The Cherry Hill Farmhouse will play host to a Civil War Christmas re-enactment from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 8, giving visitors a glimpse into Christmas during a time of war for residents of Falls Church. Morse is the farmhouse director.
Who used to live in the Cherry Hill Farmhouse?
The farmhouse is a historic house on the National Register of Historic Places, built in 1845. We interpret the period when the family lived here during the Civil War. They came here from Massachusetts in 1856 and voted to stay with the Union during the war. Twenty-six people in town voted to stay with the Union, and 44 men in town voted to secede.
So what will the farmhouse look like during the re-enactment?
All of their conversations will take place as if it were in the midst of the Civil War. They'll discuss local events, the latest news, how the war has affected their life. And then we'll also have period music and caroling. The house will be decorated in period decorations.
What was going on with the war at that time?
They'll be talking about the impact of mainly having Union soldiers encamped in their fields. For the farmers, even though there weren't battles in the fields, it resulted in a great loss of crops and animals. And it's right around the time of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
Was it kind of a sad Christmas time?
We're trying to keep it as upbeat as possible, so there will be a lot of period carols, and most of the holiday was centered around the meal. There will be gifts, but those were very simple and basic. We'll also have a workshop for homemade ornaments for the children. The Christmas decorations were simple and green, things you could find outside in your own yard. Patriotic trees were very popular during the Civil War, lots of red, white and blue decorations.
- Ben Giles