Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park announces ‘History at Sunset’ Programs


Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is pleased to announce a series of special “History at Sunset” programs. These ranger-conducted presentations cover a variety of subjects and provide visitors an opportunity to see sites not normally open, or widely accessible, to the general public. Explore and learn about some of the “hidden gems” of the park. Each program is free and lasts between 60 to 90 minutes.

July 1, 7:00 p.m.

The Tragic Deaths of Stephen Ramseur and Charles Lowell: Examples of a Generation Lost

The Civil War was the deadliest in American history, costing the country over 625,000 lives. It particularly devastated a generation of young men, in their 20s and 30s, both North and South. This program examines the lives of two such men who fought at Cedar Creek and the impacts their deaths had on their families and communities. Meet Park Ranger Shannon Moeck at the main parking lot at Belle Grove (336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, VA). This program will visit several locations around the park, and thus will involve a car caravan system (visitors follow the ranger’s vehicle).

July 8, 7:00 p.m.

“Recorded in Scriptured Stone” The 8th Vermont Monument at Cedar Creek

Visit one of the few monuments located on the battlefield and learn the story of the New England regiment it memorializes. Located on private property, this monument is normally not open to the public. Meet Park Ranger Eric Campbell at the National Park Service Administrative Office in Middletown (Middletown Courts, 7718 ½ Main Street). Visitors will then car-pool to another site closer to the monument’s location. A short walk over moderate terrain is required. Good walking shoes or boots are recommended.

July 15, 7:00 p.m.

Belle Grove in the Civil War: The 1864 Valley Campaign The majestic plantation of Belle Grove witnessed numerous military campaigns and occupations throughout the Civil War. At no time was this more true than during the 1864 Valley campaigns, when the manor house was used by numerous generals as their headquarters, and opposing armies camped upon its grounds throughout the spring, summer and fall. Join local historian Dr. Wayne Sulfridge as he examines Belle Grove’s involvement in these larger events, and the site’s critical role during the climatic combat that swirled around the house and grounds during the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. Meet at the front lawn of Belle Grove (336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, VA).

July 22, 7:00 p.m.

“Their Deadly Business” The Battle of Third Winchester

The Third Battle of Winchester was the largest and bloodiest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. Join Park Ranger Eric Campbell for a tour that will walk this storied ground, including portions of the battlefield owned by the Civil War Trust and ground more recently purchased by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. The program will follow the flow of battle and visit areas made forever famous by the fighting, such as First and Second Woods, Middle Field, Red Bud Run and more. Meet at the parking lot behind Millbrook High School, at the east end of the Civil War Trust walking trail (Millbrook High School, 251 First Woods Drive, Winchester, VA). Good walking shoes or boots, and water are recommended.

July 29, 7:00 p.m.

“A Bad Place for a Fight” Exploring the Civil War Entrenchments at Cedar Creek

Some of the most pristine Civil War entrenchments that survive in the Shenandoah Valley are located on the bluffs above Cedar Creek. Preserved by the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, these field works are among the most extensive examples of fortifications constructed during the war. Join Park Ranger Jonathan Steplyk for a special walking tour along this trench line and learn not only how these works were constructed and what role they played in the battle, but also the evolving nature of fortifications throughout the Civil War. Meet at the parking lot of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation (8437 Valley Pike, Middletown, VA). Visitors will then car-pool to another site closer to the entrenchments. A mile long walk over moderate terrain is required. Good walking shoes or boots and water are highly recommended.

August 5, 7:00 p.m.

The Tragic Deaths of Stephen Ramseur and Charles Lowell: Examples of a Generation Lost

The Civil War was the deadliest in American history, costing the country over 625,000 lives. It particularly devastated a generation of young men, in their 20s and 30s, both North and South. This program examines the lives of two such men who fought at Cedar Creek and the impacts their deaths had on their families and communities. Meet Park Ranger Shannon Moeck at the main parking lot at Belle Grove (336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, VA). This program will visit several locations around the park, and thus will involve a car caravan system (visitors follow the ranger’s vehicle).

August 12, 7:00 p.m.

The Valley Pike: Thoroughfare to Frontier, Prosperity and War

One of the most critical features in the settlement and economic growth of the Shenandoah Valley was the existence and improvement of the principal road that ran along its length. Known successively as the Great Warrior Path, the Great Wagon Road, and the Valley Pike, this thoroughfare played a critical role throughout the entire history of the Valley, and of numerous campaigns during the four years of the Civil War. Join Park Ranger Shannon Moeck as she explains the evolution of this road and its impact on history. Meet at the main parking lot at Belle Grove (336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, VA). This program will visit several locations around the park, and thus will involve a car caravan system (visitors follow the ranger’s vehicle).



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