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Living a Civil War existence
New attraction at Pamplin Historical Park for a day puts participants into the Civil War life.

Rob Hedelt's archive
  E-mail Rob Hedelt
Date published: 9/23/2004


DINWIDDIE--When it opens for business here next spring, the Civil War Adventure Camp at Pamplin Historical Park will give visitors a unique feel for the conflict.

It will do that by having them live it as a soldier for a day, in an encampment where the mattresses are lumpy, the evening stew is served from an iron kettle and the fire in the stove may be cold, come morning.

The new addition to the park, which features the nationally recognized National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, is aimed at giving visitors more than just a description of what life was like for a typical foot soldier in the war.

Instead, it will drop them directly into a Civil War existence on a new, 422-acre corner of the park where they'll be asked to shed both their modern clothes and sensibilities.

"They'll enter a building that looks like a 19th-century barn with a locker facility where they'll leave the 21st century behind," said A. Wilson Greene, executive director at Pamplin Park. "Waiting for them in a locker with their name on it will be a Civil War uniform and all the proper accoutrements for a soldier of the period."

Greene, who previously lived in Fredericksburg, working here for the National Park Service and director of a Civil War preservation group, said the "recruits" will be fully immersed in a Civil War experience from 3:30 one afternoon until 10 a.m. the next day.

"They'll leave all cell phones, candy bars and modern conveniences behind," Greene said. "They'll muster in the camp and be assigned to either a tent, a hut or a spot in the barracks."

Greene said that participants in the camp will be exposed to many facets of Civil War life, in which some will be dressed as Confederate soldiers, some as Union troops.

The uniformed officers in the camp will be park rangers who will give the campers exposure to facets of camp life ranging from music to medicine to the chores shared in the camp.

"They'll even be issued Civil War scrip when they first arrived, and have access to period goods in a unit store," he said.

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