Thursday, April 16, 2015

Revolutionary War Encampment at Mount Vernon (May 2-3)

One of the advantages of living halfway between Baltimore and Washington, DC is the wealth of things to do, some of them fairly unique to the area. 

On the weekend of May 2-3, 2015 George Washington's home Mount Vernon will host a Revolutionary War Encampment with hundreds of re-enactors demonstrating battle skills and "General Washington" overseeing the action.

Mount Vernon
Many of you know that George Washington used his surveyor skills to personally help map out the District of Columbia.

But it's easy to forget that Mount Vernon lies just 15 miles south of Alexandria, VA and the bustling DC Beltway, at the end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Washington's home sits on top of a bluff overlooking the Potomac River, and is open for tours 365 days a year.

400 acres have been preserved to show Washington's efforts to scientifically improve farming techniques, as well as his sideline businesses such as whiskey distilling.

Several years ago a huge underground museum was opened to highlight Washington's critical role as not only the commander of the battlefield forces during the Revolutionary War, but also in the precedents he set that guided the fledgling American democracy for the next 200 years.

Famously, he resigned his commission in Annapolis at the end of the war rather than seeking to seize absolute power (leading King George III to supposedly remark, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world").

About the Revolutionary War Encampment
From May 2nd to May 3rd, about 450 re-enactors from units representing both the Allied American and French forces and their British opponents will create a Revolutionary War-era camp on the grounds of Mount Vernon.

Both days will have identical schedules, with camp life interpretation beginning at 8 AM and battle demonstrations being held at 11:30 AM.

Other military demonstrations will be held through the rest of the day, with "General Washington" reviewing the troops at 3 PM followed by a Cavalry Demonstration at 4 PM to end the day.

The afternoons will also have sessions focused on Lady Washington and women in the Revolution from 12 PM to 4 PM.

Getting There

George Washington's Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, VA 22121

Tickets: All events are included with paid admission - Adults $17, Youth $9, Children 5 and Under Free
Parking: There is usually plenty of free parking in lots near the gates of Mount Vernon

Directions from Emerson: 
  • I-95S to I-95S/I-495S (Capital Beltway) toward Richmond, VA
  • Stay to the right (Local Traffic) as you get ready to cross the Potomac River (Woodrow Wilson Bridge)
  • From I-495 take US 1 South (Exit 177A) in Alexandria, VA for 4.7 miles making a slight left on VA-235 (Mount Vernon Highway) and go 2 miles to Mount Vernon
    • (Alternate scenic route: Take Exit 177B/177C in Alexandria, VA toward Mount Vernon; then follow George Washington Memorial Parkway 9.1 miles along the Potomac River to Mount Vernon)

Bonus Trivia:
  • 1774: John Parke Custis, George Washington's stepson, marries Eleanor Calvert (granddaughter of the Fifth Baron Baltimore) at Mount Airy Mansion in Upper Marlboro, MD. John Parke Custis would contract "camp fever" at the Siege of Yorktown and die in 1781.
  • 1799: General Henry "Light-Horse Harry" Lee eulogizes George Washington at his funeral with the words, "First in war -- first in peace -- and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
  • 1803: John and Eleanor's son George Washington Parke Custis builds Arlington House on the banks of the Potomac River with a magnificent panoramic view of Washington DC.
  • 1831: George Washington Parke Custis' daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis marries Light-Horse Harry's son Robert E. Lee.
  • 1861: The Union confiscates Arlington House at the outbreak of the Civil War, as the home of rebel commander Robert E. Lee.
  • 1864: Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs converts Arlington House into what is today Arlington National Cemetery, with the first graves in the rose garden. The house still stands on a hill in the center of the cemetery.

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