Civil War Huts Return to Montpelier!


In the depths of winter, Civil War soldiers have returned to Montpelier to build hut sites in the woods behind the Gilmore Farm.  No, this is not the story of a long-lost regiment of Confederate troops who have found their way back to Montpelier, but the story of a group of reenactors from the 3rd Regiment of the Army of Northern Virginia who used January 24, 2009 as the kick-off to recreate a set of winter huts.  We are working with the reenactors to enable visitors to experience first hand the conditions troops lived in at Montpelier during the Winter of 1863 and 1864.  For the past six years, The Montpelier Archaeology Department has been locating huts sites through archaeological surveys and excavations and at long last we are using this information to recreate the appearance of these huts.  On the weekends, reenactors will use the huts for reenactments and visitors are welcome to see the troops enact daily camp life.  Despite the chilly conditions of this past Saturday, more than 30 visitors came out to see and talk to the reenactors building the huts.  Read more in an article published in the Culpeper Star Exponent last week.

The reenactors cleared an area in the woods where the five huts will be reconstructed–one officers’ hut and four enlisted men’s huts–to create an abridged company street (a regiment of 500 men would consist of 10 companies–each with their own street of 10 huts).  The reenactors are cutting trees from the surrounding woods to build the huts and will daub them with mud to seal the cracks.  The huts will serve as their “base camp” for future reenactments held at Montpelier.  Expect to see more Civil War soldiers at Montpelier!The recreated huts are accessible to the public from the interpretive trail leading between the Gilmore Farm and the Confederate Camp site (archaeological site).  When reenactors are at the site, we will have a red sign at the gate to the Gilmore Farm that welcomes visitors to park at the Gilmore Farm and take a short walk up the logging road to the hut reconstruction site.  When the gate at the Gilmore Farm is closed, visitors can park across from the Montpelier Train station and take the interpretive trail to the hut site. (click on map to show a higher resolution

Update (2/22/2009)

The reenactors from the 3rd Regiment of the Army of Northern Virginia have been back at work and are nearly finished with the officer’s hut and have begun one of the enlisted men’s huts.  One thing the guys have learned is what hard work is involved in the construction of these huts.   They will back in full uniform starting on Sunday April 19th and through August will be out every third Sunday of the month–so please come out for a free visit to see their progress.

Update (7/30/2010) 

Two of the log huts are complete and we will be hosting over 100 re-enactors across from the Montpelier Train Station this upcoming weekend (August 6-8).  While visiting, check out the improved trail network at Montpelier that features over five miles of hiking trails.

3rd Regiment of the Army of Northern Virginia

3rd Regiment of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Troops installing timbers for log hut

Troops installing timbers for log hut.

Civil War Trail (click on image to see more)

Civil War Trail.

Progress on the officer’s hut

Progress on the officer's hut.


Matthew Reeves