Central Virginia Battlefields Trust

2022 Annual Conference


1862: The War Comes To Fredericksburg







September 30 - October 2, 2022

Friday Evening – President’s Reception


Join us on Friday evening from 5pm to 8pm for an open-house President’s Reception at the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust Office. It’s a terrific opportunity to visit with board members, meet new friends, and mingle with fellow-preservationists and history enthusiasts. Complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and Hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

Saturday Morning – Rare Screening “Fire on the Rappahannock” and Upper Pontoon Crossing Tour with historian Frank O'Reilly












11:30 Lunch at Brock’s Riverside Grill (Included in package)


We will board the bus and travel a short distance to Brock’s Riverside Grill for lunch. Brock's is located on the Rappahannock River in Old Town Fredericksburg.


Special CVBT lunch menu: Requires selection of lunch fare by (September 15th) Please email Terry at executivedirector@cvbt.org for selection choice listed below.


Lunch Choices:

Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (Grilled chicken breast served on salad of Romaine lettuce)

Cheddar Burger (Half pound Angus burger)

Club Rapper (Turkey & Ham in flour tortilla)


If no selection is registered by due date the default lunch will be a Club Rapper (Turkey & Ham in flour tortilla).

If you register AFTER July 27th Lunch will be at the Alpine Chef (menu to be announced)


1:00 p.m. Tour and presentation at the Middle Crossing and the Sentry Box with historian Sarah Kay Bierle and Sentry Box owner Charlie McDaniel.


Bus will depart Brock’s from lunch a short distance to the Union Middle Pontoon crossing where historian and author Sarah Kay Bierle will present a program on the Union crossing. Sentry Box owner Charlie McDaniel will also give a tour of his historic home and private collection.


3:00 p.m. Tour and presentation at Prospect Hill with historian Frank O'Reilly.


Following the Middle Crossing program, we will board the bus and travel to Fredericksburg’s Prospect Hill. Well known historian and author Frank O'Reilly will review the Union breakthrough.


Saturday Evening

Social Hour / Banquet / Annual Meeting / Keynote Speaker












                                                             Dinner will be buffet style and include a cash bar.


Keynote Speaker


Retired NPS Chief Historian and author John Hennessy will present an interesting program regarding the Union occupation of Fredericksburg in 1862. The summer 1862 occupation of Fredericksburg and Stafford County is a period in the region’s history that receives little attention when compared to the battles and events that followed a few months later.

Evening Schedule

6:00 – 6:45 Social Hour (wine and beer cash bar)

6:45 – 7:30 Dinner

7:30 – 8:00 - Annual Meeting / Presentations

8:00- Keynote Speaker John Hennessy


Sunday - Brunch at Stevenson Ridge






We will be presenting a Battle of Fredericksburg Historian “Panel Discussion,” moderated by historian and author Chris Mackowski.  The panel will also include historians Sarah Kay Bierle, John Hennessy, Greg Mertz, and Scott Walker. Attendee interaction encouraged!

(Parking on-site; minimal walking)


Hotel Rooms

CVBT has reserved a block of hotel rooms for your convenience. The hotel is the Hampton Inn & Suites Fredericksburg-at Celebrate Virginia. Please use the link below for the exclusive CVBT Conference attendee room rate. www.my-event.hilton.com/frbcbhx-cvb-1f4578e1-2361-4453-af9f-9793d24d55c3/. Room rate is available based on availability through August 30, 2022.


Updates and minor changes may be made as necessary closer to the event date; conference attendees may expect to receive communications and any necessary updates directly from the CVBT staff.



Event Historians




On December 13, 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia repulsed a series of attacks by Union General Ambrose Burnside’s Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg, Virginia. The defeat was one of the most decisive loses for the Union army, and it dealt a serious blow to Northern morale in the winter of 1862-63. “It is well that war is so horrible, or else we should grow too fond of it,” Lee observed to General James Longstreet as they watched the carnage. A bitterly cold night froze many of the Union dead and wounded.

8:45 a.m. – Bus departs from CVBT Office for the Fredericksburg Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library on Caroline St. where there will be a special screening of Fire on the Rappahannock, the acclaimed official 150th Anniversary film of the massive Battle of Fredericksburg Reenactment. Embedded cameras and filmed on the very streets the conflict took place, this film was created by Heritage Media LLC and produced and directed by CVBT Board President Tom Van Winkle.


Immediately after the conclusion of our presentation at the library, we will go out the back of the building onto Sophia St. for a walking tour and presentation at the Upper Union River Crossing by historian Frank O'Reilly..

This year’s banquet and meeting will take place at historic Belmont in Falmouth. Belmont is picturesquely situated on a ridge overlooking the Rappahannock River across from historic Fredericksburg, Virginia, with its close associations with the Washingtons, America’s first family, and the Civil War. The site of Belmont cannot be interpreted without mention of the development of the estate prior to the arrival of the Gari and Corinne Melchers. The Ficklen family developed the property, much of it by enslaved labor, over 90 years of ownership, and the tribulations of the Civil War within its boundaries, particularly the Battle of 1862, is a fascinating chapter of the Belmont story. (https://www.garimelchers.org)

Brunch at Stevenson Ridge, 9am to 12noon. One of the more recent and treasured traditions of the CVBT Conference is brunch at Stevenson Ridge. This beautiful event site sits adjacent to Spotsylvania National Battlefield and has trenches running through the back of the privately-owned property.

Greg Mertz - Greg is recently retired Supervisory Historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and the author of Attack at Daylight and Whip Them: The Battle of Shiloh as well as numerous other articles on the Civil War, including a two-part series on the Wilderness for Blue & Gray Magazine.  Greg began his National Park Service career at Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site in 1980.

Chris Mackowski - Chris is the editor-in-chief of Emerging Civil War and has written extensively about the battle of Spotsylvania Court House. He is a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY, and historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge.

Scott Walker - Scott has lived in Fredericksburg for over 50 years.  He has degrees in history and education from the University of Virginia and is recognized in this area as a trained and knowledgeable historian, lecturer, preservationist, and tour guide. After he retired from a long career in public education, he started Hallowed Ground Tours and it quickly grew into the premier private tour provider in the Fredericksburg area.  As a history teacher, he realized that the area was a “history teaching lab”.  He became the “Field Trip Guy”.  He now heads a group of equally trained and interested men and women who are effective in relaying the area’s history to visitors seeking a personal and in-depth experience.

Sarah Kay Bierle - Sarah graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a BA in History, serves as managing editor at Emerging Civil War, and works in the Education Department at American Battlefield Trust. She has spent years exploring ways to share quality historical research in ways that will inform and inspire modern audiences, including school presentations, writing, and speaking engagements. Sarah has published three historical fiction books and her first nonfiction book, Call Out The Cadets: The Battle of New Market, is part of the Emerging Civil War series. She is currently working on a short biography of John Pelham for the Emerging Civil War series.

John Hennessy.jpg

John Hennessy - John is the recently retired Chief Historian and Chief of Interpretation at the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park. John has spent some 40 years with the National Park Service starting at the Manassas National Battlefield park. John has written extensively including his lauded books “First Battle of Manassas” and “Return to Bull Run.”


Frank O’Reilly - Frank serves as a historian at Fredericksburg and
Spotsylvania National Military Park, is the author of “Stonewall Jackson
at Fredericksburg”, “The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War the
Rappahannock”, as well as numerous other articles on the Civil War
and appearances on C-SPAN.