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Luminaria for Civil War Soldiers

Friday 7 p.m. – Free Event
Olivet Cemetery, located on Rt. 55, formally known as Cemetery Hill, is the site of much Civil War history for Hardy County. Recognized with a Civil War Trails emblem, the signage for the cemetery relates, “Soldiers of both north and south are buried here, and battles took place in the cemetery and on the adjoining hill: Jan. 3, 1863, Col. James Washburn (USA) attacked by Gen. William E. Jones (CSA) Union won. Sept. 11, 1863, Capt. McNeill defeated Maj. W. E. Stevens.” The Friends of Deceased Confederate Soldiers erected a monument encircled by graves of Confederate soldiers in 1867. Hardy County’s most famous Civil War
figure, John Hanson McNeill, was interred at Olivet Cemetery in January 1865. “Hanse” McNeill, appointed Capt. of 2nd Co. E 18th Va. Cav. 24 in September 1862, became the leader of the independent company known as McNeill’s Rangers.
Civil War soldiers dug trenches into the hillside and according to signage at the cemetery, “It is most likely that Federal forces camping on Cemetery Hill had prepared trenches for their protection. Remnants of these trenches are still visible and are located on the far northeastern slope of the cemetery. Two smaller ones are somewhat oval in shape and approximately 20 feet in length. The third trench is located southeast of these first two and is a semicircular shape. It is approximately 60 feet from end to end.”
Friday evening of Heritage Weekend, a reverent lighting of a Luminaria Memorial by
members of the McNeill’s Rangers, SCV Camp 582, marking the grave sites of Civil War
soldiers buried at the Confederate Circle will be held. Visitors may view the Luminaria by
vehicle, entering the cemetery from Winchester Avenue (Rt. 55). The Confederate Circle will
be at the top of the hill on the right. Observe the posted Speed Limit of 5 mph and ONE WAY
traffic signs and exit at the far end of the cemetery on Paskell Hill Drive.

Location: 323 Winchester Ave., Moorefield

Photo by Albert Mach

Luminaria for Civil War Soldiers
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