Cedar Creek Battlefield receives threat related to anniversary event

The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation received a threatening letter related to this weekend’s 153rd anniversary of the Civil War battle, the organization announced in a post on its website and Facebook page. But the group still plans on holding the annual event Saturday and Sunday at the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park located along U.S. 11 south of Middletown.

“We would like to make everyone aware that the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has received a letter threatening bodily harm to attendants of this event,” the post reads. “With this in mind, security has been increased and we ask that everyone work with us for a safe and enjoyable event. Please pardon the inconvenience as you may experience increased security measures when enjoying the event.”

Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation president Joe D’Arezzo did not respond to a request for comment.

But Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland said that the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation received a photocopied letter around two weeks ago vaguely threatening the foundation.

“It was just directed to the Battle of Cedar Creek and just said for them basically not to have [the event],” Millholland said.

The organization forwarded the information on to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office then sent the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Millholland said.

Neither the FBI nor the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office deemed the threat credible, he said.

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

He added that the photocopied letter is the only threatening letter the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has received.

“There’s been nothing received since, and that was the only one they got,” Millholland said.

Millholland said that the Sheriff’s Office would have no more of a security presence than it’s had at past anniversary events at the battlefield.

“We just want people to go and enjoy what they’re going to enjoy, the same way they’ve done for years,” Millholland said.

Charles Harbaugh, Middletown mayor and a member of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation’s board, said that he expected there would be an overall increased security presence. But Harbaugh said that he was not concerned about hosting the event.

“The Middletown Police Department is working closely with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, and we feel very secure and confident with our security,” Harbaugh said.

He added that he will be attending the reenactment, as he has done in years past, and noted that the event is important for the town economically.

“The reenactment is a huge economic boom to the town of Middletown,” Harbaugh said. “It is absolutely essential to our business for that weekend. It is a lot of our restaurants’ busiest times of the year.”