Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Famous Military Units to Reunite on Fredericksburg Battlefield

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

At the Roanoke airport, World War II veterans of the 29th Infantry Division greet soldiers of the Virginia National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry, returning home from duty in Iraq. (COTTON PURYEAR/VIRGINA DEPARTMENT OF MILITARY AFFAIRS)

from Donald Pfanz, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park:

FREDERICKSBURG —Regiments that once confronted each other on the field of battle will soon meet again in camaraderie. On Sunday, Dec. 9, soldiers of the 116th Virginia and 69th New York infantry regiments–two modern National Guard units–will join the National Park Service to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg.

At 1 p.m., the National Park Service will mark the anniversary with a procession from the Rappahannock River to Marye’s Heights, following the 69th New York’s route of advance.

The procession will end with a program along the historic Sunken Road featuring music, readings, living historians, and reflections on the events of 150 years ago.

NATIONAL TRAINING CENTER, FORT IRWIN, Calif. – Col. Jeffrey Slack, former commander of the New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment, meets with 69th Infantry Regiment Civil War re-enactors at Fort Irwin, Calif. Company A of the 69th New York will take part in Sunday’s Culminating Event for the Battle of Fredericksburg’s 150th anniversary (SPC. JAMES ROA/N.Y. ARMY NATIONAL GUARD)

The 69th New York was one of five regiments that fought with the Irish Brigade, a unit composed largely of Irish immigrants. On Dec. 13, 1862, the regiment joined dozens of other Union regiments in attacking Marye’s Heights, losing 128 men, including each of its officers.

The 116th Virginia is a descendant of the celebrated Stonewall Brigade, which fought at Prospect Hill on the southern end of the Fredericksburg Bbattlefield.

Originally led by Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson, the brigade and its commander gained their famous nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), when they were said to have stood “like a stone wall” against Union attacks.

For additional information about the procession and other 150th anniversary events, go to the National Park Service website at