meet up with Major General Marquis de Lafayette near Richmond. During this time, Major General Phillips died of a medical condition, at a home called Bollingbrook (now the YMCA). Benedict Arnold ordered him to be buried in the Blandford Church yard, under the cover of darkness and without a headstone or marker.

April 20

Animal Family Day at George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Fairfax County
Enjoy family activities, story times, and the opportunity to see sheep, oxen, and horses. Learn about Mount Vernon’s animals and the jobs they performed in the 18th century. Hear stories about the enslaved people who cared for the animals, such as Giles, a coachman, Peter Hardiman, a horse groom, and Kitty, a dairymaid.

James Monroe Day Ceremony
Westmoreland County
Come to the annual ceremony honoring fifth President and Revolutionary War hero James Monroe. The ceremony is held annually at his restored birthplace. Local and state leaders will give comments commemorating Monroe, and lineage societies present wreaths in his honor.

Hands on History Day
Westmoreland County
Immerse yourself in the rich history and natural beauty of Stratford Hall Historic Preserve in Westmoreland County. Experience Stratford Hall and its people through the lenses of history, science, and culture! Spend the day exploring the historic area while participating in special activities provided by education and interpretive staff. Pack a picnic lunch for the family and relax at one of the numerous picnic areas throughout the site. Take a nature walk, go for a hike, enjoy bird watching, fishing, or hunting for sharks’ teeth along the Potomac River.

April 20 – 21

Reenactment of the Battle of Petersburg
Journey back to 1781 and experience the fervor and struggles of the American Revolution at Battersea’s reenactment of the Battle of Petersburg. The Virginia militia put up a heroic fight at Petersburg. Outnumbered by the British army of 2,500 to the militia strength of barely over 1,000 men, the Virginians denied the king’s soldiers the opportunity of capturing the city without fighting for it. The battle bought a full day’s time for Lafayette to entrench his army on the heights of Richmond, and ultimately prevented a second sacking of Richmond, as was seen in the previous January, when British Brigadier Benedict Arnold assaulted and burned much of that city.

The Colonial Experience at the Blockhouse
Scott County
Save the date for this enlightening event, commemorating the 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. You will transition to life in the 1700s and experience what life was like leading up to the American Revolution. Will you be a Patriot or a Loyalist?

April 22

St. James’ House Spring Opening
Tour the beautiful home and garden of one of Fredericksburg’s early attorneys, James Mercer. He was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, the first judge of the General Court in Fredericksburg, and the attorney who drew up the will of Mary Washington. Mercer built the house on land once owned by Fielding Lewis, brother-in-law of George Washington. The house is particularly noted for its fine collection of antique furniture and decorative arts acquired by Daniel Breslin and William Tolerton who, together, restored St. James’ in the mid-1960s.

April 23

Ford Evening Book Talk: Unfriendly to Liberty
Fairfax County
Hear from historian Christopher F. Minty, author of “Unfriendly to Liberty: Loyalist Networks and the Coming of the American Revolution in New York City”. Minty’s new book explores the origins of loyalism in New York City between 1768 and 1776, and revises our understanding of the coming of the American Revolution. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions and have their books signed.

April 27

Henricus History Hike: The Newly Discovered Revolutionary War Battle of Osborne’s Landing April 27, 1781
Chesterfield County
Join Henricus Interpretation Supervisor and Revolutionary War Historian John Daniel Pagano for a study and look at the forgotten, and now-found, Battle of Osborne’s Landing. This battle was fought 1 mile from Henricus Historical Park on the James River at the Chesterfield port town of Osborne’s Landing, where General Benedict Arnold, commanding half of the British Army, marched upon the anchored Virginia State Navy and after a land-to-water engagement, drove off the Virginia militia and captured almost the entire fleet. A dark day for Virginia in the Revolution. The event will feature a lecture on the battle and its modern location as well as a two-mile round-trip hike on the original route of the Virginia militia to the preserved and pristine portion of the battleground on the river, on the exact ground the Virginia militia fought from and where they took their losses upon.

Harriet Tubman & Frederick Douglas
Northampton County
Historical interpreters, Nathan M. Richardson and Charmine Crowell-White, will be engaged in a joint discussion of the life story of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. These presentations will provide a learning experience of literature concerned with human culture, history, and philosophy. This project is a new initiative, yet will be a building block on the understanding and highlighting of the accomplishments of African Americans of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Historic Plant and Garden Sale at George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Fairfax County
Shop for heirloom vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers—plus, native perennials, trees, and shrubs grown in Mount Vernon’s greenhouses.

Pirates Invade Yorktown
York County
Well, shiver me timbers! Take a step back into the Golden Age of piracy as Riverwalk Landing and the Watermen’s Museum are invaded by seafaring marauders! Landlubbers of all ages are invited to visit the Historic Yorktown waterfront to learn lessons and legends from pirates’ lives in the 17th and 18th centuries, including around the time of the American Revolution. Enjoy live blacksmith demonstrations, explore a pirate encampment, sing along to a variety of musical groups, shop a themed farmers market, and witness exciting cannon demonstrations.

A Conversation with Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de LaFayette
Bedford County
In 1804, the Marquis de Lafayette made a triumphant return visit to tour the United States and revisit friends and fellow patriots he fought beside during the American Revolution. Join Poplar Forest in welcoming the Marquis back to reminisce with Thomas Jefferson about that visit and their memories of the Revolution.

Discover Alexandria Architecture Walking Tour
Alexandria has grown from a small town in the 18th century to a bustling small city in the 21st century. Join us for a tour of Alexandria as we explore looking at the various Architecture styles that adorn the city streets and make it one of the best places to live and work.

Bound in Rebellion: Colonial Book Binding Class
In this bookbinding class, featuring Kristi Moore, CEO of Moore Archives, you will learn more about how the stamp act made bookbinders out of everyday people. By the end of this class, you will create your own colonial book!

George Washington’s Forest History Walk
Arlington County
Walk in the footsteps of George Washington on a guided walking tour with local historian, Kevin Vincent. In 1775, Washington bought 1200-acres of forest in what is now Arlington. After the Revolutionary War, he returned home and surveyed his property. On the walking tour you’ll start with a tour of the Ball-Sellers House (the oldest house in Arlington), visit the survey markers used by Washington in 1785, see historic springs, see the site of a mill built by George Washington’s step-grandson, and more.

April 28

James Monroe Day Ceremony
Come to a ceremony honoring fifth President and Revolutionary War hero James Monroe. The ceremony is held annually at his tomb, the restored “Birdcage” monument at Presidents Circle, Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. An Army general and Color Guard will present a Presidential wreath, followed by lineage societies presenting their wreaths to honor President Monroe. Local and state leaders will give comments honoring Monroe.

That’s all for now. Be sure to visit our online calendar regularly, as new events keep popping up throughout the month and submit your own event. Tag us on social media too @VARevolution250. See you out there!

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