Civil War Reenactors Targeted with Pipe Bomb

“We're historians. We're not hate groups.”

The FBI has launched an investigation to find who placed a “suspicious item” at a Civil War reenactment field in Middletown, Virginia over the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, at the annual reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek — a Union victory that occurred on October 19, 1864 — what looked like a pipe bomb to reenactors was discovered at the Cedar Creek battlefield. The FBI said that no one was hurt and that the device “was rendered safe by the Virginia State Police.” However, the FBI wouldn’t elaborate on the device, a spokesperson said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Virginia State Police, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, and the Middletown Police Department are all helping with the investigation.

There was a threat leveled against the reenactors on the Wednesday before and the group sent out a message warning spectators to keep a watchful eye:

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. With this in mind security has been increased and we ask that everyone work with us for a safe and enjoyable event.

When the explosive device was found, officers cleared the entire field and set up a safe zone. The normally peaceful, family-friendly event for a historic battle credited in securing Abraham Lincoln a second term was left spoiled by someone, or an outside group, that is taking the anti-confederate statue lunacy to a whole new level.

One of the actors standing in as a Union soldier spoke out about entering this new “dark chapter” for Civil War reenactment.

"I think our hobby is being associated with issues we're having with the confederate monuments and confederate flags and the reality is we're historians. We're not hate group(s),” Keith MacGregor said.

MacGregor, who has been doing this for 20 years, said he was brought to tears on Sunday when his group met on the battlefield and chanted, "USA," to send a message to those wishing them harm.

"It was a very emotional, patriotic moment, and one of the most moving moments I've ever participated in, in my entire life,” he said.

The FBI has asked for help in finding who planted the device and if anyone has any information that could help lead to an arrest.



Photo credit: m01229 via / CC BY