On Friday, the town of Occoquan will celebrate becoming Prince William County's first historic district and on Saturday and Sunday the county will hold its second annual Civil War Reenactment and Living History Camp at the Prince William County fairgrounds.
Much of the 19th-century town of Occoquan was officially voted a historic district last week by the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. This fall it will be nominated to the federal National Register of Historic Places. State, city and town officials will celebrate the event at 2 p.m. in front of town hall, followed by a free public "ice cream social." Among the guests will be a descendent of the Janney family, active in Loudoun and Prince William counties, which built Virginia's first modern cotton gin in 1828 and helped incorporate the town of Occoquan in 1874.
On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, hundreds of costumed soldiers in Civil War regiments from more than a dozen states will build a Civil War camp and on Sunday at 3 p.m. reenact the 1863 battle of Bristow Station, "the bloody battle of Bristow," where more than 1,300 Confederate soldiers alone were killed in about 40 minutes, according to David Purschwitz, colonel in the 8th Virginia volunteer infantry, one of the host units for the two-day encampment.
Saturday's events will include a Civil War fashion parade at 3 p.m., skirmishes at 5 p.m. followed by a barbecue supper "at 1860s prices" and a blue grass concert featuring Jimmy Arnold and many Civil War songs.
The reenactment of the Battle of Bristow, preceded by artillery and cavalry demonstrations, begins at 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the events, sponsored by the Prince William County-Greater Manassas Chamber of Commerce, is $2 a car.