On March 28 and 29, the armies of the American Civil War return to Farmville for the first time in 150 years. Last Stand: The Civil War Comes to Farmville commemorates the day in 1865 when over 100,000 people on both sides of the conflict converged on this south central Virginia town following the bloody battle at Sailor’s Creek.
Living historians bring to life the events of April 7, 1865 as the five-year conflict entered its final days. A living history village featuring Union and Confederate encampments, as well as women of the period will open mid-afternoon on Saturday, March 28 through 6 pm on Sunday, March 29. A period-themed ecumenical Palm Sunday service will be observed at 11 am on Sunday at Riverside Park.
Throughout the weekend living historians will re-enact the Farmville movements of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General Ulysses S. Grant where their real-life counterparts strategized en route to Appomattox. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with the Generals as they visit the significant sites that figured into the historic Last Stand prior to the end.
Guided and self-guided History Tours feature 13 sites where period interpreters will tell the story of the day the Civil War came to Farmville. From the Lithia Springs House where General Lee strategized with his staff the Confederates’ next move to the site of the Randolph House (Prince Edward Hotel) where General Grant devised his initial proposal to General Lee suggesting Confederate surrender.
Live re-enactments depicting the events at the Confederate Cemetery north of downtown Farmville are also planned. Graveside services and the visitations of women mourning their dead will be portrayed as members of the Farmville Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy bring to life the aftermath of the battles of Sailor’s Creek and High Bridge.
Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the weekend. “This has never been done here,” said Prince Edward County Tourism Coordinator Magi Van Eps. “We have no idea how many people to expect, but we anticipate up to 5,000 visitors here in Farmville over the weekend. We want to be ready to welcome them and help them become acquainted with what we have to offer.”
Van Eps said over 200 volunteer opportunities include tour guides, site interpreters, information table and parking lot ambassadors. She encourages interested persons to visit the Volunteer Spot site for information and sign-up (http://vols.pt/LPx6S3).
Last Stand: The Civil War Comes to Farmville, Virginia is being presented by The Heart of Your Adventure in conjunction with the Farmville-Prince Edward Historical Society, Friends of High Bridge State Park, Southside Electric Cooperative, and a host of living historians dedicated to presenting authentic portrayals of the events that changed the face of the American landscape.
The Heart of Your Adventure is a collaboration of the Town of Farmville, The County of Prince Edward, the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Farmville Downtown Partnership. For more information on the group, as well as Last Stand, visit www.farmvilleva.com or contact Prince Edward County Tourism Coordinator Magi Van Eps at 434-392-1482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.