Sunday, June 19, 2011

Reenactment of the Battle of Vienna

This past Saturday I convinced my wife to accompany me to the reenactment of the Battle of Vienna before heading out to dinner.  The Town of Vienna, Historic Vienna, Inc., and the Vienna Sesquicentennial Committee sponsored an entire weekend of living history surrounding the 150th anniversary of the battle, including the capstone reenactment on Saturday evening.  Jim Lewis, well-known local historian and member of the Hunter Mill Defense League, provided the public with an overview of the skirmish and narrated the reenactment, which was coordinated by the 5th Regiment ANV and 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Company G.
Replica locomotive on loan from Strasburg, Virginia.  In a recent post, I examined the Battle of Vienna's key place in railroad history.

Reenactors portraying the 1st Ohio approach Vienna aboard a platform car.  The car was placed on the old railbed of the  Alexandria, Loudoun, & Hampshire R.R., later the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) R.R., and now the W&OD Trail.

The reenactment was held on the grounds of the Vienna Community Center, just off the W&OD Trail near the actual site of the 1861 action. Staging the event this close to the original location brought with it a few incongruities, as suburbia has long since established its presence here.  The Town of Strasburg, Virginia, which had earlier conducted a railroad-themed reenactment of its own, donated the use of a replica Civil War locomotive. Of course, the railroad is no longer there, so the organizers had to use a few men to move a flatbed trailer of some sort, which served as a stand-in for one of the platform cars that carried soldiers of the 1st Ohio. As the Union troops were pushed along the old railroad bed in front of the locomotive, the reenactment began with the earth shattering boom of a Confederate canon.  When I heard a few infants in the audience cry, I knew there was a reason I didn't bring along my twin boys!  The reenactors took some degree of historical license as the skirmish unfolded in front of the spectators.  The "battle" ended in about thirty minutes, with the 1st South Carolina driving the 1st Ohio back in the direction of Alexandria. Overall, the event drew a large crowd, and the town once again did a commendable job in educating the public through living history.

The train "pushes" the platform car carrying the men of the 1st Ohio towards Vienna.

A Confederate artillery crew, representing part of Kemper's Battery, prepares to surprise the Yankees on the rail car.

Soldiers from the 1st Ohio rush from the platform car after taking a hit from the Rebel artillery...

...and form a skirmish line.

The 1st South Carolina drives back the Union skirmishers.

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