Civil War Reenactment- October 10 and 11 – Droop Mtn. Battlefield Park
(OPENING SOUNDS OF BATTLE)
No, that’s not opening day of Deer Season. It is what you can hear (and see) live this weekend at Droop Mountain State Park near Hillsboro when the West Virginia Reenactors Association and the Droop Park present the 152nd Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Droop Mountain.
Although some fliers indicate that the event starts on Friday, October 9th, there won’t be anything to see until Saturday morning. Reenactors will be setting up their camps on Friday. Mike Smith, the Superintendent of Droop Mountain State Park tells us a little about the event.
“We have a whole weekend of activities planned” Mike says. “Most of them will start in late morning, Saturday, October the 10th. There will be a ladies tea, there will be children’s games, there will be demonstrations in the Union and Confederate camps. Earlier there will be a tactical (battle). That’s mainly for the reenactors. They’ll be out in the woods doing various scenarios and stuff. While spectators might see some of that stuff, it’s not really for the public. It’s for the Reenactors themselves to judge each other- how they are doing.”
Both Union and Confederate camps will open to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, so feel free to walk through them and see how Civil War soldiers camped out. Feel free to ask the reenactors questions about the camps, their equipment or about the Civil War in general. Mike talks about Saturday’s battle and the Military Ball which happens Saturday evening.
The battle on Saturday will be at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Mike says. It will last about a half hour to 45 minutes maybe. Then there will be a lull while the reenactors rest up and eat dinner, that sort of thing. Then in the evening on Saturday, there will be a dance on the lawn in front of the Museum after dark- start at 8 and end at 10. We will have (Civil War) period musicians playing Civil War type tunes and doing dances that they call out. The public is welcome to- and encouraged to join in on that. Of course the reenactors themselves – the ladies will have on their fancy ball gowns and the men will have on their best uniforms. But the public can jump right in, and often does, and it to me is one of the more fun parts of the reenactment.”
There is something magical about being at the Military Ball on Saturday evening, almost like going back in time. Mike goes on to talk about Sundays events where the camps open to the public once again at 10 a.m. Mike.
“On Sunday we will have a church service over at the Lookout Tower, I think 10 O’clock I believe- I don’t have a schedule – I don’t believe anybody has a schedule, but in past years it’s been at 10 O’clock so I imagine that’s safe” said Mike. “And then on Sunday afternoon at 1 O’clock we will have a second battle. It also will last a half an hour or 45 minutes. And that will conclude the weekend. The reenactors will be packing up and heading home. A lot of them have travelled far and they have a long way to go.”
Saturday’s battle is usually a recreation of the skirmish at Mill Point which happened before the Battle of Droop Mountain, while Sunday’s battle will be a reenactment of the Battle of Droop Mountain. There will be merchants – known in Civil War lingo as “sutlers” that will have some interesting and different things for sale. There will also be food for sale during the event. Mike wants to make sure that if you are coming to either the Saturday or Sunday battle, to plan on arriving an hour before the scheduled battle to avoid a long walk. Also to use the main entrance into the park since the road will be one way, and on your way home to not make a “U” turn, but continue out of the park via the exit nearest the Lookout Tower.
As a special treat, you can see my Civil War Artillery Unit “Bryans Battery” firing our cannon during both battles.