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Videographers aimed to preserve event
Heritage Media LLC is making a limited edition DVD of the sesquicentennial events commemorating the Battle of Fredericksburg.

 Rich Bovone (left, embedded with Confederate troops) and Scott Eyestone (right, with Union forces), got close to the action to record the Battle of Fredericksburg re-enactment with video cameras for Heritage Media.
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Date published: 12/15/2012



A few people taking part in the Battle of Fredericksburg commemoration events were carrying something decidedly more high-tech than period rifles last weekend.

They were armed with digital video cameras to capture the encampment, re-enactments and memorial parade that took place.

Heritage Media LLC, a local production company, is using their work to create "Fire on the Rappahannock," a limited edition DVD that's expected to be available by the end of next month.

"So far, the footage looks pretty dramatic," said executive producer Thomas Van Winkle.

Heritage Media used four two-man camera crews to record the action during the sesquicentennial. One team was embedded with the Confederate side, another with Union forces. The rest mainly hid behind trees or windows of buildings downtown.

"We knew people didn't want to see them," Van Winkle said. "We wanted to be totally unobtrusive."

A trailer for the film on Heritage Media's website, heritagemedia llc.com, opens with present-day re-enactors firing cannons. As it switches to drawings of original battle scenes, background is provided by Scott Walker, a Heritage Media founder who operates Hallowed Ground Tours.

"One hundred and fifty years ago, the Battle of Fredericksburg exploded with hell's own artillery fire over the Rappahannock," he says. "The Union's amphibious assault across that river met withering rifle fire. The urban combat was up close and personal."

Van Winkle had high praise for the complex 150th anniversary re-enactments, which included not only the river crossing, but snipers, street fighting and the attack on the stone wall along Sunken Road.

He said things were well-organized with only one slip-up. The floating bridge built by the Virginia Army National Guard engineers fell short of the riverbank. Re-enactors had to plunge into the water and wade the remaining eight feet.

"We had a cameraman on the incoming side of the bridge, and we couldn't use some of the audio track," Van Winkle said. "There were a lot of wet socks hanging out in camp that night, I can tell you that."

Heritage Media is considering holding a premiere of "Fire on the Rappahannock" in Fredericksburg when the video is finished, and DVDs will likely sell for $15.99. Copies can be reserved now on the company's website.

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