Reenactment of Battle of Staunton River Bridge Honors 'Old Men and Young Boys'
Randolph, VA - This year marks the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, and this weekend, one state park on the Southside is attracting thousands of visitors as they commemorate that.
Staunton River Battlefield State Park in Randolph is marking the sesquicentennial of the Battle at Staunton River Bridge. This is a pretty big deal for them.
The Battle at Staunton River Bridge is the only Civil War battle fought in Halifax County. Locals wanted to commemorate that by bringing that battle back to life again and honoring those who fought.
For the thousands of visitors that stepped foot onto Staunton River Battlefield State Park, they stepped back in time, all the way to 1864.
For one weekend, the park transformed into the American Civil War Era. It was the site of the Battle of Staunton River Bridge.
"What we try to show people is a little more of the reality of it and try to keep that historical accuracy alive," said Paul Smith, the event coordinator.
The history dates back 150 years ago when General Grant sent the Union Calvary to destroy vital Southside railroad lines, cutting General Lee off from his supplies.
"Knowing that the Union Calvary was coming this way, local Confederate troops, old men, young boys, citizens of this area all, got together," said Chris Calkins, park manager at Sailor's Creek Battlefield State Park.
Around 1,000 of them rallied together. Under Captain Benjamin Farinholt, they held up a fort and positioned themselves, north and south of Staunton River and stopped the Union soldiers from burning Staunton River Bridge, which also ran across those railroad lines.
"What's historically significant about this is the old men and young boys thing, because what they did, they recruited all the guys from 50 on up to 70. Some of those guys were as young as 14," Smith said.
Organizers said without those brave volunteers, the outcome could have been different. That's why 150 years later they still honor their brave ancestors that kept this bridge standing.
The park also held a military service awards ceremony. On Saturday evening they had a Civil War music program followed by night cannon demonstrations.
The commemoration continues to Sunday with scripted demonstrations of the battle.