The Civil War Homefront: a Sunday Afternoon at Hamanassett Bed and Breakfast

Hamanassett Bed and Breakfast in the Brandywine Valley has ties to the Civil War as it was once home to General Montgomery Meigs, Quartermaster General to President Abraham Lincoln.  

On Sunday, April 3, 2011 from 2-5 pm, the Western Delaware County collaborative, Legacies and Lessons will host “The Civil War Homefront: a Sunday Afternoon at Hamanassett”.  Hamanassett was home to General Montgomery Meigs, who had been Quartermaster General to President Lincoln during the Civil War.   General Meigs recommended that property in Arlington, Virginia owned by Mary Custis Lee, the wife of Robert E. Lee, be used as a military burial ground.  Based on this recommendation, Arlington National Cemetery was created in 1864.  In October of that same year, his son, First Lieutenant John Rodgers Meigs was killed at Swift Run Gap in Virginia.  He is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

There will be tours of the  historic mansion as well as civil war re-enactors  and refreshments.  Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.  They can be purchased at the Rachel Kohl Library, Darlington Arts Center and at Newlin Mill in Chester Heights, Pa 

The national commemoration of the American Civil War is underway and Southeastern PA is part of it.  “This mighty scourge,” as Lincoln described the Civil War, changed how we live and indeed the course of the nation.   The national Civil War sesquicentennial will be a four year event (2011-2015) and is a fresh opportunity for a new generation to rediscover our nation’s rich history as well as the key role many Pennsylvanians played in the war and in which the war impacted our region. 

 In Southeastern Pennsylvania a collaboration of 11 organizations ranging from local school districts and inns to area historical societies and a community arts center have joined together to prepare appropriate and historically accurate state-sponsored activities to commemorate the richness, diversity and significance of the PA Civil War experience. 

The collaboration has been meeting for the past fifteen months, planning programs that will continue throughout 2011, and possibly beyond. Lectures, demonstrations, at least one re-enactor encampment, concerts, games and various other activities are planned to appeal to all ages. The centerpiece will be the Pennsylvania Civil War Road Show, which will tour the state for the next four years. We are especially honored that Delaware County was selected for the first year. A large semi-trailer filled with exhibits and interactive displays, the Show will arrive August 11, and remain on site at Garnet Valley Middle School for five days. During its stay, Legacies & Lessons (the name of our collaborative group) will host a lively History Fair at the same site, showcasing local talent and collections, with food and entertainment.

The Road Show also aims to reassemble Pennsylvania’s Civil War history, one story at a time. Through a “Share Your Story” recording booth, individuals will be invited to share their own Civil War-era family photographs, artifacts and other material and stories—digitally and/or orally, to be uploaded into a public, online repository that will grow as the Road Show travels. 

The local Civil Collaborative worked hard to get an appearance by the Road Show and plans to use it as a cornerstone of its Civil War 150 commemoration plans.  The group plans a web site, promotional materials and advertising for all its activities.  With the publicity surrounding the three day visit from the Road Show, the collaborative anticipates about 5-6,000 people will attend the Road Show itself and there will be increased interests in other aspects of Civil War 150 commemoration activities