This is the blog of Paul Gilbert the Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. This blog focuses on news related to NVRPA some of the themes covered include: energy conservation, reducing carbon footprint, strategic planning, organizational culture, living history, reenactments, natural interpretation, waterparks, pools, golf courses, nature centers, boating, camping, hiking, cycling, and much more.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Ball's Bluff Re-enactment Huge Success
October 22, 2011 Ball's Bluff Battlefield Park in Leesburg Virginia saw a conflict between blue and grey clad forces like it had not seen in 150 years. The re-enactment of the 150th anniversary of the battle included 1,000 re-enactors and 2,000 spectators.
Spectators parked at Morven Park and there were able to see living history camps, sutler shops, vintage photography, as well as the Morven Park mansion with an exhibit of Civil War relics many of them from Ball's Bluff.
Spectators were transferred by buses to the battlefield park which is owned and operated by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. Park staff and volunteers managed all the logistics in a seamless manner.
The battle itself took place in the same 12 acre clearing in the woods where the battle in October of 1861 took place. This event is one of the hallmark events of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and quite possibly the best battle re-enactment in recent history. It is the best for the following reasons:
• It took place on the actual battlefield. This is extremely rare since the National Park Service does not allow this and they own most of the major battlefields. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is not bound by those rules, so you had the rare occurrence of a 150th anniversary battle re-enactment taking place on the actual battlefield.
• Because Ball's Bluff took place in a relatively small clearing in the woods, you have a very intimate setting for a battle re-enactment. Since many Civil War battles took place on vast open fields, it can be hard for spectators to get a good feel for what took place, while looking through binoculars at units in the distance. At Ball's Bluff all the action took place just a matter of tens of yards in front of the spectators.
• All the considerable logistics of transporting 3,000 people from one site to another, and having everything work smoothly went off with great precision.
In addition to the re-enactment and the other attractions mentioned, on Sunday a delegation from Oregon presented a resolution passed by the Oregon State Legislature recognizing Senator Edward Baker who was killed in this battle. That evening there was an illumination commemorating the fallen in this battle.
It was a spectacular weekend of events commemorating one of the important early battles in the American Civil War.