Battles of Cross Keys, Port Republic focus of June 9-10 event

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is hosting a special event commemorating the 155th anniversary of the Battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic on June 9-10.  This commemorative event will consist of a series of free special ranger programs and battlefield tours, living history encampments and demonstrations, an evening torchlight tour, a kids’ activity tent, and other activities.  All of these programs and activities will explore and explain the two battles that ended Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s famous 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

newspaper“These twin victories at Cross Keys and Port Republic marked the end of what many consider one of the most brilliant military campaigns in American history,” explains Eric Campbell, the park’s chief of interpretation.  “The programs, events and tours offered during this commemorative event will not only explain these two battles, but also provide an overview to the entire 1862 Valley Campaign, along with reflection and meaning to the sacrifices of the soldiers and civilians who experienced it.”

The event will begin on Friday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m., with a National Park Service presentation, the “1862 Valley Campaign in a Box” (a 40-minute ranger program that provides an overview of the campaign), followed by a special Torchlight Tour, “The Eve of Battle,” starting at Port Republic’s “Green” at 7:30 p.m.  Visitors will “step back in time” to the evening of June 8, 1862 and visit the camps of Union and Confederate soldiers on the evening prior to the Battle of Port Republic, which was fought on the following day (June 9, 1862).

On Saturday, June 10, events will be offered on the Port Republic “Green” from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  National Park Service ranger programs include the “1862 Valley Campaign in a Box” presentations, along with ranger-led car caravan tours of each battlefield.

Living history units will depict both Union and Confederate soldiers who fought in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862.  They will set up typical Civil War encampments along the South River in Port Republic, along with offering drilling demonstrations on the town’s “Green” on Saturday, June 10.

A kids’ activity tent will allow children to try on Civil War uniforms, drill with wooden rifles, conduct art activities, scavenger hunts and much more.  The Port Republic Museum will also be open to the public throughout the event.  This commemorative event is being co-sponsored by the National Park Service, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, the Port Republic Museum and the Town of Port Republic.

The complete schedule of events for the weekend includes:

Friday, June 9th  

  • 6:30 p.m. NPS Ranger program -1862 Valley Campaign in a Box
  • 7:30 p.m. –Torchlight Tour “The Eve of Battle: June 8, 1862”

Saturday, June 10th

9:00 a.m. – Event begins on the “Green” in Port Republic

  • On-going “living history”
  • On-going “kids’ activities”
  • Port Republic Museum open

9:30 a.m. – Tour of the Battle of Cross Keys -meet at the Ruritan (Union Church) on Battlefield

Road Ranger lead tour

Following programs take place on the “Green” in Port Republic

  • 10:00 a.m. – NPS Ranger program -1862 Valley Campaign in a Box
  • 11:00 a.m. – Living History program and drilling demonstration
  • 1:00 p.m.  – Living History program and drilling demonstration
  • 2:00 p.m. – Tour of the Battle of Port Republic-meet at the “Green” –Ranger-lead tour
  • 2:30 p.m. – NPS Ranger program -1862 Valley Campaign in a Box
  • 3:15 p.m. – Living History program and drilling demonstration
  • 5:00 p.m.  – Event ends

For program locations, questions or for further information, call: (540) 869-3051.

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