National Park Service: Successful 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek 150th -dawn at Belle GroveCedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek with unforgettable ranger programs, living history demonstrations, and dramatic reenactments.

The Shenandoah Valley welcomed thousands of visitors to the park over the weekend to commemorate the last major battle in this area associated with the 1864 Valley Campaign.

Partnerships were the key to the success of the weekend events. Behind the scenes, months of planning and contributions from several non-profit organizations, local, state, and national agencies, and individuals lead to a successful commemoration that included three different battle reenactments, living historians providing an immersive experience in and around the Belle Grove Plantation, and ranger programs taking place across the entire battlefield.

“This special event grew beyond our planned expectations into a remarkable community remembrance,” noted Site Manager, Amy Bracewell. “Dedicated park visitors followed in the soldiers footsteps from before dawn until sunset this weekend.  All of the events recognized the significant legacy of the soldiers who sacrificed everything on this sacred landscape and we appreciate everyone who came to the park to commemorate this special moment.”

While the park and partners will continue to tabulate visitation numbers this week, the initial impressions for the weekend have been outstanding. In addition to the three battle reenactments, event highlights included thirty-six rangers programs, walks and tours, battlefield stations that provided public access to areas normally closed, a commemorative ceremony on Saturday evening, the placement of nearly 1,000 luminaries along the main street through Middletown, the dedication of a new Vermont state historical marker and interpretive wayside exhibits and the re-dedication of the Stephen D. Ramseur monument.  The National Park Service real-time programs, which started at 5:00 am on Sunday morning, received unprecedented turn-out for the park. Many visitors and community members came to the park throughout the weekend because of the significance of the anniversary and the good weather.