Civil War battle re-enactment steps up security after threats

WASHINGTON — Organizers of this weekend’s historic re-enactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek near Winchester, Virginia, say they’ve received a written threat, but the show will go on.

“We are upping security and we are working very closely with law enforcement to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable weekend,” said Joe D’Arezzo, president of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation.

The message on the group’s website says in part, “We would like to make everyone aware that the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has received a letter threatening bodily harm to attendants of this event.”

The foundation declined to provide any further details about the threat.

The Saturday and Sunday event draws plenty of families and others who are interested in Civil War history and the 1864 battle — a Union victory which helped seal the fate of the Confederacy.

The event features re-enactors dressed in the uniforms of Federal and Confederate troops. There are tours of the re-enactors’ camps, music, period dancing and talks by Civil War historians.

“People see a little bit more than just books and maps. They get to see something in real life, people have always been drawn to that,” D’Arezzo said, “It’s just a great opportunity to learn and to see what the past might have looked like a little bit.”

The October 9, 1864 Battle of Cedar Creek was a triumph for Union General Philip Sheridan over Confederate General Jubal Early. According to the Civil War Trust, nearly 53,000 Union and Confederate troops clashed at Cedar Creek in Middletown, Virginia, and the battle produced more than 8,800 casualties.

The Union victory also helped ensure President Abraham Lincoln’s re-election a month a later.

The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation relies on the annual re-enactment to raise funds, which are used to preserve historic land in the Shenandoah Valley.


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