- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2001

A re-enactment of the Battle of First Manassas begins today at noon on the 2,000-acre Locust Hill Farm in Leesburg, Va., near the site where Confederate and Union armies fought more than a century ago.
For the next three days, nearly 30,000 participants and spectators are expected to travel to the lush, green landscape for the 140th anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of First Manassas, the first battle of the Civil War following the secession of the South. Locust Hill Farm, owned by the Wright family, is not the historic site. The battle took place at what is now the Manassas National Battlefield, 10 miles from the re-enactment site.
Event coordinator Dean Regan, an associate publisher for Primedia, said traffic patterns are likely to be affected because Leesburg only has two main roads — Route 15, a two-lane road running south from Frederick, Md., and Route 7.
He said the plan is to have as many cars as possible line up along Tutt Lane, which leads to the field. Virginia State Police will help handle the extra traffic, which most likely will start in the morning. Free parking at the site will keep traffic moving, Mr. Regan said.
Admission will be paid at a registration booth located to the left of the battlefield toward the rear. The cost is $15 for adults, $7.50 for children and free for children younger than 6. Vendors near the entrance, just right of Tutt Lane, will be selling food, beverages and battle memorabilia.
"We expect that about 10,000 re-enactors will show, and about 20,000 to 25,000 spectators to come in from all over the world," said Primedia Editorial Director Roger Vance. Primedia is a special-interest publication company with headquarters in Leesburg that is sponsoring the event.
"Our magazines are our first line of marketing to get in touch with the re-enactment community," Mr. Vance said.
Attracting the 10,000 re-enactors, who are loosely organized throughout the country, wasn't difficult for Mr. Regan. "We started a year in advance to get the word out, and because this is our third event, we have a small contingent of re-enactors we have worked with who come out for us," he said.
"We've got people from as far as Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe and some from right down the road coming."
Mr. Regan said the Civil War is the most compelling in American history because it pitted brother against brother and used battle tactics from European generals such as Napoleon.
Primedia Editor Dana B. Shoaf, chief historian on site, explained how the Confederates stole victory from the Union Army in the battle, which began on the morning of July 21, 1861: "The Union army intended to outflank the Confederates and the North was winning all morning, pushing the Confederate armies up the base of Henry Hill," he said.
"But then they just stopped."
Whether it was the inexperience or overconfidence of the Union Army, Mr. Shoaf said, "the momentary lull in advancement allowed the Confederates to regroup and reinforce their positions, charging downhill and driving the Union soldiers off the battlefield."
"This Union defeat opened the gates for the Confederates to control the war, a hold that was not broken until two years after the war began."
Re-enactor Charles Clark, 55, formerly of Enid, Okla., and now living in North Carolina, has been participating in at least 10 re-enactments a year since 1974.
"I got into it when I moved to North Carolina and saw all of the Civil War markers, which we didn't have in Enid, and I haven't stopped since," he said.

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