LAURINBURG — An epic battle has come to Laurinburg and residents can see all the action.
Today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., a Civil War reenactment is taking place on the grounds of the John Blue House — now also called the North Carolina Rural Heritage Center. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.
The day will feature on-the-hour artillery fire, infantry and artillery skirmishes, cavalry, youth enlistment, training and certification.
This year’s reenactment is the second time the North Carolina Rural Heritage Center, off X-way Road, has hosted such as event, and the Scotland County Historic Properties Commission hopes to continue the event in years to come.
“We would like to make this an annual event and as the years go through we hope to get more actors and hopefully more people to come watch,” said Lee Gaunt, chairman of the Scotland County Historic Properties Commission. Organizers have spent more than 60 hours preparing the site for the reenactment.
Today’s forecast shows a chance for showers, but unlike the 2016 John Blue Festival that was cancelled because of the weather, the reenactment is taking place rain or shine, according to Lee Gaunt, Scotland County Historic Properties Commission chair.
The 2016 reenactment saw some rain too, but there were still more than 500 spectators who braved the wet and rainy battlefield.
“Last year was a cold and wet day and we had a bunch of die hards that came out anyway. The rain kept numbers lower than they could have been,” said Phillip McRae, who serves on the Historic Properties Commission.
The reenactment will feature two infantry skirmishes, with the first at 12:30 p.m. and the second at 4:30 p.m.
Cannons will also be fired on the hour every hour, according to Gaunt. “I love when they shoot the cannons. They make a lot of noise and it is very impressive.”
“We will have really good speaker. They are experts on Civil War subjects and their stories are very interesting to me,” McRae said.
The reenactment will also feature stories about the “Cruelty in Northern Prison Camps During the War,” which will be told by Richard Triebe, historian and author from Wilmington.
The historian and author, Keith Jones of Burlington will be sharing the story “On Sherman’s Flanks: Gen. Joe Wheeler’s Cavalry in the Carolinas.”
The participation of Laurinburg circa 1865 in the Civil War will also be presented by Bernhard Thuersam, a historian from Wilmington.
The event will end at 5 p.m. with an artillery salute to North Carolina veterans.
The day is sponsored by the Scotland County Historic Properties Commission. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and the John Blue House, the Indian Museum of the Carolinas, and the Museum of Agriculture and History will also be open free of charge.
Although admission is free, the Historic Commission will have a donation box at the event, Gaunt said.
For information, call 910-277-2456.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171