National Park Service announces Shenandoah Valley history programs

ShenandoahLogo_Outlined_Black_VerticalCedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and its partners will offer a series of special National Park Service ranger programs and other events this August to highlight various stories related to the history of the Shenandoah Valley.

“These programs will give visitors a chance to explore important events of the Valley,” said Eric Campbell, the park’s chief of interpretation. “We will cover a numerous subjects and offer a wide variety of events, including  a Star Gazing Party, special programs for Civil War Weekend, programs on critical moments of the Battle of Cedar Creek and a celebration of the National Park Service’s 100thBirthday.”

These special presentations include both the popular “History at Sunset” programs and also the new “Battlefield Series” programs.  All of these programs are free and last between 90 minutes to two hours.

* August 19-21  Civil War Weekend   A series of special events and programs at historic and Civil War related sites in Frederick, Shenandoah and Clarke counties, including Winchester.  Activities typically include special tours, children’s activities, book signings, living history demonstrations, and more.  For more information and a complete schedule of events see: or or call: (877) 871-1326.

* August 19 —History at Sunset: “Attention – Company!”  Civil War Soldier for an Evening (7:00) 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, VA).

* August 20“I will guarantee that my line will stand” Ramseur’s Attack Against Hayes and Kitching(9:00 am)

Join Ranger Jeff Driscoll as he explores the attack of Maj. Gen. Stephen D. Ramseur’s Division on the Union line held by Col. (and future President) Rutherford B. Hayes and Col. J. Howard Kitching’s troops.  Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main Street, Middletown, VA).

* August 20National Regiment Living History Encampment and Firing Demonstrations  (10:00–5:00)  Members of the National Regiment will set up an encampment and discuss the life of the common Civil War soldier.  Firing demonstrations at 11:30 am, 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.  Meet at the 8th Vermont Monument.  Parking is located at the Claytor Farm parking area (2262 Claven Lane, Middletown, VA).  The location will be marked by NPS signage.

* August 25—National Park Service Centennial Celebration (9:00–4:30).  Stop by the Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main Street, Middletown, VA) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with cake and light refreshments.  Free.

* August 27—Belle Grove Wine Festival (11:00 – 6:00) An annual favorite at Belle Grove that will feature tastings of regional vineyards, music, chef demonstrations, vendors, and more. Fee. For more information call(540) 869-2028.

* August 27Battlefield Series: “Don’t run until the Vermonters do!”  The Vermont Brigade at Cedar Creek  (2:00)One of the most well-known units to fight at Cedar Creek was the Vermont Brigade, which saw action both during the critical morning defensive stand on Cemetery Hill, and also during the Union counterattack in the afternoon.  Join Park Ranger Jeff Driscoll as he explains the role of these soldiers from the Green Mountain State.  Meet at the Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main Street, Middletown). Visitors will then car caravan to various locations on the battlefield.

For details and updates, call (540) 869-3051 or see: