Wishing For An Awesome 150th Cedar Creek Event in 2014~
On October 19, 1864, Confederate Lt. General Jubal Early and Union Major General Philip Sheridan met in a decisive battle, the final major battle of the Shenandoah Valley. General Early’s defeat hastened the end of the war. The 149th Anniversary of this significant battle has past into history. Next year, the 150th deserves attention.
It is believed that Sheridan’s victory at Cedar Creek help to ensure the reelection of Lincoln in the 1864 elections. The reenactments that commemorate Cedar Creek take place on the actual battlefield thanks to the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, which has succeeded in acquiring 308 acres of battlefield land since 1988. The battlefield land acquired is adjacent to the beautiful, historic Belle Grove Plantation. The house situated at Belle Grove was erected in 1797 and is an amazing example of country houses of the period. Belle Grove was an integral part of the battlefield.
Over the last several years the Cedar Creek reenactment has evolved into what many in the reenacting community have deemed an event peopled with re-enactors who have little interest in authentic representations of soldiers and civilians of the period. Those committed to authenticity have stopped attending. But this, in my humble opinion, is wrong.
Those of us who are committed to historic preservation & authenticity have a responsibility to participate and educate those who are less dedicated or less advanced in an impression. And it is even more critical when there is a non-profit organization with the focus on historic preservation to assist with that mission. That may mean that living historians make the decision to put the need for battlefield preservation ahead of an abhorrence of a mainstream environment. But if the ultimate goal is to preserve our heritage, we must all pull together. And what better opportunity than the upcoming 150th commemoration?
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