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Southern Heritage <br>News and Views: 12th Annual Civil War Reenactment at Fort Pocahontas

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

12th Annual Civil War Reenactment at Fort Pocahontas

CHARLES CITY, VA -- On Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17, 2009, Fort Pocahontas at Wilson’s Wharf will come alive through Civil War living history, civilian presentations, guided fort tours and two battle reenactments. Located between Richmond and Williamsburg in Charles City, Virginia, the fort will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day.

This year marks the 12th year of reenacting the Action at Wilson’s Wharf at this historic site, which was organized by Harrison R. Tyler. Virtually untouched for over 130 years, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources observed Fort Pocahontas as “one of the best preserved fort sites” in America.

History will be re-lived by reenactors from all over the country portraying Union and Confederate Infantry, including United States Colored Troops (USCTs), Cavalry, US and CS Navy and Artillery. Activities throughout both days will include tactical infantry and artillery demonstrations, civilian camp life history including cooking and other lifestyle demonstrations, church services, guided tours through the fort and an opportunity to “Meet Major General Godfrey Weitzel" and other generals leading the troops. Sutlers will sell period Civil War merchandise and clothing.

On Saturday and Sunday, the guest speaker will be Jeb Stuart IV beginning at 12:15, followed with battle commentary by Mitch Bowman, Executive Director of Virginia's Civil War Trails. Entertainment following the reenactment will be provided by Gera Hollins, a member of the Contraband Society and a trained operatic singer. The 1864 earthen fort was built and manned by hundreds of United States Colored Troops (USCTs) under the direct command of Brigadier-General Edward Augustus Wild. A victory resulted for the out-numbered USCTs against the Confederate attack by Major General Fitzhugh Lee, Robert E. Lee’s nephew and the 2,000 cavalrymen he led. Joe Funk, the Event Commander since its inception and first person presenter of General Weitzel, the engineer who drew the original fort design and great-uncle of Mr. Funk will be available to discuss engineering aspects of the earthworks and the action that took place in 1864 immediately following the reenactment on Saturday. Captain A. R. Arter, a Union soldier at Fort Pocahontas in 1864, described in a letter that the fortifications was "one of the best arranged breastworks I have seen."

In May 2002, a corps of volunteer re-enactors constructed a 20-foot tower for demonstrations and training purposes and in 2003, the east gun bastion was rebuilt as a means of preserving the site for historical accuracy. The restored Delk/Binford House houses the archeological artifacts unearthed by The College of William and Mary and serves as space private events and parties.

In addition to the Civil War history, the site is also dates to the earliest inhabitants, the Native Americans, and is named after the legendary Pocahontas. The deep water port, known as Wilson's Wharf, was used during the American Revolution for shipping tobacco and for passengers traveling by ferry boat, named the Pocahontas.

Admission is $10 per adult and $8 per student per day. Discounts are available for two-day tickets and groups of 10 or more. Tickets will be sold at Fort Pocahontas each day of the event, located off Route 5, on Rt. 614, 13500 Sturgeon Point Road, Charles City, Virginia 23030. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable clothing and sturdy walking shoes. All proceeds from this event will continue to support the preservation efforts of Fort Pocahontas, a non-profit organization. For directions, more information and itinerary, please visit the web site at, email or call (804) 829-9722 or (804) 358-6248.


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