PLATTSBURGH - The Civil War is coming to town.
The Clinton County Historical Association, in conjunction with the 11th New York Battery Light Artillery and the Alexandria Battery CSA will host a Civil War reenactment this Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16, on the grounds of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base off Washington Road.
Wayne and Matthew Hewson, a father-son team from West Chazy, are overseeing this year's event, excited to continue a tradition of hosting reenactments year after year in the city.
"It's growing every year," said Wayne. "We have more posters out, word of mouth is out there. So, we're hoping to have a decent crowd with decent weather."
Last year, the event received heavy rain the first day of the two-day event. However, the Hewsons said that doesn't stop the reenactors from taking the field.
"It happens rain or shine," said Wayne. "There was no stopping back then if there was rain. No matter what the weather was, the battle went on."
The free event will be the same as in years passed, said Matthew, with the exception of additional artillery for this year's battles.
"We have two more artillery pieces coming - cannons - so we're looking forward to having six guns in total on the field," said Matthew, "which will definitely up the noise."
Dannemora Federal Credit Union has also made a financial contribution toward the reenactment that will help with the expense of cannon powder, a key ingredient for the recipe to a great performance, said Wayne.
"It's nice to see they're supporting this local event," said Wayne.
When some here think of the Civil War, they don't necessarily realize it was a war that was directly connected to the North Country, said Wayne.
"When you think about the Civil War, a lot of people think about Gettysburg, but that's not the only focal point of it.
"There were people from the North Country that actually did fight in the Civil War," he said, "two of which were the 60th New York Infantry Regiment and the 118th Regiment, which are going to be portrayed this weekend."
"There's a wealth of units that came from this area," he added.
One-hundred-twenty reenactors from across the country are expected to represent the Union and Confederate sides this weekend, representing fighting that could have occurred during the 1864-65 period of the war.
"Basically, this will be a battle you could've seen, but didn't necessarily happen," said Matthew.
This year, the event will feature "extensive camp life portrayals," said Matthew. Spectators will be able to walk through camps designed to look like what would would have been seen during the Civil War.
"It's really the most important part of the war because the battles were very short," explained Matthew. "Life was still life and you had to live every day in between battles."
The weekend's activities will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. with the opening of the camps, followed by the first battle at 11 a.m. Demonstrations will continue throughout the day and a second battle will take place at 4 p.m. Camps will close at 5 p.m. but reopen for a half-hour at 8:30 p.m. for a candlelight tour.
On Sunday, camps will reopen at 9 a.m. with cannon demonstrations at 10 a.m. The final battle will take place at 1 p.m., with the event wrapping up at 2 p.m.
The Clinton County Historical Museum will also open its doors this weekend to display an exhibit about the North Country connection to the Civil War, created by Matthew Hewson and author Vicki Evans