Camp a glimpse of Civil War life

WILLIAMSTOWN – Community members braved the heat Saturday to attend the first day of Civil War activities at the Wood County Veterans Memorial Park.

“We came here to see the encampment and get an idea of what it was like to live back then,” said Pat Barker, of Parkersburg, who attended the morning events with her husband David and granddaughter Natalie Atkinson, 9.

More than 50 members of Carlin’s Battery D along with other re-enactors from around the state are spending the weekend in the county park located on West Virginia 31 near the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport to participate in several Civil War era events.

The camp opened at 10 a.m. Saturday when the temperatures were in the 70s but felt in the mid 80s.

“We thought we would come early and miss most of the heat,” said David Barker. “But we really just want to help our granddaughter better understand history.”

For her part, Atkinson looked around the camp at the tent set up to resemble one occupied by a Civil War officer, including a bed, cooking implements, soap and examples of the food he had to prepare.

“I like history and want to know more, it’s interesting to learn about how people lived back then, what they did and things like that,” said the 9-year-old. “It is weird to not see a bag of chips with the food.”

The weekend’s events are the annual West Virginia Day celebrations held by Carlin’s Battery D. This year’s program closed the week-long celebrations of the state’s 150 years of statehood.

Saturday’s activities also included a play called “The Breaking of Bread” along with an Infantry/Cavalry tactical, a Ladies Victorian Tea and Civil War Ball.

“We have a lot of things going on to give people a sense of what the soldiers and their families went through at the time,” said Jim Miracle, with Carlin’s Battery D.

The tea was used as an example of how the ladies of the Civil War era were able to help their soldiers on the field through gossip and chatting with other Army wives, mother and daughters.

“Everyone did their part in some way and every thing they did had a reason,” said one female re-enactor.

The weekend’s programs also included seasoned re-enactors Doug Riley of Tunnelton, W.Va., as Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, John Belcher of Hurricane as Gen. Albert Jenkins and Dennis Carder of Elizabeth as Gen. John McCausland.

Today’s event will begin with the opening of the camps at 10 a.m. and a Civil War era church service at 10:30 a.m.

President Abraham Lincoln and Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln, portrayed by John and Marion King, with West Virginia’s first Gov. Arthur I. Boreman, portrayed by John Gieble, will make appearances at noon.

A skirmish will take place at 3 p.m. with the troops.