Three re-enactments planned to mark sesquicentennial
By Sally Voth - firstname.lastname@example.org
STRASBURG -- Union and Confederate forces will face each other on the Cedar Creek battlefield three times this year rather than the customary single weekend of re-enactments.
In addition to its annual Battle of Cedar Creek re-enactment in the fall, the site will host two additional weekends of re-enactments in June and August, Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Executive Director John Christiansen said Monday. He said the foundation wanted to be a part of the Civil War sesquicentennial commemorations.
Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign will be highlighted June 9-10.
"During that campaign, Jackson's small army repeatedly outmarched and outfought larger Northern forces, preventing them from reinforcing other Union soldiers attacking the Confederate capitol at Richmond," a foundation news release says.
That weekend is the anniversary of battles at Cross Keys and Port Republic, which will be re-enacted at Cedar Creek.
"Stonewall Jackson, his campaign was all up and down the valley from Winchester to McDowell," Christiansen said. "He was in this area during that series of battles that he fought."
Less than two months later, Cedar Creek will host a re-enactment of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Second Manassas, which also is referred to as Second Bull Run, Aug. 3-5.
It will feature the evening Battle of Brawner's Farm and the "Attack on the Railroad Cut," in which the Confederacy used rocks for defense after running out of ammunition, the release says.
The last re-enactment, the Battle of Cedar Creek, will be Oct. 20-21. According to the release, smaller, lesser-known skirmishes will be highlighted.
Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation President Tim Stowe said the foundation already had been planning on the Stonewall Jackson campaign re-enactment. The foundation was then approached by re-enactment leaders wanting to do the Second Manassas battle, he said.
"We had to think long and hard about whether we wanted to take on three major re-enactments in the same year," Stowe said. But the fact it is the sesquicentennial year swayed the foundation.
"This happens once every 50 years we get an opportunity to do something like this," Stowe said. "The board was willing to put [forth] the effort and the resources to produce three different events.
"We're getting a lot of interest from re-enactors and spectators already. [Second
Manassas] has the potential to be the largest event ever produced at our facility there."
The news release says the battle is expected to draw 6,000-8,000 re-enactors.
It's not unusual for battlefields to host skirmishes that actually took place elsewhere, Stowe said.
"It's very difficult for re-enactors to find the place to re-enact, much less the original battlefield," he said.
Many battlefields have become national parks or are held by preservation groups that don't allow the re-enactments, Stowe said.
"We're one of the very few that allow a re-enactment to occur on an actual battlefield and have the logistics and infrastructure in place to be able to support those," he said. "All of these events are going to be different. My instructions to our military commanders were it could not look like [the Battle of] Cedar Creek."
For more information, call 869-2064, or visit www.ccbf.us.