The West Virginia Independence Hall Museum in Wheeling will host its annual Blue and Gray Dinner on Thursday, April 19. The event is being co-sponsored by the West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation (WVIHF) Tickets are $25 per person. Seating is limited and reservations are required.
The evening will begin with a wine and cheese reception at 5:30 p.m. A regional band, Colerain Connection, will play traditional Civil War-era music during the reception. The dinner buffet will start at 6 p.m.
The program will include a talk by Michael Smith, superintendent of Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park at 7 p.m. Smith will talk about the Battle of Droop Mountain, located in the Greenbrier River Valley north of Lewisburg, which is the site of West Virginia’s last significant Civil War battle.
On Nov. 6, 1863, the federal army of Brigadier General William W. Averell faced the Confederate troops of Brigadier General John Echols in his second attempt to disrupt the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad at Salem, Va. Throughout the morning, Echols’ smaller army held the high ground and blocked the highway with artillery, but in the afternoon was overwhelmed by the crushing advance of federal infantry on his left flank.
Following the collapse of his lines, Echols retreated south into Virginia with the remnants of his command. Federal troops occupied Lewisburg on Nov. 7, but being burdened with prisoners and captured livestock, General Averell decided to return to his headquarters in Beverly, W.Va., waiting until early December to lead a third and ultimately successful attack on the vital railroad. Operations in the Shenandoah Valley in the spring of 1864 drew the remaining Confederate troops out of West Virginia, thus leaving the state securely under the control of the federal government for the remainder of the war.
For more information about the Blue and Gray Dinner or to make a reservation, contact Lois Nickerson at West Virginia Independence Hall at (304) 238-1300.
West Virginia Independence Hall Museum, originally built as a federal custom house in 1859, served as the home of the pro-Union state conventions of Virginia during the spring and summer of 1861 and as the capitol of loyal Virginia from June 1861 to June 1863. It also was the site of the first constitutional convention for West Virginia. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988, the museum is maintained and operated by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, with the cooperation and assistance of the WVIHF. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., with the exception of major holidays. The museum is located on the corner at 16th and Market Streets in Wheeling.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
- 30 -