Civil War revisited at Brown’s Mill
by Sarah Fay Campbell
A steady stream of visitors braved chilly temperatures and high winds to get a taste of Civil War camp life at the Brown’s Mill Battlefield historic site on Saturday.
A small group of reenactors from Phillips Legion camped near the original 1864 battle site Friday in anticipation of the organization’s winter muster.
There was a small cannon on display, and plans for some mounted drills. But most of the time — for reenactors and visitors — was spent sitting around the campfire.
“I think it’s really cool,” said mom Brandy Balderis, whose sons had a great time splitting wood and petting horses. She had a hard time getting them to leave, despite the cold.
With temperatures in the teens on Friday, most campers fought to stay warm, some even cheating a bit to find relief from the chilling wind. Campers in tents were equipped with propane heaters, while two campers slept in horse trailers.
The horse trailers were humorously referred to as "officer’s camp.”
"Cheater camp,” said Morgan Oglesby, who attended the muster all the way from Alabama.
Little Scott Wortham Jr. and his mother, Angel, were decked out in civilian gear. Scott was clothed as a baby girl might be today, in a dress and breeches.
“But that’s how little boys dressed during that time,” said Jeremy “Buckshot” Wester. “Up to the age of 5, boys wore just about the same clothing as girls,” he said. It was easier to take care of the children, plus boys would grow out of pants very quickly.
Wester said he and fellow Phillip’s Legion member Scott Chandler have been attending the annual Brown’s Mill banquet for years.
He’s glad to see the battlefield site open to the public. Steve and Joan Acheé of Newnan visited Brown’s Mill after taking in the Victory at All Costs World War II exhibit held at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum.
Saturday was their first visit to the battlefield site. “They do a nice job,” Steve said of the reenactors.