WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Gunfire popped Sunday afternoon during a re-enacted Civil War battle that closed a weekend encampment at Renfrew Park.
Cream-colored tents dotted the park’s forested areas for the annual encampment.
“Where we camp out is very nice. ... The battles are really good. It’s a calm, easy event,” said Ronald Carstetter, an Arendtsville, Pa., resident who participated in the battle with the 24th North Carolina Co. B.
Spectators lined a stone wall for the generic battle that followed a period church service. Carstetter said the most common question he is asked by spectators is how he knows when to die when portraying a battle.
The decision to “die” is basically a judgment call based in part on how long the battle should continue, Carstetter said.
For 11-year-old spectator Jacob Akers, the Waynesboro event marked his third encampment of the year. The Chambersburg, Pa., boy said he thinks experiencing living-history displays will prove beneficial when the Civil War is taught in school.
“It’ll definitely help me out,” he said.
Visiting encampments has helped the family learn about the retreat from Gettysburg, Pa., and other history that shouldn’t be forgotten, said Chris Akers, Jacob’s father.
The Alexander family from Charlotte, N.C., was visiting relatives in Franklin County, Pa., when they learned about the encampment. For parents who honeymooned in Gettysburg and children who have cooked over open fires, the encampment was a necessary stop on their vacation.
Tim and Jill Alexander said the communities around the Mason-Dixon Line have more opportunities for Civil War aficionados than North Carolina.
Their son, Joshua Alexander, said he was surprised by Sunday’s crowd for the battle.
“There aren’t a lot of people here,” said Joshua, 14.
“Sometimes, I wonder if people are forgetting their history,” Tim Alexander said.
Jill Alexander suggested the region’s residents might simply be inundated with events similar to the one at Renfrew Park.
Jane Schur of Waynesboro said proximity to the Mason-Dixon Line helps facilitate conversations with children about the war’s opposing sides. She brought her 10-year-old grandson, Vasil Schur, to the encampment, like she’s done for a few years.
“It’s history, it’s educational and we enjoy it,” Jane Schur said.
“I come here because I want to see how the battle went, and I like to learn about the Civil War,” Vasil Schur said.