Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park commemorate 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek

newspaperThe sesquicentennial commemoration of the Battle of Cedar Creek kicks off this week with a wide spectrum of programs and activities. Starting Friday, October 17, The National Park Service and all park partners have planned four days of special programming to highlight the history of the battle, and its impact on the Shenandoah Valley.

Visitors to the park will have opportunities to experience the battle as never before.  Over 70 living history interpreters will transform the Belle Grove Plantation back to the Civil War era on Saturday and Sunday and interpret civilian life inside the house and military camps in the surrounding fields. Coordinated by the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, over 5,000 reenactors will recreate the battles of Tom’s Brook, the Third Battle of Winchester, and Cedar Creek. These reenactments will also include approximately 278 horses for the Cavalry Battle of Tom’s Brook, and the utilization of 69 cannons.

The National Park Service will provide 38 unique ranger programs throughout the weekend including car caravan tours, an interpretive hike of Signal Knob, and battlefield station programs highlighting five different key locations associated with the battle. Ranger led real-time programs will begin at 5:00am on Sunday, October 19 and follow the action of the battle at the same time it took place in 1864.

Other notable programs include the commemoration ceremony, scheduled for 5:00pm on Saturday, October 18 on the battlefield at the Belle Grove Plantation. The town of Middletown is also hosting luminaries after the ceremony to be placed along Main Street with one luminary representing every soldier killed in the battle. A re-dedication of the recently conserved Ramseur Monument located at Route 11 and Belle Grove Road closes the commemoration weekend on Monday, October 20 at 10:00am.

“With over 67 hours of programming throughout the weekend, visitors will be able to explore every aspect of the battle,” noted Amy Bracewell, Site Manager at the park. “Visitors can chose from many ticketed and free programs and put together a full and meaningful weekend at the park.”

Spectator parking and ticket sales will be off of Route 11 just south of Middletown. Visitors should expect increased crowds and allow plenty of time to experience the park. Shuttles will be available both days to help visitors navigate the event. Visitors are encouraged to bring sturdy shoes for walking around the battlefield, and camp chairs and sunscreen to enjoy the outdoor activities. Event guides will be available throughout the park and are available online at www.nps.gov/cebe. Tickets for the ticketed event grounds are currently available online and can be purchased throughout the weekend. Tickets can be purchased at www.ccbf.us.

The park has planned the commemoration activities in collaboration with many park partners. The National Park Service, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, Belle Grove, Inc., the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Civil War Trust have all worked together to coordinate the sesquicentennial programming.


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