WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — You might have thought you’ve stepped back in time walking around Cameron Museum Saturday if it weren’t for the occasional iPhone picture, of course. Reenactors and Civil War enthusiasts from all over gathered to commemorate the battle of Forks Road.
Confederate soldiers around the campfire could be heard yelling out things like, “Ancestry!” “It’s in our heritage.” “In the blood.”
Blaine Massey has been reenacting battles for about 16 years working his way through the ranks to first lieutenant. He says it’s more than just a hobby.
“It’s just awe-inspiring, and it’s just spiritual. It really is,” Massey said. “It’s a completely different experience from anything I’ve ever done in my life.”
Massey says stepping on to the field feels like actually being there, and they make sure to keep even the smallest details authentic.
“You can’t have equipment that’s not period. You can’t have a can of Pepsi out or a can of Mountain Dew out,” he said. “It’s gotta be all period; even the trash cans. You can’t have anything that’s not period. Your stools, all your garments, your accoutrements, the belts, the buckles, everything’s gotta be right up to date.”
It doesn’t stop there. They sleep in tents and even eat food made from Civil War-era recipes.
Woodburns Bakery is a traveling field bakery. These bakers travel all over to battlegrounds baking and selling authentic period food items.
“We don’t cheat on like fake stuff like Crisco,” baker Pete Melching said. “We use lard and stuff like that. The real stuff.”
It seems all the details really help them get into character.
“Yeah, we whipped them Johnnies today,” one of the Union soldiers sitting by the campfire said. “Sent them all the way back up to Raleigh.”
In the end they say it’s about the carrying on the history and friendships made in the process.
“These are guys I would go to war with and die with,” Massey said.
Events like these are meant to educate in a way books cannot by allowing everyone to walk through and experience living history.