Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stratford Hall Hosts Lee Events

Stratford Hall Hosts Lee Events

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Stratford Hall to offer free Jan. 19 activities honoring Robert E. Lee's birthday and later host its first-ever symposium on the Confederate leader

Date published: 1/10/2009

Special chances to better get to know Robert E. Lee are right around the corner.

As the Southern icon's birthday-- Jan. 19--draws near, Stratford Hall is planning two events in his memory.

The ancestral home of the Lees, where the general was born in 1807, invites the public to enjoy a free program on Saturday, Jan. 17. And Jan. 22-24, the Westmoreland County historic site will host its first symposium on the Confederate commander.

Several activities will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17.

Veteran re-enactor Al Stone will present a first-person portrayal of the general at 1 p.m., depicting Lee's painful decision to resign from the U.S. Army after Virginia seceded. At 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., ever-popular "Lee for Children" tours will be held.

Evergreen Shade, a duo accomplished in musical Americana, will provide entertainment. Refreshments will be served in the visitor center. The Stratford Hall Dining Room will be open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There's no charge to attend the special program. Regular fees for guided tours of the Great House will apply.

A few days later, during the three-day symposium based at Stratford, top Lee scholars will paint a fuller picture of the military leader revered by many. They'll focus on Lee as a general, reveal new dimensions about him and detail the importance of the Fredericksburg and Overland campaigns in which Lee played pivotal roles.

The scholars are Dr. Peter Carmichael, Eberly Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University; Dr. Aaron Sheehan-Dean, associate professor of history at the University of North Florida, and author of "Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia;" and Elizabeth Brown Pryor, author of "Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee through his Private Letters," winner of the 2008 Lincoln Prize.

Symposium participants will tour the Fredericksburg, Wilderness and Spotsylvania battlefields, which saw some of the war's bloodiest combat, and learn lesser-known facets of those actions.

Talks and group discussions will take place at Stratford, Belmont and on the battlefields. For details, visit stratford, call 804/493-8038 or e-mail

--Clint Schemmer