Battle sounds to echo
For those interested in military history there's much activity about the region. The roar of the cannon and clash of battle will be heard in the Shenandoah Valley next weekend as soldiers uniformed in blue and gray re-enact the Battle of Cedar Creek near Middletown, Va. The battle, on Oct. 19, 1864, was an attempt by the Confederates to gain control of the Shenandoah Valley. It ended in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War and a victory for Gen. Philip Sheridan's Union forces. The battle determined the fate of the Confederacy.
About 2,000 re-enactors will take part in the living history weekend, participating in dress parades, infantry drills, and cavalry and medical corps demonstrations. Union and Confederate camps will open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday on the grounds of Belle Grove Plantation, an 18th century working plantation situated in the midst of the battlefield. Belle Grove was used as General Sheridan's headquarters during the battle. Inside the mansion, costumed members of the Frederick Ladies Relief Society will be stationed in each room to give first-person impressions of life in the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War.
The battle re-enactment is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 )) p.m. Sunday.
A $5 admission charge includes the re-enactment, entrance to Belle Grove Plantation and parking. There is no charge for children 6 and under. Cedar Creek Battlefield is one of the best-preserved Civil War battle sites in the country, but today it is threatened by industrial development. Belle Grove Plantation is on U.S. Route 11, one mile south of Middletown. For information, call (703) 869-2064.
Battle of Leesburg
Step back in time 200 years and see the Revolutionary War come to life at Ida Lee Park near Leesburg, Va., Saturday and next Sunday.
The living history program commemorates the 211th anniversary the American victory at Yorktown, Va. This Battle of Leesburg involves more than 140 authentically uniformed and equipped units from all over the country, with the First Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line acting as host unit. Camps will be open both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can see drilling, guard duty, a court martial, medical care and cooking demonstrations. At 1 p.m. Saturday there will be a grand parade through Leesburg's historic district, and battle re-enactments will take place at 2 p.m. both days.
Saturday evening at dusk the sky will be lit with a barrage of cannon fire. There will be entertainment by bagpipes and drums, followed by an auction and 18th century dance.
Admission is free. The park is on U.S. Route 15 just north of Leesburg. Call (703) 777-1262.
While in the area you might check out the 13th annual Needlework Exhibition at Oatlands Plantation. The exhibition opens Friday and will continue through Oct. 25.
Hundreds of needlework items will be on display along with linens from the Eustis family, who lived at the plantation from the early to mid-1900s.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for ages 12 to 18 and senior citizens; free for those under 12. The plantation is on U.S. Route 15, six miles south of Leesburg. For information, call (703) 777-3174.
Kent Island Days
The life and times of the 18th century will be re-created Saturday and next Sunday during Kent Island Days in Stevensville from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A period military encampment will be set up on the grounds of Cray House on Cockey's Lane. You'll meet minstrels, storytellers, blacksmiths, gunsmiths and candle makers and see cooking demonstrations and period craft demonstrations.
Admission is free. For information, call (410) 643-7770.
Grand Militia Muster
Historic St. Mary's City will be crowded with 17th century militia men next weekend as re-enactment units from the East Coast gather there for the Grand Militia Muster from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday.
St. Maries Citty Militia will act as host for the gathering, which includes units of the English Civil War Society and the James Fort Militia from Jamestown, Va. The units will each set up camp in the fields around the old State House and compete with other groups in pike and musket drill, swordplay, camp cooking and historic costuming.
All the attractions of Historic St. Mary's City Museum are included in the general admission price of $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, $2 for ages 6 to 12. For information, call (301) 862-0990.