But how many will witness them?

Jeannette Shaffer, her words tinged with uncertainty yet also with hope, speaks for many in the historical community when she says, “I can’t even guess how many spectators we will have, but we’re hoping for a good turnout.”

So are we. The Battle of Cedar Creek re-enactment has not only been a staple — historic and economic — here in the Northern Valley, but a bellwether event for the entire re-enactment community nationwide. Consider that, on every October weekend closest to the 19th (actual date of the battle), the re-enactment of this climactic tussle in the Valley would be staged on the actual land that saw Northern and Southern soldiers square off in 1864. And then one year it wasn’t.

Two years ago, the event was canceled when a suspicious device was discovered on the battlefield. Last year, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation felt the safety of all — re-enactor and spectator alike — could be not properly secured, and the event was once again called off.

This year, though, the “guns of Cedar Creek” return — and, we hope, the crowds with them. The Foundation has pledged heightened security. For instance, bags will be checked, and everyone entering the battlefield must resent a photo ID. Sad, but a sign of the times.

Nonetheless, Frederick County Sheriff Lenny Millholland says he wants “everyone to have a good time, enjoy themselves, and not be in fear of their safety.”

As do we. But we would understand if regular attendees — i.e., fans of the re-enactment — would like to get these next two days in the book without incident before taking a deep breath.

(5) comments

slowe

Better would be the reenactment of Lee's surrender to Grant. The end of the rebellion that caused 620,000 deaths! The rebellion that destroyed the infrastructure of the pro-slavery confederate states and wasted so many resources of the North to put down the rebellion. These battle reenactments are shameful mis-teachings of what really was happening. By celebrating, in a festival atmosphere, the killing fields of the battle we may forget the real reasons for the battles: By the North to preserve the Union, to prevent the division of the country into slave and non-slave states. By the South (the Confederate rebel traitors) to preserve their "state's right" to enslave Africans in forced labor camps (plantations) for the benefit of and continuance of their white supremacist culture and economy. Battlefield reenactments are a diversionary tactic to reinforce the debunked Lost Cause culture about the War of Rebellion by the southern, slave-holding states.

With costumes, play guns, campgrounds, and boy-play by grown men these battlefield reenactments divert attention from the moral, ethical, political, and economic battle that was really being fought. All of this is passed off as "educational", "historical", and "proud heritage". Let's stop fooling ourselves and the children. We should own the past, honestly and, for the descendants of the Confederacy, remember with contrition, a little shame, and ask forgiveness for the errors of our ancestors.

Ping

Ain't you heard, Cap'n? War's over! You don't have to fight it anymore! What's it to you if a few folks like to dress up and march around and shoot musket blanks? I really don't think any modern American would think antebellum slavery a good thing, and I don't think they have these reenactments with those sentiments in mind. My direct ancestor spent the war far from the front guarding and acting as an orderly in a hospital. No doubt, he saw a lot of horrors for a young boy from a poor family. He was neither hero nor coward, neither patriot nor traitor. He just was. He lived his life as best he could, I am sure. While not forgetting the lessons of the past nor excusing its abuses, trying to force our viewpoints on a time and culture far different from ours is both useless and dishonest.

slowe

You don't have to fight it anymore! or: You don't have to re-enact it anymore!



What's it to you if a few folks like to dress up and march around and shoot musket blanks? Because: it revises the history. Reenactments tend to be about dress up, and gun play, and glorifying the very male, physical battles - Just like boys like to play soldier and pretend and honor THAT activity. This diverts from the history of what the battles were about, why was there a war to be fought? What are the lessons from the War of Rebellion? It is NOT how to move 19th century troops around the battlefield. It is NOT how to dress for battle or fire a gun. THe value of studying and remembering the history of that war are the issues being fought over: The right of the Confederate state to continue using slaves - they say as much in their declarations and separate state constitutions. The north fought to prevent the division of the Union ( not to end slavery BTW). The battles are trivial in the lessons to be learned. Reenacting them diverts our memory from the real issues to that of play games and dress up: romanticizing the war and forgetting what the real issues were. The descendants of the Confederacy should not be celebrating and honoring the actions of their ancestors, but, should, rather be contrite and a bit embarassed for what they were fighting: the continuance of slavery! That is why it is important and why I oppose these battle reenactments.

Ping

Has your ire made an impact?

Conservative

And I oppose your disgusting gay pride parades.

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