Thursday, May 2, 2013
Chancellorsville, 145th Anniversary Re-enactment, 2008 - A photo essay.
All photos by Julie Raflo. Copyright 2008, 2013.
On May 3rd and 4th, 2008, the 145th anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville was commemorated on the actual ground where the opening engagement had occurred on May 1, 1863. The site had recently become one of battlefield preservation's greatest victories. A coalition of local and national organizations had come together to campaign against a Northern Virginia developer that was seeking a rezoning of the property. The proposed "Town of Chancellorsville" was offering 2,000 homes and 2.2 million square feet of retail and office space on 781 acres along Route 3, the historic Orange Turnpike. The debate became a national concern with a press conference by he Civil War Preservation Trust in July 2002. The collective efforts of the "Chancellorsville Coalition" tirelessly campaigned against the threat. Finally, in March 2003, the rezoning request was denied by the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors.
Five years later, the largess of the Civil War Preservation Trust, in cooperation with the Spotsylvania County Government, and Tricord Homes, permitted the commemorative event seen here, acted out in the very footsteps of the soldiers engaged in 1863. It was a rare opportunity for the reenactment community to hold such an event on the very ground where history happened. Click any of the pictures for larger viewing.
Today, the property is open to visitors as the First Day at Chancellorsville site. An extensive trail system, with detailed interpretive signage, vividly presents the drama of the engagement. Visit the Civil War Trust's animated map of the opening battle by clicking here.