Civil War weekend in Augusta to highlight Appomattox surrender

Portrayed by Civil War re-enactor Scott Whitney, Gen. Ulysses Simpson Grant will appear during "Appomattox and the Grand Review," a Civil War re-enactment slated to be held June 27-28 at Viles Arboretum in Augusta. The event is organized by the Maine Living History Association. (Courtesy of Scott Whitney)

Portrayed by Civil War re-enactor Scott Whitney, Gen. Ulysses Simpson Grant will appear during “Appomattox and the Grand Review March,” a Civil War re-enactment slated to be held June 27-28 at Viles Arboretum in Augusta. The event is organized by the Maine Living History Association. (Courtesy of Scott Whitney)

The Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House will be among the highlighted events as the Maine Living History Association stages “Appomattox and the Grand Review March” in August on Saturday-Sunday, June 27-28.

Activities will take place at the 224-acre Viles Arboretum at 153 Hospital St. (Route 9) in Augusta. Hours for “Appomattox and the Grand Review March” are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, June 27 and 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday, June 28.

According to co-organizer Christabell Rose, the weekend will recall the end of the Civil War in the Virginia theater of operations, as well as a Grand Review of the federal armies held in Washington, D.C. in late May 1865.

“Our great nation was in a horrific war,” Rose said. “Maine played some key roles in the success of the Union.

“At the [Appomattox] surrender, the respect show to the Confederate soldiers began a healing that still resonates to this day,” she said. Then, “with the war over and the assassination of [President Abraham] Lincoln, a Grand Review of the troops was ordered.”

The weekend will kick off with the Grand Review, which will start at approximately 12:15 p.m., Saturday at at the Viles Arboretum. The event’s site in Viles Arboretum will open to the public at 12 noon; free parking is available on the grounds of the Riverview Psychiatric Center, directly across Hospital Street from the arboretum.

Lt. Gen. Ulysses Simpson Grant (portrayed by Scott Whitney) will talk about the war afterwards. Throughout the afternoon, visitors can tour the Civil War camp set up at the arboretum and observe other living-history activities.

A skirmish and military demonstrations will begin at 1:30 p.m. Joshua L. Chamberlain (portrayed by Ted Chamberlain) and John B. Gordon (portrayed by Eric Reeder) were the two highest-ranking generals involved in the April 12 surrender of the Confederate infantry, Chamberlain for the Union and Gordon for the Confederacy. Ted Chamberlain is a distant relative of Joshua Chamberlain.

Ted Chamberlain, a distant of Joshua L. Chamberlain, will portray Maine's most famous Civil War general during "Appomattox and the Grand Review." This Civil War re-enactment will take place June 27-28 at Viles Arboretum in Augusta. (Brian Swartz Photo)

Ted Chamberlain, a distant of Joshua L. Chamberlain, will portray Maine’s most famous Civil War general during “Appomattox and the Grand Review March.” This Civil War re-enactment will take place June 27-28 at Viles Arboretum in Augusta. (Brian Swartz Photo)

Both generals will talk about Appomattox on Saturday afternoon. Civil War re-enactors will then stage the April 12 surrender ceremony, which includes a stacking of arms.
Afterwards, visitors can tour the military camps, and a 19th-century baseball game will take place.

Later in the afternoon, re-enactors will conduct a funeral for “The Stranger,” an unidentified Confederate whose embalmed body was shipped to Gray in September 1862 in place of a local Union officer who had died of his wounds. The Confederate was buried in the Gray Village Cemetery.

The re-enactment will close to the public at 5 p.m., then reopen at 9 a.m., Sunday.

Corporate sponsors for the weekend are the B&M Beans, Battleground Cigars, Cabot Creamery, and Shipyard Brewing Co.

Maine Living History Association members are pleased that “Appomattox and the Grand Review March” is taking place at the Viles Arboretum. “The site is absolutely amazing for such an event,” Rose said. “We will be up in two of their many fields, away from all modern interruptions.

“The staff there is very enthusiastic, and we are looking forward to future events as well,” she said.

For additional information, log onto http://mainelivinghistory.wix.com/appomattox or contact Rose at director@mainelivinghistory.com, or the Maine Living History Association at 1-207-200-MLHA(6542).

Brian Swartz can be reached at visionsofmaine@tds.net. He would love to hear from Civil War buffs interested in Maine’s involvement in the war.

Brian Swartz

About Brian Swartz

Welcome to "Maine at War," the blog about the roles played by Maine and her sons and daughters in the Civil War. I am a Civil War buff and a newspaper editor recently retired from the Bangor Daily News. Maine sent hero upon hero — soldiers, nurses, sailors, chaplains, physicians — south to preserve their country in the 1860s. “Maine at War” introduces these heroes and heroines, who, for the most part, upheld the state's honor during that terrible conflict. We tour the battlefields where they fought, and we learn about the Civil War by focusing on Maine’s involvement with it. Be prepared: As I discover to this very day, the facts taught in American classrooms don’t always jibe with Civil War reality. I can be reached at visionsofmaine@tds.net.