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May 24, 2005 > Time machine set for Civil War Days at Ardenwood

Time machine set for Civil War Days at Ardenwood

The beat of drums and the sound of cannon will fill the air of Ardenwood Historic Farm on Memorial Day weekend, May 28 and 29. Visitors can walk through the bivouac of northern "blue" Union Yankees and southern "gray" Confederate Rebels as they prepare for battle. Hundreds of volunteers from the National Civil War Association assemble into cavalry, infantry and artillery units to recreate some of the battles fought to determine the destiny of the United States of America.

War was unavoidable when newly elected Abraham Lincoln, a known opponent of slavery, made it clear at his inauguration, that he would not accept succession from the Union. Feelings within the emerging country were so strong that even some families split between allegiance to one side or the other. While some believe the only reason for the Civil War was disagreement over the practice of slavery, the union was actually being severely tested by many economic, political and social differences at the time. It is interesting to note that four "slavery states" remained in the Union during the war and a new state, West Virginia (Union), was formed as a result of differing allegiances within the state of Virginia (Confederate).

This year, in addition to authentic recreations of life in the camps as well as skirmishes and battles, a traveling exhibit of the Confederate submarine, the CSS C.L. Hunley will visit Ardenwood. The first successful underwater warship, the Hunley disappeared without a trace in 1864 after being damaged by a Union ship. Over 100 years later, in 1995, the submarine was located and five years later, brought to shore.

Get ready, your time machine has arrived! Experience the sights and sounds of living history. This is your chance to stroll through Union and Confederate encampments, to find out how people lived during those trying times. Authentic replicas of uniforms and gear will transport visitors back to the years 1861 - 1865. It is easy to forget that history books are based on real people and events; we are all a part of history - it is simply a matter of perspective.

Battle recreations are scheduled twice on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. A memorial service will be held on Sunday morning at an 11 a.m. battle. Ardenwood Historic Farm will be open 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Advance tickets are available by calling (510) 636-1684 or online at Tickets: $8 adults; $6 seniors (62+); $5 children (4-17); children 3 years and under are free. Turn to page 16 for a free child admission coupon.

Memorial Day on the Farm, Ardenwood Historic Farm, Monday, May 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. - Vist the farm to relax on this historical holiday. Remember bygone days as you watch someone hand-spin wool, taste farm baked cookies from our outdoor kitchen (11 a.m. -1 p.m.) and join a naturalist-led tree tour (1-2 p.m.) where you will learn fascinating facts about the many trees that grace the landscape.

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