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May 15

A Well Regulated Militia

Posted to Spotsylvania Museum by Terry Dougherty

Broadside. Spotsylvania Militia 1805

Virginia militia  was established in 1607 as part of the English militia system. Militia service in Virginia  was compulsory for all free males. The main purpose of the Crown's militia was to repel invasions and insurrections and to enforce the laws of the colony. 

During the French and Indian War (1754–1763), a formal act came into effect.

WHEREAS it is necessary, in this time of danger, that the militia of this colony should be well regulated and disciplined...And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every person so as aforesaid inlisted (except free mulattoes, negroes, and Indians) shall be armed in the manner following, that is to say: Every soldier shall he furnished with a firelock well fixed, a bayonet fitted to the same, a double cartouch-box, and three charges of powder, and constantly appear with the same at the time and place appointed for muster and exercise, and shall also keep at his place of abode one pound of powder and four pounds of ball, and bring the same with him into the field when he shall be required...And for the better training and exercising the militia, and rendering them more serviceable, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every captain shall, once in three months, and oftner if thereto required by the lieutenant or chief commanding officer in the county, muster, train, and exercise his company, and the lieutenant or other chief commanding officer in the county shall cause a general muster and exercise of all the companies within his county, to be made in the months of March or April, and September or October, yearly; and if any soldier shall, at any general or private muster, refuse to perform the command of his officer, or behave himself refractorily or mutinously, or misbehave himself at the courts martial to be held in pursuance of this act, as is herein after directed, it shall and may be lawful to and for the chief commanding officer, then present, to cause such offender to be tied neck and heels, for any time not exceeding five minutes, or inflict such corporal punishment as he shall think fit, not exceeding twenty lashes...

— An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, April 1757

In 1771, the Virginia Bill of Rights under Article I, Section 13, was changed to the following by popular vote:

That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

After the Revolutionary war, the militia system continued and the Virginia militia system, as a compulsory service composed of the body of the people trained to arms, remained intact until the end of the American Civil War .

Spotsylvania by 1800 was numerically designated as the 2nd Regiment, 2nd Division.  Prior  to the Civil war, it was re-designated the 16th Virginia Regiment.  The broadside above courtesy of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture indicates that not only were they “well regulated”, but well dressed as well!

May 25

Move Over, Gals – It’s Time for Guys’ Day Out at These Spotsylvania Wineries

Posted to Tourism by Lindsay Leach

Women and wine seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly for a “Girls’ Night Out.” But who’s to say guys can’t enjoy a nice glass of vino too? Spotsylvania, Virginia, is home to a host of vineyards, each with their own twist. Whether you have the afternoon or a full weekend with the guys, these spots offer unique experiences that will have them reminiscing for months after

Wilderness Run Vineyards is Virginia’s Historical Farm Vineyard. Enjoy earthy vibes as you look out over rolling hills and scenic silos. Plenty of outdoor space awaits you to enjoy the day as you would if you lived the farm life–an old pontoon boat has even been converted into a stage for live entertainment! Living out their sole rule of “drink the wine you like,” a wide offering of wines is categorized into Country, Historic, and Estate collections. Try the Tool Shed Red Blend that gives a nod to the vineyard’s humble roots where tastings were first held, or the Field Blend, part of the Estate Collection. The Historic Collection salutes the area’s past and is the result of partnering with local historians and museums to capture the essence of local figures featured on the bottle. For example, did you know that Stonewall Jackson lost his arm during the Civil War on Wilderness Run Property? To keep the good times rolling, follow your wine with a visit to 1781 Brewery and the Old Towne Tobacconist Cigar Lounge, both located on Wilderness Run Vineyards property.

For the dudes who value time spent with their favorite folks, Eden Try is an ideal spot to gather on the weekends. Family-owned and full of fun offerings like live local music, food trucks, and even special “beer weekend” events, this beloved local winery knows how to bring effervescent energy to their pristine sip-and-stay-awhile grounds. Be sure to check out the ultra-refreshing winetails (after all, real men rock a stemmed glass!).

Situated close to Lake Anna, Lake Anna Winery is one of the region’s most popular spots for vino and scenic views. The boutique winery produces award-winning wines and the proud home of Virginia’s Renaissance Faire (talk about epic revelry and ample opportunities for great people-watching!). Weekends at Lake Anna Winery mean live performances from country music artists to jazz musicians and Cajun Zydeco bands to vibey California beach music with a wealth of genres in between! Be sure to try the winery’s 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup Silver Medal winners: Spotsylvania Claret, 2019 Barrel Select Chardonnay, 2019 Morgan Merlot, 2019 Petit Verdot, and 2020 Verdi. Who says you have to road trip to Napa to experience winning wines?

For the guy who considers himself the ultimate DIY-er, look no further than Bacchus Winery. While Bacchus Winery has a traditional tasting room to sample their wine made on the premises, it also hosts numerous winemaking classes as an Enology and Viticulture Instructional Facility. In fact, Bacchus is known as the most desired home-winemaking destination in the area! Grapes, fruit, honey, and other local ingredients using Virginia agriculture become crafted into artisan foods that can be tastefully paired with your wine sampling. These products are sold at the winery to take some home for later, too. To keep your creative juices flowing, pick up a winemaking kit on your way out. Winemaking kits are a fun – and thrifty – way to keep your newly-learned vintner skills fresh while costing as low as $3 per bottle! 

Mattaponi Winery is a small, family, and Native American-owned winery that has been in the heart of Spotsylvania County for over 20 years. Originally started as a Christmas tree farm, the winery continues to sell Christmas trees in November and December. After you choose just the right tree for your merriment, enjoy a warm glass of mulled-spice strawberry wine. While traditional white and red wines are available throughout the year (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot), Mattaponi Winery has been touted as the “conqueror of fruit wine.” Fruit wines are made from 100% real fermented fruit, never from concentrate or any artificial flavorings. Try authentically named wines like the Makadewamin (blackberry) or the Kizismin (peach) for a crisp and refreshing treat. To take this experience up a notch, check out Mattaponi Winery’s monthly pairing events – your palate is in for a treat when their specialty fruit wine is served with soups, BBQ, flavored popcorn, or donuts! 

If your crew wants to take the guesswork out of planning their stops, make a reservation for a wine tour with Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg. Leaving from the Spotsylvania Towne Centre and stopping at three wineries, tours include a boxed lunch while you kick back and listen to a lively discussion of local history between stops. The Spotsylvania Town Centre is nearby for dinner and drinks after the tour to “wine” down after a solid day of fun.

No matter if you and your guys are in the mood for a day outdoors, getting your hands dirty in the winemaking process, or exploring Native American fruit wines, there is a tale waiting to be told at these wineries in Spotsylvania. Let’s raise a glass to creating a next-level “Guys’ Day Out” (or a well-deserved weekend)!