Published Wednesday, March 06, 2013
By W. WINSTON SKINNER
The boys in blue and gray met again Saturday at the Railroad Depot in downtown Newnan, the spot where the 1864 Battle of Brown’s Mill began.
Union and Confederate troops sweltered in the heat during that July 1864 tussle. The 2013 soldiers, many of them veteran re-enactors, faced a stiff wind and cold temperatures, but didn’t let the weather keep them from enjoying the Civil War Encampment staged by the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society.
“This is a good way to let people see the other side of the war, what it was really like for soldiers and seeing it all up close,” said Joanna Arrieta, executive director of the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society. “You really learn by seeing it up close.”
Before coming to Newnan with the NCHS, Arrieta was in charge of the collections and interpretations for the Margaret Mitchell House, the Swan House and the Smith Family Farm for the Atlanta History Center.
She said re-enactments of early Georgia life at the Smith Family Farm were a visitor favorite and that Saturday’s event at the depot on East Broad Street was designed to be similar, both in terms of re-enactment activities and interpretive presentations.
Five re-enactors Smith had worked with at Atlanta History Center were on hand to help with Saturday’s event. Among them was Marvin Greer, an African-American man dressed as a member of the 137th Colored Troops, a regiment of freed slaves that fought with the Union in the Civil War.
(To view photos from this event, visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Events for the Photo Gallery.)
Greer said some of his ancestors were freed slaves who fought for the Union during the Civil War and he had always been interested in that period of history.
Greer was “armed” with a replica 1861 Springfield rifled musket, like the one that fired Minie balls that took the lives and limbs of hundreds of thousands of Civil War soldiers.
Joseph Knight, who moved to Newnan from LaGrange a few months ago was on hand as well. He said he caught the history bug when he was three years old, watching his dad display and document relics, including many civil war artifacts.
Knight became a Civil War re-enactor in 1999 and has participated in other re-enactments sponsored by Atlanta History Center.
“This is something I really like,” Knight said. “It’s fun to do and it keeps history alive.”