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.