FBI investigates threat of 'bodily harm' at Va. Civil War reenactment

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FREDERICK COUNTY, VA - It’s a pastoral field where the dust settled from war nearly 153 years ago. In the years since, families have congregated among the farms and fields of Cedar Creek, where an annual reenactment of the October battle has proceeded uninterrupted for 26 years.

But for the first time, a letter threatened harm to the participants and spectators, a threat now investigated by the FBI and Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

“We would like to make everyone aware that the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has received a letter threatening bodily harm to attendants of this event,” reads a note posted on the foundation’s website. “With this in mind security has been increased and we ask that everyone work with us for a safe and enjoyable event”

The letter arrived three weeks ago, with local and federal law enforcement officials now working to determine if the threat was politically motivated. No arrests have been made.

“The reenactment is a family event with no political ideology,” said Joe D’Arezzo, president of the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation. “We strive to educate all Americans about our shared history and the great costs to bring freedom to all of those Americans.”

A spokesperson from the FBI field office in Richmond confirmed the Bureau’s assistance Wednesday, but could not comment on the findings or efforts to trace the letter back to its sender.

Authorities stressed the concern over the threat was low enough to continue with Saturday’s events.

The reenactment portrays the events of the Battle of Cedar Creek, which began as a surprise attack by Confederate troops and ultimately ended in Union victory.

The October 19, 1864 battle gave President Abraham Lincoln the momentum to win a second term twenty days later.