Letter: A hearty commemoration, thanks to many

We had a great Civil War event last weekend. The weather was good, with lots of reenactors camping at the Visitors Center. The impressive view from U.S. 211 showed rows of white tents, camp fires, flags, artillery and horses. Lots of kids were “trained” at the Youth Boot Camp. The Saturday parade through Little Washington saw some 60 reenactors portraying Confederate infantry, cavalry and artillery march to the Confederate Monument and through town.

They rendered honors to the 115 Rappahannock soldiers named on the monument who died during 1861-1865 on behalf of the Confederacy, by reading the names, saluting with a “Died on the field of honor, sir,” firing three musket volleys and playing taps. The march also commemorated Gen. Early’s march to Gettysburg in June 1863.

As we did last year, on Friday, the reenactors hosted a Civil War School Day when the fourth- and fifth-grade elementary schoolers, as well as students from Hearthstone School, came by the campsite for a practical education about the Civil War in Rappahannock County.

Many thanks to Sheriff Connie Smith for providing traffic control deputies and two police cruisers for the parade. Thanks to County Administrator John McCarthy and his office for assisting the event administratively. Special appearances by Generals Robert E. Lee (Tex Wells), Stonewall Jackson (Ed Mann) and Jubal Early (Mike Sipes) led the parade. The Sons of the Confederate Veterans Color Guard joined in the parade as well after participating in the Warrenton parade. Carpenter’s Battery provided lots of bang on Saturday at the Visitors Center and joined (a bit more quietly) in the parade.

Ron Maxwell, our own local Hollywood movie director and screenwriter, spoke at the library about his Civil War movies. Danny Hitt and Art Candenquist also spoke about the Civil War in Rappahannock County during the weekend.

On Saturday, music was provided by the Shenandoah Valley Minstrels and the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Era Dancers. On Sunday, we were treated to the bluegrass music of the Shenandoah Travelers of Flint Hill.

On Sunday, McClanahan’s Battery fired on Longstreet’s Corps as part of the skirmish commemorating “Custer’s Almost Last Stand,” where Union guns under Custer were almost surrounded by Confederate infantry. This reenacted battle was a lot of fun with the boys in grey defeating the boys in blue, just as they did 150 years ago. Thanks to Stan Skowranski for again permitting the event to partially take place on his property. Thanks too to John Critzer for clearing and mowing the land for the reenactment.

The following members of the Rappahannock County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee worked hard to make this year’s two-day event a success: Art Candenquist, Sam Foreback, Ron Frazier, Sandra Maskas, Jim Massie, Brian and Tom Taylor, and Dave and Robert Yowell. Sandra also works as the Visitors Center manager and greatly helped during the event. Thanks also to Jim Manwaring of the Lions Club for assisting, and the Williams Tree Service for their donation again this year of firewood for the reenactors. Danny Huff and the wonderful Washington Volunteer Fire Department sold food as they did last year. Public and reenactors alike enjoyed their vittles.

We also thank the Farm Tour folks for assisting with the weekend’s advertising. Last, but not least, many thanks to the staff of the Rappahannock News (Roger Piantadosi, editor, Matt Wingfield, reporter, and Dennis Brack, president) for promoting our event, as did many of the other local papers.

Rudy Segaar
Chair, Rappahannock County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee

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