One hundred and fifty years—to the day—after the USS Yankee traded shots with members of the Richmond Howitzers stationed at Gloucester Point, the Gloucester County Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee will relive this event with "The First Shot in Virginia," a day of reenactments, demonstrations, lectures and exhibits.
"The First Shot in Virginia" will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, at the Gloucester Point Beach Park. On May 7, 1861, the first military engagement between Union and Confederate forces in present-day Virginia took place at roughly the same location (see related story).
The highlight of the day’s events will be the two scheduled reenactments of the water battery repelling the USS Yankee. About 50 reenactors from the 56th and 26th Virginia, as well as various artillery groups and several cannon, will take part in the firings, with the Schooner Alliance playing the part of the USS Yankee.
The tall ship will slip out of its dock at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown for the engagements, which are tentatively scheduled for 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., depending on tide and water conditions.
"They’re going to exchange artillery fire … using blanks, of course," said Civil War committee member Warren Deal, who is helping to organize the day’s events. "It ought to be pretty spectacular."