Students learn about Civil War during Heritage Days reenactment

Published 5:53 pm Monday, April 13, 2009

&bsp;The last area the students enjoyed were games from the 1800s. George Alley had four different games for the students to participate in during their game time. The students learned to play chuck farthing, hunt the slipper, bowl toss, and blind man&squo;s bluff.

By 1:30 p.m., around 400 students had enjoyed learning more about life in the 1800s.

Saturday started with a nip in the air, but the sun soon warmed Harmon Field as it came alive with life in the 1800s. The smell of campfires filled the air, and commands from Union and Confederate officers rang across the field as troops practiced for battle.

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Participants in the weekend were the 2NCMI, Co. E, Palmetto Partisan Rangers, 12th NC Catawba Rifles, 3rd US Battery B, and the Columbia Flying Artillery. An added bonus was the 3rd US Battery B&squo;s first round fired from their new cannon, &dquo;Sweet Pea,&dquo; which echoed through time and will forever be ringing when the wind stirs at Harmon Field.

Noontime Saturday found the group gathering together for a wedding, as Captain Smith performed the ceremony for Steve and Martha. Unfortunately, a runner came with a call to battle just as the service concluded, and Steve was shot as he attempted to desert his comrades.

By 1:30 p.m. the battle arrived at the Pacolet River, with the Union soldiers valently attempting to take the Confederate cannon that was stationed on the south side of the Pacolet. Unfortunately, the Union finally had to admit defeat, and the white flag of peace was raised. Cheers were heard all through the more than 200 spectators as the Confederates claimed the area.

Later in the afternoon, a Union soldier was caught fraternizing with the Confederates and was brought for court martial. After questioning, it was determined that he was guilty, and was he sentenced to be hung at sunrise. When he objected, they offered him the choice of a firing squad, but he did not like that idea either, so he ran. Before he got very far, he was shot.

Also participating with the troops were some sutlers. A lady was selling herbs and explaining what would be useful for various ailments. A photographer was there to take pictures for people in 1800 attire with a backdrop. House of Flags Museum was present to display and sell flags from the 1800s. Joyce Kimpton, great-granddaughter of a Civil War soldier, was present with some pictures, a wooden leg, and other Civil War keepsakes. Landrum Quilters came and demonstrated some quilting , as well as having a quilt on display that is currently up for raffle.

Tryon Arts and Crafts put on demonstrations and classes with their open house on Saturday, which blended in nicely with the Heritage Days theme for the weekend.

Saturday night ended with a candlelight walk-through of the camp so that people could get a greater feeling of what an army camp was like during the Civil War.

Sunday morning threatened with clouds, but by noon, the sun had again filled the sky, beckoning all to return to another grand day at Harmon Field. People mingled throughout the Civil War camps talking with the troops and watching as they again prepared for another battle. The photographer was present again to take pictures for people posed in 1800s attire with a backdrop. House of Flags Museum came again to join the camp and had many flags and other memorabilia from the 1800s. Robert Williamson presented Alley with a new and larger flag to fly from Harmon Field&squo;s flagpole.

Early Sunday afternoon the Confederates stationed themselves along the Pacolet River and Pacolet River Bridge in an attempt to keep the Union forces north of the river. Unfortunately, the Union soldiers pushed the Confederates further and further south until the Union troops had gained control of the cannon. Again, cheers were heard among the spectators who had a grand view of the battle from the hillside next to the community building.

Soon after the battle, a washer woman was found spying as she washed clothes for Captain Smith and his troops just in from the battle. After some words with the washerwoman, Captain Smith called for his Provost, only to learn that he had been drinking. As the captain dealt with the Provost, the washerwoman attempted an escape, but was soon shot down by one of Smith&squo;s privates, as she attempted to make it back to the Confederate Camp.

&bsp;&bsp;&bsp; Captain Smith dealt with the Provost, as well as a group of young privates who had gotten a hold of a bottle, before coming to the crowd gathered to watch. He took some time to explain how these were all a part of life during the Civil War. Everyone was invited to spend the remaining time of the event roaming through camp and socializing with the reenactors.

When the weekend was over, everyone agreed it had been a great success. As the campfires were dying, soldiers could be heard sitting around discussing their plans for next year&squo;s battle along the Pacolet River at Harmon Field.

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