The Close Out at Belle Grove Cedar Creek
The 2nd Weekend of October is always a bittersweet one. It is our last battle reenactment for the season. Once finished, we are storing our equipment and gear for the winter, looking forward to the next season. But..... Cedar Creek is also one of the unit's absolute favorite events of the entire year. For SO many reasons.
1) THE LOCATION: right in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, basically the home turf of the Army of Northern Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley in the fall delivers breathtaking beauty. Changing colors of the foliage, nestled in the hills. The sunsets caress the camps with a magic light. Closer to the beauty of creation. 2) The size of the event. Cedar Creek has developed into the biggest event in the mid-atlantic theater, apart from the decade events in Gettysburg. Its location draws units and reenactors from as far as upstate New York and Ohio, all the way down to South Carolina. Not is it fun to meet fellow reenactors from other parts of the country, it also guarantees BIG battles, that deliver an impressive display for all the very numerous visitors who come to see the battles (two, on Saturday and Sunday!) 3) The beauty and exceptional layout of the battlefield. Its remarkable topographic layout around the Belle Grove mansion with the two armies starting out on hills on each side, and meeting down around the mansion gives visitors a perfect view like nowhere else. Attendees literally see everything, with nothing obstructing the view of the fierce action! This video lets you see the battle through the eyes of an infantryman:
4) The mercantile! Nowhere else do we see similar numbers of sutlers, traders, and merchants. The reason for this is that for many sutlers, this too is the last event of the season. And many are willing to "cut a deal" to close out the year. The "Sutler Row" is a delight, not only for reenactors but for every visitor and Civil War enthusiast! You might find some very surprising and interesting items that are fun to possess, even as a civilian. Decorative period memorabilia a-go-go! 5) Middletown flag-and-paper-lantern-tradition: the residents along main street flag their homes with many era-specific flags from both north and south and place paper lanterns with the flags. As night falls over the town, the main street is magically illuminated by those lanterns, what a beautiful sight! And this year the Cedar Creek Battle Field Foundation has added a NEW EVENT: they offer a CANDLELIGHT TOUR THROUGH THE CAMPS AT NIGHT! Stroll through the period-correct camps at night, watch the reenactors sit around the fires, how they cook, and have a conversation with the folks in blue and gray, maybe you hear a mandoline, fiddle, guitar, or banjo, playing a melody into the nightly sky under the stars I could go on with the reasons why Cedar Creek is fantastic! But hey, why don't you find out for yourself? Come down and visit us! You will love it! All event and ticket info to be found here: https://ccbf.us/reenactment-information/
Historical info and background of the battle at Cedar Creek: