New in Virginiana

Freeing Charles: The Struggle to Free a Slave on the Eve of the Civil War by Scott Christianson

Down the old plank road from Fredericksburg towards Culpeper--today's Route 3 West, you'll find the still-standing and ruined remains of many a grand Virginia plantation. One of these was home to Charles Nalle, who escaped from slavery in hopes of reuniting with his already-freed wife and children. In 1860, the streets of Troy, New York, became the scene of a struggle between the  Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad supporters and the slave hunters who had been sent to retrieve him.

Conserving the Commonwealth: The Early Years of the Environmental Movement in Virginia

Environmentalism and historic preservation have their own histories, and it's the former that's presented in this new book. What were the struggles and who were the heroes of the movement in Virginia? This is the story of how the Old Dominion's state parks, historic easement programs, and environmental foundations came to be in the 20th century.

Prodigy Houses of Virginia: Architecture and the Native Elite

The grand houses created by 18th-century Virginians are a huge tourist draw, but what does their design tell us about the natures of the men who built them? The auhor "illuminates the fortunes, motivations, and aspirations of the wealthy and powerful owners who built their 'homes' with the object of securing their status and impressing the public." Among those included are the houses of Governor Alexander Spotswood, William Fitzhugh, the Lee family of Westmoreland, and Thomas Jefferson.

Benson J. Lossing's Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution in Virginia & Maryland

Originally published in 1850--less than 75 years after the war--this attractive reprint of a history classic gives a unique narrative to the conflict based on the author's travels to the original sites, some of which are now unrecognizable. The Field-Book contains many illustrations by the author of places, people, and objects important to the history of the American Revolution.

A Guidebook to Virginia's Historical Markers

Whether you're planning on an Old Dominion road trip or just enjoy breezing through the centuries with a guidebook in hand, check this one out to discover the sometimes surprising histories of our state's counties and cities. From the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America

Anyone interested in Virginia's earliest colonial history ought to get to know the passengers and crew of the Sea Venture. This ship was sent to relieve Jamestown's starving colonists but never made it. The survivors landed on Bermuda, known as the Devil's Isle, where their saga continued.  Their story was the inspiration for Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Civil War Weather in Virginia

Serious Civil War historians should find Robert Krick's book to be a very useful reference as weather is always a factor in battle. The former park service historian has compiled official information along with anecdotal references taken from soldiers' books, diaries, and letters as well as newspapers. Includes sunrise and sunset data from a period almanac.

Sinners, Saints, and Soldiers in Civil War Stafford

Stafford County was the southernmost part of the Union occupation of Virginia for much of the Civil War and as such it drew all sorts of characters to its farmlands and creeksides. General Daniel Sickles--described by his contemporaries and historians as a scoundrel, murderer, rapscallion, rogue, and adulterer--took charge of the 2nd Brigade of Hooker's Division, Army of the Potomac. He enjoyed scouting the enemy by hot air balloon and held extravagant parties for his officers while in Stafford.

Virginia's Historic Homes and Gardens

Beautiful photographs show some of Virginia's best-known and lesser-known historic sites and gardens at their most glorious. Most are open to visitors. Some of the houses mentioned include Abram's Delight, Bacon's Castle, Gunston Hall, Kenmore, Maymont, Oatlands, Point of Honor, and Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest. Includes a bibliography and index.

Stafford County

Check out the new book by Anita L. Dodd and M. Amanda Lee on Stafford County. It's part of Arcadia Publishing's Then & Now series that takes old photographs of historic structures--some of which no longer exist--and juxtaposes them with modern views of the property. The authors include helpful notes on the buildings' histories.