A new thing in a special place

Published 1:11 am Friday, April 12, 2013

The region in which we live is steeped in history — we all know that. But this weekend that history comes alive as Siege of Washington is commemorated on the Washington waterfront.

This isn’t the dry, facts-only history of the old school days, but a live re-enactment of the events surrounding a battle that determined Washington’s path in the Civil War. All along the waterfront, tents will be set up, housing historically authentic soldiers. Festival Park will be home to military drills, cannons firing, the display of what life was like in the midst of war, from both the soldier’s perspective and that of the escaped slaves who populated Union contraband camps.

The Friday and Saturday outdoor events cover the general aspects of Civil War life with re-enactments, but the specifics are left to the lecturers: noted historian Kevin Duffus will talk about solving the mystery of the Hatteras light — its lens disappeared in the path of Union soldiers; Duffus will tell the tale of a young Confederate private through his many letters written home; and a representative of the Phoenix Historical Society will speak about the legend of “Big Bob,” an escaped slave whose selfless actions influenced the outcome of the Siege of Washington.

While the event commemorates a turning point for Washington in the war 150 years ago, those who like stories of things going bump in the night will get their fill with the Historic Washington Ghost Walk, a tour of ghostly destinations in the downtown area. The walking tour will be offered Friday and Saturday nights.

This living history event is an opportunity to celebrate a time and a place and right now is the right time to learn something new about a special place — Washington.

See page 5 for the scheduled Siege of Washington events this weekend.