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Living a Civil War existence page 2
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



Greene said that after a full evening meal, complete with fruit cobbler and camp coffee, the recruits would probably turn in early.

"If it's September or May, the heat or cold won't be a big issue," said Greene. "But on the really hot or cold days, visitors will see what it was like to experience the elements the way the Civil War soldier did."

Visitors will start the next morning to the sound of a bugle, possibly followed by a short march and muster.

"Along the way, they might find someone along the trail taking pot shots at them," Greene said. "That's an experience that very quickly puts you into a soldier's shoes."

After breakfast, the participants might take part in drills or a mock battle. Depending on age, the would-be soldiers might test-fire weapons or simply carry a mock-up of a Civil War weapon.

While most facets of the experience will be of the Civil War period, safety and hygiene aren't among them.

Modern bathrooms will be available, and park rangers will have access to modern first aid and communication.

The park, which hasn't publicly announced the new attraction, expects that schools and Scout troops will make up a large part of the Adventure Camp participants.

But they also hope to draw business groups, which might use the experience as a team-building exercise.

Individuals or small groups won't be shut out. There will be specific dates when they can sign on to the Civil War experience.

Greene said that while the educational aspect of the camp is important, the park hopes it will also be a major draw.

"If you can offer something else nobody's doing--and to my knowledge, this isn't being offered anywhere else--it puts you on the radar," said Greene.

He said a constant challenge is competing with bus groups that bring students and others to Williamsburg and Washington. Pamplin Park, Greene said, wants to be more than a side trip that brings those visitors but seldom sees them stay overnight.

Greene noted that aside from the Civil War Soldier museum, the park also offers museums and displays interpreting a period plantation, slave quarters and a Civil War battle fought on and near the spot back in April of 1865.

Also in the works for the park: a new, edgy movie that will try to accurately portray the savagery of war, and a new education center and 250-seat theater where the film will eventually be seen.

The park is funded by a foundation established by the Pamplin family, which has ancestral roots on the property and elsewhere in Dinwiddie County.

For more information, go to pamplinpark.org or call 877/PAMPLIN.

To reach ROB HEDELT: 540/374-5415 rhedelt@freelancestar.com

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