Type: Living History Event
Where: Ben Lomond House, Manassas, Va.
When: July 18-19, 2009
The purpose of this event is to interpret one of the field hospitals following the Battle of First Manassas. Our primary focus is to recreate the history and present it in a unique way to the public. Private Edward A. Craighill of Company G, 2nd Virginia Infantry under the direction of Surgeon Hunter McGuire, established the field hospital at the Ben Lomond House. The event will feature a first person interpretative program focusing on problems incurred by the fledgling CS Medical Department as it attempted to meet the challenge of caring for wounded following the first major battle of the Civil War. Accounts in “Confederate Surgeon: The Personal Recollections of E. A. Craighill” will also be brought to life in the program.
The program will be based on concepts from the highly acclaimed “You Are There” television show of the 1950’s hosted by Walter Cronkite. A modern day news reporter will provide an introduction and then accompany the group of visitors through a series of “scenes” situated outside and inside the house. The news reporter will interview “impressionists” within the scenes to gain an understanding of the situation and to flesh out the theme. The program will be conducted several times throughout the weekend. Due to the small rooms within the house, each program will be limited to 20 visitors and the public will be asked to make reservations in advance.
The Site: The Ben Lomond House is on about 5 acres in Manassas, Va., about 3 miles from the Manassas National Battlefield on Sudley Manor Road off of Business Rt. 234. The house was built in 1832 and was known as the Pringle House during the Civil War.
Needed: living historians to portray:
·Soldiers – as many as we can get. Most will portray wounded but there will be a few who will portray “worried comrades” who have come to check on their pards. These positions can be rotated so no one gets stuck being wounded all the time.
·The Pringle family – Andrew, age 81, Andrew, age 40, and Thomas, age 31. The Pringles were Scottish immigrants and farmers. They sub-let the property from Benjamin Thornton of Orange County, Va., who had leased it from the owner, Benjamin Tasker Chinn. Mr. Pringle ran large herds of Merino sheep on the property. The sheep had been brought to Ben Lomond and other Chinn farmsteads in the 1840’s. As research indicates, the Pringles remained at the house while it was being used as a field hospital.
·Medical Steward E. A. Craighill (Harry Aycock)
·Captain William Lee (20’s) (severely wounded and died in the house)
·The lovely young wife of “Captain Lee” who was by her husband’s side when he died.
·Charles Wesley Andrews, Protestant Episcopal clergyman
·Ms. Lee - don't know anything about her at this time, but apparently a relative of Capt. Lee. According to the Andrews’ letter, she accompanied him, along with “Archy” to Manassas Junction.
·Archy. - That is all we know about his name, no other info at this point. Perhaps a friend or relative of the Lee family. He accompanied Ms. Lee and Andrews to Manassas Junction.
·Several male and female civilians portraying curious neighbors
Background: Craighill graduated from the Univ. of Penn. Medical School in March, 1861. Soon after the firing on Fort Sumter, he enlisted as a private in Co. G, 2nd Va. Infantry and eventually assigned to the field medical corps under Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire in June '61. As there were essentially no medical duties to perform, Craighill joined his company and participated as a private-under-arms at 1st Manassas. Immediately following the battle, he set out to take care of the wounded and under Dr. McGuire's direction, soon established a field hospital at the Ben Lomond house, a couple of miles from the battlefield. He referred to the house as the "Pringle House" as three men whose last name was Pringle were renting the farmstead and were present at the time.
The entire house and grounds will be available to participants throughout the event. You will be able to stay in the house at night if you choose. Good early war impressions are most favorable for this event and quality civilian impressions as well.
Again, the focus of this event is not on ourselves and obtaining an "immersion type experience" but on conducting a unique and interesting program for the public. No registration fee.