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Civil War Raid Comes to Downtown

March 17 marks 150 years since Mosby’s raid of Herndon.

A Confederate re-enactor fires at Union soldiers during the 2001 re-enactment of Capt. John Mosby’s raid on Herndon. The town will host another re-enactment of the event Saturday, March 17 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

A Confederate re-enactor fires at Union soldiers during the 2001 re-enactment of Capt. John Mosby’s raid on Herndon. The town will host another re-enactment of the event Saturday, March 17 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Photo Contributed

On St. Patrick’s day 150 years ago, Union soldiers from the First Vermont Cavalry were at the Town of Herndon depot and sawmill. They were expecting a group of reinforcements, but instead Confederate Capt. John Mosby and his unit arrived on a raid, sparking a brief skirmish.

Civil War Exhibit Open

Herndon ArtSpace’s “Beyond the Blue and Grey: The Virginia Home Front” exhibit will be open until Sunday, April 7. It focuses on the aspects of Virginia that reflect life as a Virginian from 1830 to 1880, including the build-up and aftermath of the Civil War.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held Saturday, March 2, from 7 to 9 p.m., which will feature a performance by the Towne Square Singers of Civil War-era songs.

On Sunday, March 17, the Herndon Historical Society and the Herndon Chamber of Commerce will present a re-enactment of that raid, featuring 50 cavalry members in Herndon’s downtown.

“The highlight of any cavalry raid is always when the cavalry makes their charge and just blasts away,” said Chuck Mauro, a local historian and re-enactor coordinator.

The skirmish has been re-enacted several times in Herndon before, in 1991, 2001 and 2003, but this year’s will have the most participants, members of the Black Horse Cavalry, a local group.

This year’s event will also feature two re-enactments, one at 11 p.m. and one at 2 p.m. The re-enactors themselves will be around telling their stories and speaking to audience members from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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The cavalry leads a charge during a re-enactment of Capt. John Mosby’s raid on the Town of Herndon. The town will host another re-enactment Sunday, March 17 downtown, which is the 150th anniversary of Mosby’s raid.

“We tried to make this year’s events as in-depth as they’ve ever been,” Mauro said. “We’ll have an announcer narrating the battle from the second floor of the Green Lizard Cycling building, and we’ve got handouts with the remarks on them that we’ll be passing out so people can really follow along and know what they’re seeing.”

The raid will take place on Lynn Street near the Herndon Depot. Mauro said the best views will be the grassy area between Elden Street and Depot Street.

Nearby Herndon ArtSpace will be open, presenting their current exhibit, “Beyond the Blue and Grey: The Virginia Homefront” and selling books and videos about the Civil War.

“A Tour Guide and History of Col. John S. Mosby’s Combat Operations in Fairfax, Virginia,” the newest book by Mauro and Don Hakenson, will be one such book for sale. It details more than 60 sites around Fairfax County that Mosby was involved in.

More information about the raid and the re-enactment can be found at www.herndonhistoricalsociety.org.