Occoquan Looks Back on Civil War History

Brady's Michigan Sharpshooters staged a reenactment of a Civil War skirmish near the town of Occoquan.


At a little after 11:30 a.m. this morning, Brady's Michigan Sharpshooters reenacted a skirmish that happened on Feb. 3, 1862, in Occoquan. 

"About 125 years ago, a patrol of two companies of Federal troops came and decided to check out Occoquan. They saw some people drilling in the town square and they started shooting," Captain Michael A. Shaffner of Brady's Michigan Sharpshooters said. He played a private in today's reenactment.

Confederate soliders shot back, he continued. After awhile, the Union soldiers left. "So far as I know, nobody was actually hurt, so that part of the reenactment was realistic." 

The Confederate soldiers were likely town militia or local troops, he said. 

The reenactment lasted about half an hour. It began with young bugler Mark Maranto, 13, sounding Attention, and ended when he sounded Halt. 

The reenactors on the Confederate side stood on the Occoquan town dock, near the 123 bridge, and shot across the river at Union reenactors, who had made their way down the steep slope on the other side of the water. 

In the brisk weather, the reenactors were dressed warmly, in uniforms made of wool and jean cloth.

Despite the cold wind, the dock was crowded with spectators, including 12-year-old living historian and freelance reenactor Douglas Mendoza, who was dressed in a Confederate uniform. Though Mendoza did not take part in this reenactment, he will take part in the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, and then in the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Brady's Michigan Sharpshooters all live in the Northern Virginia or Maryland area. 

Original story: 

Today, "Occoquan continues its commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War," Occoquan Mayor Earnie Porta said in an email yesterday.

Currently, Robert Alton, author of Strategem 1861, is lecturing on the Civil War in Northern Virginia.

"Then at 11:30 a.m.,Brady's Michigan Sharpshooters will re-enact a skirmish that occurred in Occoquan on Feb. 3, 1862. Afterward, you can visit the Sharpshooters at their encampment near the Tourist Information Center (200 Mill Street) and see them drill and do firearm demonstrations. Details for the day's events may be found at the Occoquan Historical Society web site here. Those of you who signed up in advance for a meal discount voucher may pick up the voucher at the Tourist Information Center after 10:00 a.m." 

Jan Cunard February 25, 2012 at 08:46 PM
It was a very nice day in Occoquan. The book lecture for Strategm 1861 by Robert Alton, was very well attended; the reenactment drew a sizable crowd; and the soldiers at the encampment were informative and anxious to talk about Civil War history. Plus it was a nice bonus to get a 10% off coupon to have lunch this noon at the local restaurants. This town is a wonderful mix of unique shops and interesting history and everyone should make an effort to come to visit, shop, sightsee, eat and enjoy the historic buildings.


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