Re-enactors to portray 1864 battles

Civil War: The theme of 'Grant vs. Lee' will highlight a series of battle re-enactments at Brandy Station, Va., starting with the Wilderness and ending with Cold Harbor.

June 13, 1999|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Thousands of Civil War re-enactors will gather at Brandy Station, Va., next weekend to commemorate the 135th anniversary of the 1864 Virginia campaign, which marked the beginning of the end for the Confederacy -- the point at which Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant took command of all the Union forces and determined to crush the South by destroying its armies, especially the Army of Northern Virginia under Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The re-enactment features a "Grant vs. Lee" theme and includes portrayals of the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Yellow Tavern, Todd's Tavern, Laurel Hill and Cold Harbor.

Organizers are expecting between 8,000 and 12,000 participants, which would make the event the largest re-enactment ever in Virginia.

Don Warlick, a re-enactor for 10 years, is organizing the event. "The land that we're on is very significant in the history of the Civil War," said Warlick. "To the re-enactor, it's a real treat to be on this authentic land. And for the historians, they will have a good opportunity to see this 1864 scene put into a picture frame."

Much emphasis will be placed on trench battles -- such as Spotsylvania -- a style of warfare that foreshadowed tactics employed during World War I. The Spotsylvania portion of the weekend will be the Bloody Angle and battle re-enactment on Saturday morning.

"One of the things that makes the Civil War important is that the technology was improving faster than the tactics were," Warlick said. Re-enactors will be digging "extensive entrenchments" at Brandy Station, especially at the Bloody Angle and the Battle of Cold Harbor. "We're going to work real hard to keep this real clean, meaning free of modern intrusions," Warlick said.

The re-enactment at Brandy Station

* Dates: June 18, 19 and 20.

* Place: Brandy Station, Va.

* Scenarios: Wilderness, Yellow Tavern, Spotsylvania, Laurel Hill, Todd's Tavern, Cold Harbor.

* Admission: Adults will be charged $12 a day at the gate, children 6-12, $5 a day; children younger than 6 are admitted free. Until June 14, advance ticket prices for adults are: one day, $10; two days, $18; three days, $24. For advance ticket sales, add $2 handling per order. To order advance tickets (by credit card only), call toll-free 1-888-696-3340.

* Web site:

* Information hot line: 1-908-903-1064.

* Schedule:

June 18:

11 a.m.: Gates open.

Noon: Opening ceremonies and parade

3 p.m.: Cavalry battle of Yellow Tavern.

5:30 p.m.: Battle of Saunders Field in Wilderness.

June 19:

5 a.m.: Gates open

6 a.m.: Fight for Mule Shoe at Spotsylvania.

10 a.m.: Cavalry tactics and demonstration.

12:30 p.m.: Battalion drill and demonstration.

3 p.m.: Battle of Laurel Hill.

6 p.m. Blue vs. Gray horse race elimination.

9 p.m.: Candlelight tours.

June 20:

8 a.m.: Gates open; Blue vs. Gray horse race finals.

9 a.m.: Worship services.

10:30 a.m.: Cavalry battle of Todd's Tavern.

1:30 p.m.: Assault at Cold Harbor.

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