More than 1,000 public, private and home-schooled students will visit Historic Zoar Village on Friday, Sept. 16 for the Blue and Gray Trail Civil War School Day. This youth event is the kick-off for this weekend's Battle of Bull Run Civil War Reenactment. The event will include interactive learning through demonstrations and hands-on activities.
The Battle of Bull Run Reenactment will be held Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 17 and 18. Over 1,000 Civil War reenactors will flood the village for battles, a period wedding, Civil War ball, old-fashioned baseball, and more. The camps open at 9 a.m. both mornings and activities run all day. Cost is $7 for adults (13 and up). Admission is free for children under 13.
Civil War School Day offers students an opportunity to learn about the Civil War from uniformed reenactors conducting artillery, cavalry, and infantry demonstrations. Other reenactors will show students what life was really like for soldiers living in camp and working or staying in a field hospital.
Historic Zoar museum buildings provide a backdrop for life on the home front. Students will get hands-on experience rolling bandages and scraping lint, just like many ladies aid societies did to provide materials for Union and Confederate medical tents. Other home front activities include piecing a quilt block, cooking potato dumplings, churning butter, stirring apple butter, and baking bread. Artisans will discuss the role of Civil War-era professions like beekeeping, pottery, and blacksmithing.
In the historic tin shop, students can visit with Margaret Junkin Preston, the poetess of the Confederacy. A northern woman married to a southern man, she was also the mother-in-law of General Stonewall Jackson. In the three acre garden, students can meet with President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, John Parker, a conductor on the Underground Railroad and a woman who dressed as a man to fight in the Civil War.
Additional activities in the garden house and green house feature Civil War-era poultices and medicinal herbs, an interactive "how they dressed" station and musical performances by a Civil War string band and bagpipe player.
The Revolutionary War is also represented with the help of reenactors from Fort Laurens, a colonial musician, and an expert on arrow, spear and knife flint knapping. World War II reenactors will also illustrate how warfare has changed since the Civil War.
Students will learn about 12 brave young men from Zoar who enlisted in 1862 to fight with the 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia. Only one of those men died in active service due to illness. Zoar's Society of Separatists supported these soldiers, despite the pacifist ideals of the community.
Ideally, the young men of the Society would have observed their pacifist religion and allowed the Society to pay the $200-$300 fee to pay a replacement. The young members, however, believed that slavery was a greater evil than fighting in a war. Each enlistee received $2 from the Society of Separatists and many letters were exchanged between the community members and the soldiers.
Historic Zoar Village (www.zca.org) was founded by German Separatists in 1817 and thrived as a communal settlement for more than 80 years. Today, the village is home to approximately 75 families living in homes built from 1817 to present.
For more information about the upcoming events, call Historic Zoar Village at 800-262-6195 or 330-874-2646.