From the Leesburg Magazine:
Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Over the weekend the National Archives had a special viewing of the original document in celebration of this historic event, reporting that folks waited in line, in the cold, for an hour, just to glimpse the document that forever changed a nation.
Saturday, January 5th, 2013, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the Loudoun County Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Committee will present the special program “Pausing to Remember the Emancipation Proclamation”. Oatlands is significant in this observance in that the plantation was Loudoun County’s largest holder of slaves at the onset of the Civil War, with 128 slaves recorded in the 1860 census.
Information regarding this period in Loudoun history, about events related to African-Americans is extremely rare, especially during the winter of 1862-63. There were no newspapers operating in Loudoun then. The Leesburg Town Council had last met in the spring of 1862. The “Register of Freed Negroes”, the official Loudoun County record of emancipated slaves, posted its last record in March of 1861. To understand the time we are largely left with the entrys in private diaries, but even the diary of Elizabeth O. Carter, owner of Oatlands, is silent on the Emancipation Proclamation.
This commemoration will include a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by Rev. Reginald Early, President of the Loudoun branch of the NAACP. Interpretations of contemporary events will be presented by local historians, such as Lincoln’s signing
of the document, Loudoun’s Watch Night services and Union General Milroy’s distribution of the Proclamation in counties to Loudoun’s west. Kevin Grigsby, Loudoun historian, author and Oatlands slave descendant will offer his thoughts and Richard Moore, Oatlands gardener, will lead the group in the singing of hymns. Guests will also have the chance to offer their thoughts.
Participants are asked to meet at the Oatlands Carriage House at 4:00pm for the first part of the program. From there, guests will proceed to the mansion (by lantern) for the second part of the program. The program will be finished at about 5:30pm.
There is no charge. In case of inclement weather participants are asked to called Visit Loudoun at 703.771.2170. In the event of cancellation there is no secondary date.