TODAY'S NEWS

Union, Confederate armies to clash Saturday on East Main Street

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — Townspeople are invited to line East Main Street Saturday afternoon to watch Union and Confederate soldiers square off.

The second re-enactment of the May 23, 1863, Battle of Front Royal is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Warren County Courthouse.

The soldiers will proceed down Main Street, turn up Chester Street and finish at the Warren Heritage Society. With buildings on each side of the road, Main Street will act as an echo chamber for the gun shots, Warren Heritage Society Director Patrick Farris said. The re-enactment will provide a taste of what it was like to be in Front Royal when the battle occurred.††

"With the re-enactors moving down the street and firing, it creates a very loud sound and the smell of gun smoke is all around you," Farris said.

On-lookers are asked to remain on the sidewalk as the re-enactment occurs, Farris said.

Anyone who enjoyed last yearís re-enactment will enjoy Saturday more, Farris said. About 120 infantrymen re-enactors are registered to participate compared to last yearís 40.Two artillery units have also been added to this yearís event.

Before and after the battle, people can learn about can learn about Civil War-era artillery at cannon stations near the gazebo and courthouse.

"If youíre interested in local history, if youíre interested in the impact of the war on the community, then this is the event for you," Farris said.

In addition to being educational, Farris stressed the weekend will be a commemorative event honoring soldiers who lost lives.

"This is a commemorative activity which stresses education. We're not celebrating anything. The Civil War was horrible — the Civil War was bad, but it was the most significant event in Warren County in the 1800s," Farris said.

The war wreaked havoc on Warren County infrastructure. By its end, the bridges, most public buildings and roads were ruined, Farris said. The war also depleted the countyís population by about 20 percent, Farris said. That decline included deaths, slaves fleeing north and whites leaving due to a poor economy.

Besides Saturdayís re-enactment, activities are scheduled throughout Saturday and Sunday.

The public will be able to interact with re-enactors at camps at the Warren Heritage Society and the Bel Air Mansionís pasture.

"Those re-enactors will be happy to share all of their knowledge, all of their experience, show their tents, show their equipment, show their weaponry," Farris said. "That's kind of a gold mind."

Continuing the commemorative theme, members from Union and Confederate armies will march 1 p.m. Sunday from the Warren Heritage Society to the Courthouse and lay a reef honoring soldiers who died in the war.

The museums will be open without entry charges and there will be music performances throughout the
weekend.

Other events include music, marches and a church service.

For a full schedule, visit https://frontroyalva.com/Calendar.aspx.



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