Grand opening for Fort Nonsense set for May 10
The grand opening ceremony for Fort Nonsense, Mathews County’s new historical park, will be held on Saturday, May 10, beginning at 10 a.m.
The opening ceremony and celebration will be an all-day event with J. Michael Moore, historian and curator at Lee Hall Mansion, as the keynote speaker.
Event planners are attempting to return visitors to 1862 by bringing to life the soldiers, sounds, and culture of the American Civil War with artillery being fired throughout the day. Period music will be provided by The Tredegar Brass Band and colors will be presented by the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ color guard from the Edmund Ruffin Camp, Mechanicsville.
Visitors will be able to visit Confederate and Federal camps, see and hear artillery and infantry demonstrations, learn about 1860s culture by visiting living history displays, and participate in 1860s dancing.
Event planners anticipate several different types of artillery at the event. Some of the gun crews will demonstrate the loading and firing procedures of period cannon.
Union Brigadier Gen. Isaac Wistar (who conducted a raid in Mathews County in 1864 while looking for John Yeatts Beall and his Confederate raiders) will also be portrayed, along with some of his staff.
The opening ceremony will be held from 10-11 a.m., after which there will be a Civil War period dancing demonstration. Visitors will be encouraged to learn by participating and dancers of all ages are welcome. After the dance event, the infantry and artillery will perform their military drills and demonstrations.
The dance demonstrations and military drills will be repeated in the early afternoon. In addition to military camps, living history displays will include period quilting, clothing, cooking, and mid-19th century civilian life on the home front.
Fort Nonsense, which represents one of the best preserved Confederate earthworks in the area, will be available for self-guided tours throughout the day. Interpretive signage along paved walkways allows leisurely viewing of the entire site.