This Saturday, May 21st, you can experience Civil War history on the grounds of Glen Roy, one of Gloucester’s most beautiful antebellum homes (see details below). The scene of a violent skirmish in 1863, you can still see the sole remaining barn spared by Union soldiers who burned ten others on William Patterson Smith’s estate.
These majestic and historic grounds will come alive with the nineteenth-century melodies of the Abingdon Singers and the welcoming smells of Boone’s Barbecue of Williamsburg. Listen carefully as Civil War narratives are recounted by The Voices of Freedom’s Chauncey Herring who, in the role of Thomas Morris Chester- the only black correspondent reporting on the war for a major newspaper- will share true tales about the war and the turbulent times that led to this unforgettable conflict.
The Battle of Glen Roy and its Aftermath
On the first day of April, 1863, 100 Union soldiers and the gunboats Commodore Morris and Delaware engaged Confederate militia over the estimated 20,000 bushels of wheat and corn at Glen Roy plantation. The brief encounter led to the burning of not only Glen Roy’s barns, but to almost every large barn and mill in Gloucester County over the next several weeks. The Union actions were part of a shift in tactics that escalated the war to new heights. The scars wrought across Gloucester County would not soon heal. The freedom granted thousands of enslaved Africans at the end of the war came at a cost that few could have imagined and none would ever forget. The strong communities that African Americans created in the years after emancipation centered around churches, schools, and stores- many of which are quickly disappearing. Fortunately, Antioch church near Fairfield still survives – albeit severely damaged by the recent tornado. It remains a testament to the strength of the community that built it and continues to worship within its walls.
The Glen Roy event will be held on the lawn and will begin at 2 pm and last until 6.
Tickets are only $10 per family in advance at the Wild Rabbit or through the contacts below. Tickets are $15 per family at the gate. Food is available for purchase! 50% of the proceeds from this event will be donated to Antioch Christian Fellowship to help them repair damage to their historic church from the recent tornado. Glen Roy is a private residence and this is a rare opportunity to experience the surrounding landscape and beautiful vistas of the Ware River. It is located at 7011 Glen Roy Lane on Ware Neck, VA 23061. For more details or to reserve tickets, please contact Orlando Bartlett at 804-210-9328 or email us at email@example.com. Also, please follow us on Facebook for more information on this and other fun history activities.
Mary Smith Gordon says
My father, the late Rev. Warner Smith of Ware Neck who served for 43 years as pastor of the Historical Zion Poplars Baptist Church once related an interesting story about the life of his family on the Glen Roy Plantation. There was an old lady, named “Aunt” Jane Stevens, an enslaved woman, who met the Union Army as they came onto the property. She put her hands on her hips when asked “where is your master?” and said “he’s gone to fight you Yankees”. That story was passed down through the years to members of the Smith family. The enslaved Smiths came from Mathews County and had their names changed from “Billups” to “Smith”. They were apart of a dowry that the Smith daughter brought with her when she married the owner, Mr. Smith of Glen Roy. Thanks for letting me tell my family story.
Fairfield Foundation says
Hi Mary, this is a fascinating story. Thank you for sharing. The story of the skirmish at Glen Roy during the Civil War is an interesting one, and this adds a new and personal element to it. If you have more stories about your family’s history in Gloucester we would love to hear about them.