Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park offers special “History at Sunset” programs. These ranger-conducted presentations cover a variety of subjects and provide visitors an opportunity to see sites normally not open, or widely accessible, to the general public. Each program is free and lasts between 90 minutes to two hours. The remaining programs in this year’s series are:
July 28, 7:00 p.m.
Rivers and Valleys: Geology of the Shenandoah
The Shenandoah Valley’s unique geology and geography contributed significantly to its agricultural, social, and military history. Join Ranger Rick Ashbacker for this car caravan tour which will explore many of the physical features and materials that were critical to the development of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove region. Meet at the NPS Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main Street, Middletown, Virginia).
August 18, 7:00 p.m.
“Attention – Company!” Civil War Soldier for an Evening
Have you ever attended a Civil War “living history” event or re-enactment and wondered about all those strange movements, battle formations and commands? Or the details of the various steps in loading and firing a rifled-musket? Join Ranger Jeff Driscoll for a hands-on interactive experience on the basics of Civil War drill. For adults and kids alike! Meet at Belle Grove Plantation Manor House (336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, Virginia).
August 25, 6:00 p.m.
Voices from the Valley: What Soldiers Wrote Home at Cedar Creek
The Northern and Southern soldiers who struggled in the Valley during the fall of 1864 endured countless hardships and danger. Ranger James Horn will examine the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign and the Battle of Cedar Creek through the letters written by the Union and Confederate soldiers at the time. What did they endure? What were they fighting for? How did they perceive this campaign at the time it occurred? These and many other topics are revealed by the letters penned by the soldiers themselves. Meet at the 8th Vermont monument (8739 Valley Pike, Middletown, Virginia).
September 15, 6:00 p.m.
The Bayonet Charge of the 8th Vermont and 12th Connecticut at Third Winchester
One of the most critical moments of the Battle of Third Winchester came during struggle for the Middle Field. Join Ranger Jeff Driscoll has he follows in the footsteps of the 8th Vermont and 12th Connecticut during their famous charge across this field on September 19, 1864. The program will then conclude at the Winchester National Cemetery where many of the soldiers of these two regiments are now buried. Meet at the Sheetz convenience store (1683 Berryville Pike, Winchester, Virginia), before visitors take a short drive to the Middle Field to start the program.
October 13, 4:00 p.m.
“When the conflict is ended mercy again asserts itself.” Treating the wounded at Cedar Creek
The Battle of Cedar Creek left in its wake over 8,600 Americans killed, wounded and captured; the second bloodiest engagement fought in the Shenandoah Valley. Join Ranger James Horn as he examines the treatment of wounded and the general practice of medicine during the Civil War. This special program includes living history demonstrations presented by staff of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and will be held at St. Thomas Chapel, which was used as a hospital by the Union army following the battle. Meet at St. Thomas Chapel (7854 Church Street, Middletown, Virginia).
October 20, 4:00 p.m.
“Close up! On your life!” Tour of the Battle of Fisher’s Hill
Following his defeat at Third Winchester on September 19, 1864, Lt. Gen. Jubal Early ordered his Army of the Valley to fall back to Fisher’s Hill, south of Strasburg. Known as the “Gibraltar of the Valley,” Early felt the hill “was the only position…where a defensive line could be taken….” Three days later, on September 22nd, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan and his Army of the Shenandoah struck again. Join Ranger James Horn as he examines this critical action in the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Meet at Ramseur’s Hill (1864 Battlefield Road, Fisher’s Hill, Virginia). The tour will consist of both moderate walking and a car-caravan tour to various sites across the battlefield.
For more information, check the park website (www.nps.gov/cebe) or call (540) 869-3051.