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War camp offers immersion experience

Scouts plan to gather at Miller Pasture for fun, taste of history

POSTED: September 16, 2011 9:16 a.m.
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Civil War re-enactors fire their muskets during a Boy Scouts of America Cub Scout camping event last summer in Guyton.

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From the boom of cannons to the notes of “Dixie” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Miller Pasture in Allenhurst will be alive with the sounds of the Civil War this weekend as Boy Scouts get front-row seats for a historical re-enactment.

Pack leaders anticipate a crowd of about 500 as Boy Scouts of America Coastal Empire Council Cub Scouts and their parents gather for a weekend Heritage Cuboree to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the commencement of the Civil War, according to Pack 141 Cub Master Lonnie Dombrowsky.

The event also will feature an estimated 50 Civil War re-enactors from throughout the Southeast, as well as representatives from Fort Jackson, Fort Pulaski and Fort McAllister, he said.

Saturday’s weapons demonstration will begin with a bang — and a surprise.

“It’s going to be a real-live battle much like the battle of Manassas. We didn’t want to give up the total surprise to them,” Dombrowsky said about the afternoon skirmish.

Weekend campouts are a frequent occurrence for the Cubs, but their themes and locations vary greatly, Dombrowsky said. The last Cuboree he coordinated was a medieval-themed event.

“My whole philosophy when I put camps together is I want it to be educational and fun,” he said.

“I tell everybody this is a living history lesson,” Dombrowsky said. “You know, you can get a history book and read, and you can discuss it in class — but there’s something about being able to touch a cannon, smell the gunpowder, see the camps and learn from people who truly believe they are living the moment.”

The event also falls on the 149th anniversary of the battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg to the Confederates, which was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, he said.

Rick Phillips, a Richmond Hill resident and re-enactor, took part in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as a child and recalls being thrilled by such events. Now, he said, giving children a taste of history is one of his favorite things about the hobby.

Pack 141 parent Marcus Hursey said his sons, 7-year-old Wilson and future Cub Scout Wyatt, 4, have been eager to go to the event since they learned about it.

“They know they’re going to have a good time,” he said about weekend campouts. “(Wilson) is excited the whole time we’re there.”

Hursey enjoys knowing that the events are Christian-based, patriotic opportunities to see history in action, he added.
The re-enactors will offer tours of their campsites, explain the significance of their uniforms and share stories about their roles in the war, Dombrowsky said.

“We’re going to take them through the Confederate side of camp, and they’ll learn from the Confederates their version of things,” Dombrowsky said. “And then we’ll take them through the Union and they’ll learn the Union side of things.”

After sunset, the Cubs will gather around a campfire and hear live period music performed by members of the 22nd Heavy Artillery Group, a Civil War band with banjoes, stand-up basses, accordions, harmonics and more.

When they sign in at the camp, the Cubs will receive blue or gray kepis, or military caps, to represent the sides of the war and establish teams for the weekend’s competitions. Cubs will take part in sack races, water wars, tug-of-war matches as well as horseback riding and assorted crafts between the skirmishes Saturday.

Due to the venue’s capacity, the event is not open to the public, Dombrowsky said. Admission is $15 for Scouts and $7 for parents and siblings.

“Much like the Civil War where families were separated by their own choice, in the same aspect, the kids are going to learn how to separate from the group that they’re in and integrate with a new group and be forced to work as a team with people they don’t know.”

 

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