The upcoming second-annual “Raid on Ravenswood (April 27-29)” is and will continue to be a “point of pride” for the town, according to Mayor Josh Miller.

The upcoming second-annual “Raid on Ravenswood (April 27-29)” is and will continue to be a “point of pride” for the town, according to Mayor Josh Miller.

  Miller,  Parks and Recreation chairman Katrena Ramsey and Councilman Jared Bloxton sat down with Jackson Newsapers recently to discuss the upcoming three-day event in the River City.

  New for the 2018 Civil War renanctment is  the appearance of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln through the West Virginia Culture and History Museum portrayed by a husband and wife team. 

 “They’re a big deal,” said Miller. 

 “The wife’s family is originally from Ravenswood way back so she’s excited to be coming here. He’s 6-4, so he has the striking stature like the great man he portrays,” added Katrena Ramsey. 

  “This is a point of pride and not only the reenactment,” said Miller. “We had a lot of people visit last year, but this year, our goal is to reach even more people. We’re advertising out to Charleston, Huntington and Athens (OH) to reach more people who may be interested in attending.

 “Another point of pride is our School Day. Last year, we had some 300-500 students attend. This year, we’re expecting over 800.”

The students will move from station to station in the encampment learning about the Civil War period of history.

  “Learning about the history of it is important,” noted Miller. “The more we move forward, the less we remember about our history. But this is an opportunity to experience and learn about that pivotal period in the history of our county. We’ll have Union troops on hand, and Confederate General John Hunt Morgan will speak. Abe Lincoln will rally the Union troops at Veterans Park on Sycamore Street. We’ll have a Surgeon Demo which is one for the more memorable (grisly) parts of last year’s event.”

 Ramsey added, “Abe Lincoln will have his own station at School Day to explain the part he played in the Civil War, and he will also lead a church service at the park on Sunday morning, talking about Lincoln’s faith.”

 “We want to draw people for the cannon fire at dusk at the Riverfront Park on Friday following School Day activities,” Miller noted. “It’s very impressive. We will show an award-winning Civil War movie at the stage immediately following the cannon fire demonstration. 

  City Councilman Jared Bloxton said he is really impressed with the number of  people stepping up to help sponsor the raid, including McDonalds who will served breakfast. 

“We’re fortunate to have the support of our merchants and citizens, who are lining up to be part of this event,” he said.

 “The history is here, Ripley and in our whole county dating back to the Revolutionary War. We don’t have to import it. And the Civil War is a big part of our history here, although we really haven’t embraced it a lot until this event. It’s tremendous.” 

 “Another thing we are supposed to have that we didn’t last year is a cavalry battle,” said Miller. “There was an issue with getting the horses here last year.

 “I think will continue to grow steadily once the reenactors realize how serious we are about this event. We treat them well while they’re here, feed them well. 

  Ramsey noted that another key feature is the Civil War Ball at the NYA Hall. “It was popular last year and went over really well,” she said. “We’ll have the same band play--Summer Shade. The reenactors requested them specifically. Summer Shade plays more traditional Appalachian music like at Vandalia with violins and such.”

 The “Raid” Saturday evening will take place on Sycamore Street this year instead of Walnut Street. That will free any DOH/DOT concerns. Veterans Park will be used as well.

“The theory is that it is a skirmish between Union and Confederate taking and re-taking the town which happened,” noted Ramsey.

“This is an event, and we’ve taken some creative liberties,” added Miller. “But as we this evolves, we want to pull in more true history that happened here in Ravenswood. And there’s been a lot. There are a lot of things that happened right down there at Riverfront Park. You can read it.”

  Ramsey added, “There was a Civil War Ball in 1862 at Ravenswood House, and the women were encouraged to dress as Mary Todd Lincoln or General McClellan’s wife. It erupted in chaos with knives and guns.

  “Teachers will do Civil War history in the weeks leading up to the Raid. It’s a free field trip. The museum and log cabin will also be open for the first time during the raid weekend.”

Miller added, “This is fun and it’s educational.

“We also Project Purge, our street sign auction and a cooking school upcoming.  We’re off to a good start this spring and we’ll just keep hammering away.”