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Irish to have role in 'battle' events page 2
Irish dignitaries, descendant units of three Civil War regiments will star in Battle of Fredericksburg's 150th this weekend

 Re-enactors will use two pontoon boats and a U.S. Army floating bridge to cross the Rappahannock River.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 12/7/2012

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At 3 p.m., a representative from the Irish Embassy in Washington and the vice mayor of Kerry, Ireland, will take part in the culminating ceremony at the Stone Wall. That's when townsfolk will hear a salute from Virginia Army National Guard artillery atop Willis Hill, about where Confederate artillerist E. Porter Alexander placed his guns during the battle.

MILITARY HERITAGE

Also certain to be moving will be the presence of the descendant units of Union and Confederate regiments who fought here.

The 75-man contingent from the 69th Regiment, New York National Guard, will retrace soldiers' footsteps, carrying the battalion's battle flag. They'll advance with re-enactors and veterans of the 69th who are traveling here simply to convey honor to those who came before them. The regiment is directly descended from the 69th New York of the Irish Brigade.

The New Yorkers will link up with former Confederate foes, soldiers of the 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Virginia Army National Guard. The unit is a legacy of the Army of Northern Virginia's Stonewall Jackson Brigade.

The two groups will join at the Sunken Road alongside soldiers' descendants for music, reflection and a salute to their service in 1862.

RIVER CROSSING

Equally vital in the sesquicentennial is the work of the Virginia National Guard's 189th Engineer Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, which will bring the latest in military mobile bridging technology to support Civil War re-enactors.

Today, the soldiers--in boats--will position 26-foot-wide bridge sections near City Dock, with final assembly early Saturday.

"This is a great training opportunity for the 189th to be able to assemble the bridge on a flowing river," said 1st Lt. Marianne E. Heldmann, the unit's commander. "This mission also requires coordination with multiple civilian agencies, which is what we do when we are on state active duty."

At 10 a.m. Saturday, cannons will echo over Ferry Farm, signaling the start of "Fire on the Rappahannock" fighting that ends about 4 p.m. at Trench Hill.

At 11 a.m., 600 Union re-enactors will cross the river in pontoon boats and on the National Guard's floating bridge, and battle their way up Rocky Lane and Lower Caroline and Sophia streets toward Riverfront Park.


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CULMINATION

3 p.m. Sunday at Sunken Road: Music, words and respect for sacrifices at Fredericksburg

PROCESSION

1 p.m. Sunday at Riverfront Park: Trace soldiers' footsteps

PONTOONS, BATTLES

10 & 11 a.m., 3 p.m. Saturday: 'Fire on the Rappahannock'

TOURS AND TALKS

Park Service rangers inform, guide visitors at Sunken Road, Slaughter Pen, Prospect Hill, in churches, on city streets

ARMIES' CAMPS

Hundreds of re-enactors at Ferry Farm and Slaughter Pen Farm

CANDLELIGHT TOUR

HFFI.org spotlights Braehead, Brompton, Civil War sites

NEXT WEEK

'Real-time' NPS tours Dec. 11-13 and Dec. 15; historians' battlefield preservation banquet Dec. 13

Program: tinyurl.com/frd150

Fire on the Rappahannock: fredericksburg150.org

Tourism: visitfred.com

National Park on Facebook: bit.ly/fbfred

News coverage: bit.ly/fred150