Storm over Suffolk

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Confederate soldiers muster before going off to war.

First event in five-year commemoration on May 7

A group of local historical organizations are making plans for the first event in a five-year commemoration of the Civil War’s effect on Suffolk.

“Storm Over Suffolk” is the recognition that spans five years of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The first year will feature the departure of Confederate troops.

Riddick’s Folly House Museum, the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society, Tom Smith Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Suffolk chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy are sponsoring the May 7 event.

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Hundreds of re-enactors will participate in the commemoration, which is based on a newspaper article from the May 3, 1861, Richmond Daily Dispatch about how Confederate troops from surrounding counties gathered in Suffolk before leaving from the Seaboard station on the train to Norfolk.

“We’re going to be having anywhere from 200-300 re-enactors back here in the parking lot,” said Lee King, the curator of Riddick’s Folly.

The re-enactors will march up Main Street to the train station, with civilians falling in line behind them to see them off, King said.

Inside, first-person interpreters will portray members of the Riddick family preparing for the war.

At Cedar Hill Cemetery, more first-person interpreters will portray a variety of 1861 Suffolk residents, from the mayor’s daughter to the brother of Nansemond County’s only civilian casualty during the war.

“We’re trying to represent all the different attitudes people might have had about the war,” said Sue Woodward, a volunteer with the historical society.

For more information on the event, call 934-0822 or 539-2781.