I grew up in Michigan. It’s not a place that has a lot of Civil War re-enactments going on. If you want a French and Indian War re-enactment, we’re good for that. But growing up, the Civil War was a time that lived in history books and on preserved battle fields far, far from where I was living, and as a kid, I couldn’t fathom much beyond that.
Fast forward 30 years and a new life in North Carolina. I took the Little Dude to see a Civil War camp and battle at a place called House in the Horseshoe. Spoiler alert: it’s located in a horseshoe bend in a river, hence the name. Each August they hold a Civil War re-enactment complete with a battle between North and South.
It was a fun event and actually turned out to be pretty perfect for a two-year-old. There were demonstrations of shooting muskets and cannons – from a safe distance, and surprisingly not that loud. There were different camp areas set up to learn about different aspects of life around the Civil War – toys children would have played with, medicinal herbs and their use in the battle field, and my favorite, how beer and mead were made. There were some dogs and chickens around, too, which was pretty much the highlight for Little Dude. (Also popular, trying to sneak into tents that people were actually living in. We’re working on manners still.)
I think the best part for me was that the participants didn’t pretend to actually be living in the Civil War. They spoke with everyone and answered questions without acting like they had just stepped out of a bizarro time machine. I’m all for accurate historical re-creations. I think there’s always a good time and place for those, but man, it gets old hearing that you don’t know what a taco is or you’ve never heard of the city I’m from. It’s pretty fascinating to hear what the presenters do know in real life and what they’ve studied.
If you get a chance to attend a similar event at House in the Horseshoe or elsewhere, I recommend it.