One hundred fifty years ago during the American Civil War, Southern Virginia was the location of the Wilson-Kautz Raid, which ended with the Battle of Staunton River Bridge on June 25, 1864.
On Saturday and Sunday, June 21-22, Staunton River Battlefield State Park, along with the Historic Staunton River Foundation, will host a special Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the pivotal battle.
Cannons will fire once again at the Commemoration of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge
Visitors will learn about how 296 soldiers and 492 “old men and young boys,” using strategies of terrain and misinformation, held the bridge against 5,500 trained federal cavalry with cannon. The Federal troops failed in their main objective here, which was to destroy the railroad, severing Confederate communications and supply lines. However, the military tactics employed by both sides in the Battle of Staunton River Bridge are still studied by military strategists today.
Commemoration activities are scheduled 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. – dusk on Sunday. Reenactors from the First Division, Army of Northern Virginia will present tactical demonstrations beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, including horses and cannon firing.
Reenactors from a previous Commemoration
The main event will take place at the time of the actual battle, 3:20 p.m. There will be a scripted living history presentation on the actual field where the battle took place.
There will be exhibits of various aspects of Civil War camp life.
Throughout the day both Saturday and Sunday there will be living history demonstrations of the life, music, weapons, and military tactics of the American Civil War.
The park opens to visitors on Saturday at 8 a.m. Camps will open to spectators beginning at 9 a.m. and a ceremony will recognize those who served in the battle here. There will be sutlers, Civil War book signings, and food vendors on site.
Mulberry Hill, the historic home that served as Union headquarters, will be open to the public Noon – 2 p.m. Saturday only. Tours of the home will be hosted by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy with the Union Communication Signal Corps.
There will be a program of Civil War music at 8 p.m. followed by night cannon demonstrations beginning at 9 p.m.
Music was an important aspect of Civil War life.
On Sunday, camps will be open to the public 9 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. At 1 p.m. there will be a scripted demonstration of the battle. The park closes at dusk on Sunday. For a full schedule of activities, click here.
Admission is $12 for Saturday and $8 for Sunday. To purchase tickets in advance click here. Children ages 5 and under are free.
Staunton River Battlefield State Park is in Randolph, Va., within two hours of Richmond, Va., and Roanoke, Va. For more information, contact the park office at 434-454-4312 or visit the Historic Staunton River Foundation website.
Staunton River Battlefield State Park is managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. This park does not have overnight accommodations. However, Staunton River State Park, about 30 minutes away, and Twin Lakes State Park, about 45 minutes away, both offer camping and cabins.
For information or to make reservations, contact the Virginia State Parks Customer Service Center at 800-933-PARK (7275) or click here.