LAURINBURG —A middle-aged woman clutched her lace parasol as a strong wind whipped around her.
“I do declare this wind is going to expose my bloomers,” she said to no one in particular.
Not far from her, a man dressed as a Confederate surgeon explained medical practices.
A few yards away, an aide to General William Hardee handed out $20 bills to new Army recruits.
While the calendar might read 2016, at least on Saturday the grounds of the John Blue House were transported back to the 1860s as a group of reenactors and an even larger group of spectators got to relive a bit of Civil War history.
Presented by the Scotland County Historic Properties Commission, the day featured artillery firings each hour, and two half-hour skirmishes staged near the start and the end of the event. More than 40 members of the Carolina Reenactors took part on Saturday. There was no charge to attend the day-long event.
“This is such a significant part of our history,” said Benajah Eure, who portrayed a military aide to General Hardee, whose path led from Cheraw in South Carolina through Rockingham toward Fayetteville, Averasboro, and Bentonville. “We want people to come away with a little more knowledge of this war.”
The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 to determine the survival of the Union or independence for the Confederacy. Among the 34 states in January 1861, seven Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the United States of America and formed the Confederate States of America. The states that remained loyal and did not declare secession were known as the Union or the North.
Eure, who has been participating in reenactments for the past 20 years, described his involvement as “a passion”
“A lot of people have relatives that fought in the Great War, on one side or the other, and they see this as a way to honor their ancestors,” Eure said. “It also gives you a chance to get out into the weather and have fun.”
During the reenactment, a uniformed narrator discussed uniforms, weapons, tactics, and the array of battle flags on display. One of the John Blue outbuildings was converted into a field hospital to demonstrate the medical practices — primitive even for the 19th century — that were usually the only recourse of Confederate surgeons. About 750,000 people were killed during the war.
The day also included presentations detailing the impact of Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s devastating passage through North Carolina in March 1865
“It is one thing to read about it books, but seeing these guys in uniform with weapons of war brings it closer to home,” said Stan Henderson, who travelled from Fayetteville with his two grandsons.
Several young attendees also got a chance to charge a group of Yankee soldiers.
“That was very cool,” said 10-year-old Nash Gibson, who made his way on to the battlefield with a wooden gun. “I thought this was going to be boring, but it wasn’t.”