Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration

Regiment 13Predicted showers were short. Instead of a hindrance to the event, storm clouds became a perfect backdrop. Then suddenly a crack like thunder sounded—FROM JUST BESIDE ME!

I turned to see a smoking cannon. I was shocked. We were standing by a field witnessing the reenactment of a Civil War Battle for the 150th commemoration of the War’s beginning. It was also in the spring that West Virginia became a State 148 years ago.

Regiment 13 close With white tents dotted across the hillsides and smoking wood fires interspersed among them, it felt exactly like we had gone back to the time of the Civil War. The realistic-looking tents were also waterproof, which allowed the reenactors to actually camp for the three days of the event. Wood was split and stacked by the tents. Horses came and went among the regiments. Cannons were positioned on the surrounding hill. The reenactors not only impersonated the generals and captains but doctors and nurses, blacksmiths, tailors and spies. Every uniform was made with historical accuracy in mind. It was amazing!

Lee Jackson and Donald

IMG_1276They used the uniforms and equipment of the soldiers on the battlefield and the day-to-day work clothes worn in the camp. For example, the  blacksmith, hammering at the forge wore a loose long-sleeved white  shirt. Hoop skirts were everywhere. And hats varied from Abe Lincoln’s top hat to the little forward-facing felt kepis and bummers for the soldiers.

One interesting thing to learn was about the saber. Infantry men carried sharp swords and bayonets for hand-to-hand combat. The cavalry on the other hand were armed with heavy sabers. Saber are not even sharp! They were used to disable opponents on the ground with a direct downward stroke on the collarbone.

The most memorable part of the day was meeting the men who impersonated Jackson, Lincoln and Lee. They looked just like real. We also met a friendly officer by the name of “Extra Billy Smith”. He  impersonated a stagecoach owner and he told us the story of how he got his name, as well as letting us try on his uniform. Each person was knowledgeable—they left no question unanswered. They were friendly  and it was evident they enjoyed their role. It was a great learning experience and fun day together.

Entrance Exit Ahhh It was fun.



  1. Esther Staddon May 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    Each one had a story to tell and time to tell it when we would walk up and visit their tent. We can learn so much from history!

  2. bobby harris May 27, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    hey y’all i am one of the re-enactors with my company and i especially am looking forward to being at 1st manassas in july this year and this will be my very first in this huge event and i enjoy doing this, to actually honor my ancestor whom was my great great grandfather he fought many battles in the confederate army of north carolina at the time, i love this post you all put here the camp and all it really is cool. to make me a proud southern rebel well you all did a good job here as i can see it keep it up

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