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May 10, 2012

“The Dogs of War: 1861” Offers Guests Insight to Civil War

Join Civil War historian Emory Thomas as he explores the misconceptions of what both sides thought would happen at the onset of the War Between the States during “The Dogs of War: 1861.” This program takes place at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 24 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 326 W. Francis St., Williamsburg.

In 1861, Americans thought the war looming on their horizon would be brief. Nobody foresaw that they were embarking on our nation’s worst calamity, a four-year bloodbath that cost the lives of more than half a million people. As Thomas will point out, once the dogs of war are unleashed, it is almost impossible to rein them in.

Thomas highlights the delusions that dominated each side’s thinking. Lincoln believed that most Southerners loved the Union and would be dragged unwillingly into secession by the planter class. Jefferson Davis could not quite believe that Northern resolve would survive the first battle. Thomas explores these misconceptions through a narrative of the months leading up to the war, to the Fort Sumter crisis in 1861.

Free reservations are required. Reservations can be made at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket location including the Museum Store, which can be reached at (757) 220-7693.

This Distinguished Scholar Lecture is funded by the Horatio Wall Whitridge and Gracia Grieb Whitridge Lecture Series Endowment.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121