Your Greatest Vacation in History begins with our Visitors Guide

Request a Guide
Request a Visitors Guide

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Taming the Wilderness: An 18th Century Living History Event at Ellwood


September 29 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm


Friends of Wilderness Battlefield
(540) 729-2885


Ellwood Manor
36380 Constitution Highway (Route 20)
Locust Grove, VA 22508 United States
+ Google Map
(540) 729-2885


Taming the Wilderness, an 18th Century Living History event in its 13th year, is sponsored by Friends of Wilderness Battlefield. The event will be held rain or shine on Sunday, September 29th, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., at Ellwood

Specific Presentations Include:

10:30 AM and 3:00 PM:  Friends of Wilderness Battlefield volunteers will conduct guided walking tours of the Wilderness Crossing Trail. Sturdy shoes and bug spray are recommended for this 75 – minute program, and don’t forget to bring along a bottle of water.

11:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Craftsmen and Artisans will give demonstrations which will highlight the building trades, homemaking skills and general everyday expertise needed to settle and survive in the harsh landscape that became known as “The Wilderness of Spotsylvania”…or “The Wilderness,” during the late 1700s through the early 1800s.  Artisans will be demonstrating skills of the time such as stone masonry, wood working and the hewing and shaping of logs for cabin construction.  Domestic activities to be shown include spinning and weaving, open hearth cooking and long rifle hunting skills. Other living history re-enactors will depict inn and tavern life, portrayals of a period musician, and an itinerant sketch artist.  Also, our wonderful blacksmith will be returning this year, and you won’t want to miss him!

As an added bonus, The Germanna Foundation will have a display of their archaeological activities from sites fairly close to the Wilderness Battlefield area.

12:00 PM and 4:00 PM: A shorter, 45 minute walking tour of the grounds will be led by FoWB volunteers.

12:30 PM: Long time FoWB member and amateur archaeologist Dale Brown will give a presentation about the origins and construction of Ellwood Manor. His talk will include information concerning the locations of several of the outbuildings such as the kitchen, diary, smokehouse and oven.

2:00 PM: Join us for a special presentation regarding colonial era Tavern Life as demonstrated by FoWB volunteers. Come and relax while our “Tavern Wenches” explain how things in the more rural taverns were run!

Ellwood Manor will be open during the day from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and FoWB volunteers will be glad to visit with guests and answer any questions.

In addition to the Living History activities and walking tours, FoWB volunteers will be on hand to assist visitors with possible ancestral connections with the Battle of the Wilderness or Ellwood, in the Heritage Program tent on the grounds.

Just down the road, a Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park staff historian will be at Saunders Field to visit with people about the Battle of the Wilderness.  For more information on Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, please visit their website,

All programs are free and open to the public. Donations are always welcome and appreciated.

For more information of the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, please visit our website at

Ellwood is a c1790 house that once stood at the center of a vast plantation sustained dominantly by enslaved people. During the Civil War, the house served as a headquarters for Union generals and as a hospital for the Confederates. The family cemetery is also the burial site of Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson’s amputated arm. Ellwood is a component of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield work in partnership with the National Park Service to preserve and interpret the site.