Filed under: News
Written by Richard Donegan, Ohio Civil War 150 AmeriCorps Member for Northeast Ohio
On July 14 and 15, I had the privilege to represent the Ohio Historical Society and the AmeriCorps Civil War 150 program at a Civil War encampment hosted by the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio. Despite the prevalence of events in the area that weekend, a number of people attended the encampment. Estimates for Saturday the 14th were over 1,000. Numbers were not available for the 15th, but attendance measured in the hundreds. I was alone on Saturday, but was joined by fellow AmeriCorps member Jacob Masters on Sunday.
My role at the event was to promote the awareness of Ohio Historical Society sites throughout the state, and to inform the public of the Civil War 150 initiative. I spoke with a number of people who were thoroughly interested in the literature and brochures that were available on presidential and Civil War sites in Ohio. Many were not aware of all that Ohio had to offer in terms of its history.
The event itself was very entertaining. Camps were opened up to visitors to see how soldiers lived 150 years ago. Two times a day, the Camp Chase Fife and Drum Corps played music for the assembled crowd. Reenactors from various Union and Confederate units also performed weapons demonstrations twice on both days. The event was also enhanced with roving living history impersonators taking on the guises of Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, General Grant, General Sherman, and many others. All of the interpreters stayed in character (most of the time) and talked to people as if they were back in the 1860s.