This is a special year for Civil War buffs and historians. This is the sesquicentennial for the war between the states, and Museum of the Albemarle is not only ready to host its annual living history event, it will also be examining the lives of two war veterans this weekend.
The museum will present its Civil War Living History Day Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to commemorate the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Elizabeth City, fought Feb. 10, 1862. Demonstrations, mustering of the troops and artillery and musket firing will happen on the green and at Waterfront Park.
Members of the Tar Heel Civilians, a North Carolina Civil War reenactment group, will present programs that bring the civilian aspect of the wartime era to life. The group will explore the hardships and depravation of the war by featuring living history presentations by navy and artillery, and civilian re-enactors.
Many personal collections of Civil War artifacts will be on display in the lobby. New displays include Union identification badges — the equivalent of modern day dog tags — and imported arms and equipment from England.
Presentations from local historians include: Alex Leary: Camden Troops, Wild’s Expedition, and the escape from the Maple Leaf table (1863); Bruce Long the Fletcher GAR Post #20 in Elizabeth City that was composed of former United States Colored Troops members and the USCT markers in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Chris Meekins covers Unionist soldiers and buffaloes. Marvin T. Jones of the Chowan Discovery Group will discuss the story of the USCT of the Winton Triangle area in Hertford County.
Other displays include: Battle of South Mills, artifacts, and photo albums (1863) manned by Charles McDonald; Jerry Roxbury confederate naval swords and cutlasses and Larry Floyd side arms of the Union Navy, and many more.
There will be three lectures on Saturday. Beginning at 10 a.m., Civil War historian Howard Draper will present “The Butler
Expedition of 1861.” At 11 a.m., author and chairman of the “Flags over Hatteras” committee Drew Pullen will give a talk is entitled “The Civil War on Hatteras Island,” followed by a book signing.
At 2 p.m., Chris Meekins, Correspondence Archivist, NC Office of Archives and History, will present “An Unexpected Tour of Duty: NC Soldiers at Governor’s Island Prison.”
The program will continue Sunday at 2:30 pm with a presentation by Dr. Bob Smith on “William Francis Lynch before the Battle of Elizabeth City.” Lynch was the commander of nine gunboats that opposed the Union expedition against Roanoke Island. Lynch and the Confederate forces retreated to Elizabeth City, where the Union forces annihilated them.
Also featured, as part of the museum’s exhibit will be displays examining the lives of Chowan war veteran Isaac Byrum and Pasquotank County war veteran James G. Martin.
Visitors can also have a 19th Century wet plate portrait made by photographer Chris Morgan for $20 or $40. You can also enjoy the music of the Tar River Dulcimers from noon to 3:30 p.m. Junior Docents will engage children in hands-on-history activities all day that include dances, games and chores of the period.
This is a free event. More information is available by calling the education department at 252-335-1453.