Battle of Scary Creek re-enacted
If they are willing to look, there are thousands of West Virginians who can trace their ancestry to soldiers in the Civil War, said Scott Williamson, director of the Putnam County Parks and Recreation Commission.
The state, which was born of the Civil War, shares most of its anniversaries with the war, including this year's 150th statehood anniversary, a fact that is not lost on Williamson.
He said he hoped the hundreds of people who attended Hurricane Civil War Weekend at Valley Park felt those connections to their state and personal history during the event.
"Since this year is West Virginia's sesquicentennial, we wanted to be a part of kicking off that celebration by really showing people this big part of the state's past," said Willimason. "You hear it all of the time, but by bringing back all of these items and stories from the past, it shows a surprising amount of parallel to things we are dealing with in modern time. If we take the time to explore these things here or pick up a book and do it, we can learn how to avoid the mistakes of the past."
Saturday marked the third day in the four-day weekend event, which commemorates two engagements of the Civil War, the Battle of Scary Creek, which took place in July 1861, and the Blue and Gray Skirmish at Hurricane Bridge in March 1863.
Re-enactors clad in blue and gray wool apparel re-enacted the Battle of Scary Creek on Saturday afternoon. The re-enactment of the Blue and Gray Skirmish will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday at the park.
The event is one that has blossomed from a small group of re-enactors 16 years ago to multiple re-enactments, presentations from historical impersonators of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, a military ball and even a display of a replica of the H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine, which was the first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship.
John Dangerfield, of Charleston, S.C., was part of a team that recovered the original Hunley from the Atlantic Ocean in 2000, and he built the replica in 2003. Since then, he said the replica has traveled from Massachusetts to California and several states in between for displays that have been as educational for Dangerfield as they have been for those participating in them.
"When I first started putting it on exhibition, I got a lot of requests from places in California, which was really confusing for me," said Dangerfield. "When I finally went there, I realized how rich that state was in Civil War history -- even Alcatraz was built as a fort during the war. I realized this is something that reflects a lot of history for a lot of people in places I didn't really even think about."
He said while the Confederacy was on the losing side of the war, there are still traces of the American spirit in looking at relics from the South as well as the North.
"When I look at something like this it reminds me about the lengths people will go to protect their own way of life," said Dangerfield. "You know, there are a lot of things people think of when they think about the Civil War, but for those people who were fighting the battles, it wasn't about a political statement; it was their lives."
Hurricane Civil War Weekend will open to the public again at 9 a.m. at Valley Park, where there will be horse-drawn wagon rides, a dress parade and a final re-enactment, which will begin at 2 p.m.
For more information, visit www.civilwardayswv.com.
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