FOUR OAKS — Grab a camera, bring a sketchbook and pack a picnic, and head out to the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site's free Summer Living History program, "A Day in the Life of a Civil War Soldier," on Saturday, June 5, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Period-costumed living historians from the 18th NC/53rd PA and 1st NC/11th NC will demonstrate how soldiers made meals, maintained their weapons and uniforms, and trained for battle.
A highlight will be musket demonstrations at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Artillery firings of a three-inch ordnance rifle, a typical Civil War cannon, will be held at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
"Visitors can discover how Civil War soldiers lived in camp and what role the enlisted man played in battle," said Bentonville Battlefield Program Coordinator Megan Phillips.
According to one historical account, the artillery fire during the Bentonville battle was so heavy that it "literally barked the trees, cutting off limbs as if by hand." Though outgunned by Union troops, Confederate artillerymen used fortified positions to halt the Union advance for several hours.
The Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, involved 80,000 troops and was the last Confederate offensive against Union Gen. William T. Sherman. Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site interprets the battle and the Harper House hospital, where many Confederates were left in the aftermath.
The site is located at 5466 Harper House Road, Four Oaks, N.C. 27524. It is three miles north of Newton Grove on S.R. 1008. For more information, visit www.nchistoricsites.org/bentonvi/bentonvi.htm, or call (910) 594-0789.
Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state's cultural resources to build North Carolina's social, cultural and economic future. Information on Cultural Resources is available anytime at www.ncculture.com.