The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 9, 2013

Wyoming County Civil War Days this weekend

By Mary Catherine Brooks
Wyoming County Bureau Chief

— Numerous activities are planned for the second annual Wyoming County Civil War Days this Saturday and Sunday on the field behind Oceana Middle School.

“This year marks the 150th birthday of West Virginia, the only state born of the Civil War, so the museum encourages people to come out and take advantage of this event to learn more about the Civil War and what life was like in the 1860s in a fun and entertaining atmosphere,” emphasized Jim Cook, Wyoming County Historical Museum Board of Directors, which sponsors the event.

Portraying both Union and Confederate soldiers, the re-enactors will camp on the site Friday and Saturday nights, cooking, sleeping in the tents, according to Betsy Ross, museum secretary/treasurer.

About 30 re-enactors, along with two cannons, are scheduled to participate, Cook said.

At pre-scheduled times on both days, spectators may watch from the bleachers as authentic Civil War era cannons are fired.

Organizers are anticipating 450 students from across Wyoming County will visit the camps today, which is Education Day and open only to students, according to organizers.

Saturday, the camps open to the public at 9 a.m.

Jim Bordwine, the Salt Maker, will demonstrate making salt all day.

Tower Street String Band will perform music from the 1860s several times throughout the day.

Jerry Vencill, as “Old Jonah, the Storyteller,” will perform from 1 to 2 p.m. and again from 4 to 5 p.m.

From the History Channel, Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) will be portrayed by Al Stone, of Hinton, sponsored with a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council. His performance is scheduled Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m., Cook said.

As commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, Lee gained the reputation as one of the most audacious military leaders the U.S. ever produced while also endearing himself to leaders and common folk of both the North and South during the Civil War, according to Civi War Days organizers.

A Civil War battle re-enactment is scheduled from 3 to 4 p.m.; spectators may watch from the bleachers.

David “Bugs” Stover, well-known storyteller, will share ghostly tales from the Civil War era from 6 until 7 p.m.

In the Gilliland Park Amphitheater a Civil War Ball is scheduled from 7-9 p.m., with Tower Street String Band performing.

“... People can come and learn how to dance like our ancestors did, or sit and listen to some good down home music — all free of charge,” Cook emphasized.

Sunday, camps will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A Civil War church service is scheduled at 11 a.m. and a re-enactment skirmish will take place at 1 p.m.

Additional sponsors include the Wyoming County Commission, Wyoming County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the West Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.

— E-mail: mcbrooks@register-herald.com