Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation launches fundraiser

The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has launched an online fundraiser at https://tinyurl.com/y7ttn6x9  a month after a suspicious device caused the group to bar spectators from attending a day of its annual reenactment event.

According to Middletown Mayor Charles Harbaugh, who is a member of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation’s board of directors, the group’s board decided to raise money on GoFundMe, a fundraising website, in an effort to make up for potential revenue that it had missed out on.

“Through the pipe bomb and all of that stuff, in the end, we lost a day of ticket sales,” Harbaugh said. “And it was a beautiful day, and it was a day that event directors of all kinds hope and pray for when they host events. So we lost a day of ticket sales, so the GoFundMe is trying to claim back some of those lost ticket sales.”

But Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Board President Joe D’Arezzo said that the decision to launch the GoFundMe fundraiser had nothing to do with the suspicious device.

“They’re two completely separate things,” D’Arezzo said. “There’s a lot of historic organizations using GoFundMe. So we’re just joining the bandwagon, man.”

Instead, D’Arezzo described the fundraiser as a common way of raising money in the 21st century.

“We’re just joining the modern age,” D’Arezzo said. “Everyone’s kind of doing it, so we figured, hey, why don’t we toss our hat in the ring, too?”

On Oct. 14, officials found a suspicious device on the grounds of the Cedar Creek Battlefield, according to news releases from the FBI and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. A number of vendors at the reenactment said that there was a suspected pipe bomb in the area where vendors were.

The discovery of the suspicious device came after the battlefield foundation issued a statement saying that it had received a threatening letter.

A representative from the Sheriff’s Office has not responded to a request for comment.

In addition to the loss of a day of ticket sales, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation may have also missed out on funds from an auction.  John Buchheister, a vendor at the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, said that he was getting ready to set up a benefit auction for the foundation on Saturday when a member of the battlefield foundation’s board came up to him and told him to leave the area.

The auction never happened, Buchheister stated.

Meanwhile, the threatening letter may have caused the battlefield foundation to spend more on security this year than it has in the past.  Jeannette Shaffer, a secretary at the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and the vice president of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Board, stated in an email sent to Middletown Police Chief Gary Benedict and members of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and obtained by the Northern Virginia Daily that D’Arezzo told her he decided to hire private security for Friday and Saturday nights.

That communication occurred more than a week after the foundation told the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office about the letter.

Shaffer has not responded to a request for comment.

Proceeds from the fundraiser go largely toward paying off the debt on the Cedar Creek Battlefield land, Cindy Armstrong, a board member, stated in a Facebook post. Harbaugh said that Armstrong “spearheaded” the project.

Armstrong has not responded to a request for comment.