Battle of Cedar Creek events canceled following incident

Events for the 153rd anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek scheduled for today have been canceled following the discovery of a suspicious item at the battlefield on Saturday.

Officers from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and Middletown police who were at the battlefield, located south of Middletown off U.S. 11, were alerted to the discovery around 4 p.m. Saturday, according to a news release issued at 10:59 p.m. Saturday from Karen Vacchio, public information officer for Frederick County.

The release states that the Virginia State Bomb Squad “rendered the device safe.”

Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation President Joe D’Arezzo stated in the release that the battlefield organization will not hold any events today.

“Due to this unfortunate situation our event staff is unable to fulfill the required logistical needs to continue the event on Sunday,” D’Arezzo stated. “It is regrettable that a nice family event would be disrupted in this way.”

The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation had announced earlier in the week that it had received a threatening letter related to this weekend’s Battle of Cedar Creek anniversary re-enactments.

Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland said Tuesday that the group received a single letter related to the event but that the Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation both determined that the threat was not credible.

“We’re under the same assumption — that it’s just something that somebody wants to stir something up,” Millholland said.

When the suspicious item was discovered Saturday, the release states that “evacuations of the immediate area began and a safe zone was established.”  The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page Saturday evening that U.S. 11 had been shut down at the county line and urged motorists to avoid the area.

In addition to the Sheriff’s Office, Middletown police, state police and the state police bomb squad, other departments responding included the Frederick County Fire and Rescue, K9 units from Frederick County and Frederick County Fire Marshal’s office. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also assisted, the release states.

The release stated that the investigation is continuing and that no other information was available.

The Northern Virginia Daily attempted to contact the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation and the FBI on Saturday night. State police directed the Daily to the Sheriff’s Office. The other organizations did not respond to requests for comment.