Colton Corner: Visitors experience Civil War life at annual reenactment
Cannon and musket fire helped bring history to life as the non-profit, Northwest Civil War Council, held their Battle of Colton Civil War Reenactment at the Horning Seed Orchard on Saturday and Sunday.
The event was as much about the lives of the soldiers off the battle field as on. Those in attendance had a chance to experience how the soldiers would have lived and spent their spare time during the Civil War years. They could also see how the troops drilled and got ready for battles including cannon and artillery demonstrations. Visitors got to look into how the civilians lived and worked during the war. Walking around the tent villages gave you a chance to visit with craftsmen, musicians, cooks and medics as they showed what their daily lives would have been like in the 1860s. The participants enjoyed potluck meals with foods that were from the time to keep the days as historically accurate as possible.
"I made and brought hard tack to share," Nancy Saint Cyr said. She and her husband, Wayne, traveled from Washington to participate in the historical event.
Molly McDaniel and her family drove over from the Sisters area to portray a southern family.
"People think of us as the bad guys, and I suppose we would have been, but in every reenactment there has to be both sides," McDaniel said. "I come from a theater background and had the costumes and after the first time participating our family was hooked. We study the history of the southern army and the lifestyle of the 1860s so we can recreate it as accurately as possible."
"We do these events to keep history alive," event coordinator Don Benson said. "We are here to educate the public about the Civil War and life in our country during those years."
Benson said he had four grandfathers and nine uncles (all of them several generations back) who fought as part of the Union Army.
Benson stated that more than two hundred reenactors from every walk of life participated in the event in Colton. He also noted that the weapons used are reproductions true to historic design and black powder is utilized for the firing replication.
On Sunday, the morning began with a church service and in the afternoon, Abraham Lincoln was scheduled to speak.
"This weekend exceeded our expectations," Benson said. 'We had more in attendance in the first hours of Saturday then we had during the whole day last year."
An attendee from Salem mentioned just how beautiful the Colton area is and how much they had learned from their visit to the Civil War Reenactment.