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Sesquicentennial commemoration set later this month

A sesquicentennial commemoration of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge will be held June 21-22 at Staunton River Battlefield State Park in Randolph. 

Activities from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 21 and 9 a.m. until dusk June 22 are sponsored by the Historic Staunton River Foundation.

One-hundred-fifty years ago during the American Civil War, Southern Virginia was the location of the Wilson-Kautz Raid. The raid ended with the Battle of Staunton River Bridge on June 25, 1864. 

Visitors to the commemoration will hear how less than 500 Confederate soldiers and 492 “old men and young boys” using strategies of terrain and misinformation held the bridge against 5,500 trained federal cavalry with a cannon. 

Reenactors from the First Division Army of Northern Virginia will present tactical demonstrations Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. 

At 3:20 p.m. there will be a scripted living history presentation on the field where the battle took place June 25, 1864.

The park opens to visitors Saturday at 8 a.m. The reenactors’ camps will open to spectators at 9 a.m. Also at 9 a.m., the United Daughters of the Confederacy Halifax Chapter 1321 will present military service awards. At 9:30 there will be a recognition ceremony to honor Confederate and Union battle participants.

Throughout Saturday visitors can see living history demonstrations on various aspects of Civil War life. There also 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 and 2 p.m. Tours of the home will be hosted by the local UDC chapter with the Union Communication Signal Corps.

Saturday continues with a program of Civil War music at 8 p.m. followed by night cannon demonstrations beginning at 9 p.m.

On Sunday camps open to the public 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. At 1 p.m. there will be a scripted demonstration of the battle. The park closes at dusk on Sunday.

Admission is $12 Saturday and $8 Sunday. Tickets may be purchased in advance at http://historicstauntonriverfoundation.org/150th.html. Children ages 5 and under are free.

Staunton River Battlefield State Park is within two hours of Richmond and Roanoke.

For more information, contact the park office at 434-454-4312 or visit the Historic Staunton River Foundation website www.stauntonriverbattlefield.org.

Staunton River Battlefield State Park is one of 36 state parks managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. This park does not have overnight accommodations. Approximately 30 minutes away Staunton River State Park and Twin Lakes State Park, 45 minutes away, offer camping and cabins.

For information or to make reservations, contact the Virginia State Parks Customer Service Center at 800-933-PARK (7275) or visit www.virigniastateparks.gov.

Overnight lodging is also available nearby in South Boston and at area bed and breakfast inns.  

For more information, contact Halifax Tourism at www.gohalifaxva.com or call 434-572-2543.