Stafford Civil War Park opens with help from Virginia Guard

Glenn A. Trimmer, Executive Director of the Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites and a retired Air Force officer, is joined by local elected officials in cutting the ribbon for the new Stafford Civil War Park, April 27, 2013. The Virginia Army Guard’s 276th Engineer Battalion and the Virginia Air Guard’s 203rd Red Horse Engineer Squadron played a key role in the park's construction. (Photo by Lt. Col. Eric N. Atkisson, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Glenn A. Trimmer, Executive Director of the Friends of Stafford Civil War Sites and a retired Air Force officer, is joined by local elected officials in cutting the ribbon for the new Stafford Civil War Park, April 27, 2013. The Virginia Army Guard’s 276th Engineer Battalion and the Virginia Air Guard’s 203rd Red Horse Engineer Squadron played a key role in the park’s construction. (Photo by Lt. Col. Eric N. Atkisson, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

STAFFORD, Va. – The Stafford Civil War Park opened to the public Saturday, April 27, 2013, with an official ceremony that included speeches by state and local officials, historical lectures, living history displays, and more than 1,300 locals and Civil War enthusiasts there to enjoy the new 41-acre park. Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia National Guard were recognized for their significant contributions to the construction of the park.

Built on the site of Union Army of the Potomac encampments, fortifications and roads from the winter of 1862-63, the site had long been forgotten to all but local relic hunters until retired Air Force Col. Glenn A. Trimmer and the Friends of Stafford County Civil War Sites got involved.

“He did it. He went out and he raised millions of dollars in contributions,” said Stafford County Supervisor Paul V. Milde III. “The Virginia National Guard did most of the work, but Glenn brought that together. They built the roads, they paved the streets, they cut down all the trees—almost all the work you see here was done by the National Guard.”

Virginia Speaker of the House William J. Howell also had high praise for Trimmer and the Virginia National Guard.

“One of the key things Glenn that was able to orchestrate was the effort to get the National Guard involved,” said Howell. “They were here on three separate times during the hottest part of last summer… They had more than 500 dump-truck loads of debris that they took away. There was over 720 hours of operating this big, heavy equipment that they brought in, and more than 6,000 tons of donated stones that they put down. It was just an incredible feat.”

Trimmer, humble and at times emotional during his own remarks, thanked officers and NCOs of the Virginia Army Guard’s Petersburg-based 276th Engineer Battalion and Forward Support Company, the Powhatan-based 180th Horizontal Construction Company, the Bowling Green-based 189th Multirole Bridge Company and the Virginia Air Guard’s Virginia Beach-based 203rd RED HORSE Squadron by name for their hard work and “first class leadership” during the park’s construction.

“My name’s come up here too often, and these people need to be recognized,” said Trimmer. “The Guard provided the leadership, equipment, fuel, stamina, perseverance, and hard work to do this heavy construction.”

The park includes five tour stops featuring the remains of a winter camp, corduroyed roads, a pre-Civil War bridge, an early Stafford quarry, and three large earthen artillery battery sites, with interpretive signs explaining each and a picnic area with several tables. It is open to the public every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. now through Oct. 31, and from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1 through mid-March.

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Photos: Stafford Civil War Park opens with help from Virginia Guard – April 27, 2013