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Fredericksburg 150th: Artillery, Bells, Silence Shape Procession

Sunday's program will include the explosion of 200 shells in two minutes.

By Donald Pfanz, National Park Service

The culminating afternoon of the Fredericksburg Battle Anniversary weekend will begin with a procession through town, starting at Riverfront Park at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The procession will be shaped largely by sound, including hundreds of explosions simulating artillery fire.  Residents should not be alarmed when they hear the explosions. 

The exploding fireworks shells will symbolize the bombardment of Fredericksburg and the ordeal of the town’s residents as on Dec. 11, 1862, as many as 100 shells a minute exploded over the town. The program on December 9 will include the explosion of 200 shells in two minutes.   

As the procession moves from Riverfront Park to Hurkamp Park, the town’s church bells will toll in remembrance of those who fell at Fredericksburg.

At Hurkamp Park, drums will take over, leading the procession to Maury Stadium, 625 George St., where a volley by a large contingent of re-enactors will commence the final approach to the Sunken Road.  That part of the procession will be conducted in silence.

Participants will have the opportunity to bear a single flower along the way, in honor of a known or unknown soldier who fell.  At the Sunken Road, participants will be invited to step forth and place their flower as an act of remembrance. 

The procession will proceed to the Sunken Road for a final program of honor, words, and music.   A second round of explosions followed by a 21-gun salute fired by a modern 105-mm howitzer battery will bring the day’s activities to a close.  

For times, updates, and additional details about the events mentioned above, visit the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park Virginia website.

Visit Battle of Fredericksburg 150th for Fredericksburg Patch's assemblage of information about and coverage of the week's events.

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