Gene and Brenda Bost have a love for history and have hosted historical re-enactments at their historic Bost Grist Mill since 2000.The mill, at 4701 N.C. 200 south of Concord, was established in 1810, moved 200 yards north in 1908 because of flooding and renovated in 1989 before reopening to the public in 1997.The mill is fully operational, still grinds corn into meal and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The 30th North Carolina Troops, Company K, staged a fictional Civil War battle at the mill Sept. 7-8.Re-enactors from Canada, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the Carolinas came together to provide living history for the weekend.Most of the “soldiers” portray companies from the Confederate side, but most also carry the uniforms and gear that are authentic to the Union side as well, to help with staging battles. About 200 soldiers and 50 women and children set up camps Sept. 6 and slept outdoors before the battles on Saturday and Sunday.Participants pay minute attention to detail, setting up their tents with the same accessories that 1860s soldiers would have used.The women cook meals over open fires, dressed in heavy clothing of the period and using cookware appropriate for the time.Bob Koenig and his wife, Barbara, brought their three daughters – 9-year-old Lydia, 12-year-old Abbey and 15-year-old Rachel – as a history field trip. The Koenigs are home-schooled and had been studying about the 1830s, and Bob thought the Civil War era was close enough to that period to help enhance the lessons.Michael Ridge, portraying a Union private in the camp, explained the weapons and Civil War camp life to the family. He told them about the canvas tents and buckets.“Canvas will keep the water out (for tents) or in (for buckets), as long as you don’t touch it,” Ridge said. “Once you touch it, the leaks will begin.”All re-enactors take their roles seriously. In portraying a historical period, they want to be as accurate as possible. Uniforms and weapons are expensive, and owning a uniform for each side doubles the cost.Since most of these soldiers belong to Confederate units, for this battle some had to don their Union uniforms to represent the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment. They were to fight the 30th North Carolina Troops, Company K, defending the breastworks behind the old mill.It was not strictly a re-enactment of an actual historical battle, since there was no known battle at or near the Bost Grist Mill. Instead, it was a representation of how a battle might have played out there during the Civil War.Union troops spread out across the valley as they approached the breastworks. A volley of black-powder rifle shots from the breastworks pierced the air as Union troops approached and returned fire. Thunderous booms quickly followed as the two sides exchanged cannon fire and the Union troops tried to outflank the Confederates.Once the outnumbered Union soldiers started to fall back, the Confederates advanced, shooting some of the retreating soldiers.Cannon fire by the Union troops on the opposing hill stopped the Confederates’ advance and cut down many of the foot soldiers.The battle surged back and forth for almost an hour before the Union troops retreated and the Confederates held the breastworks, screaming rebel yells of victory.
Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013
Battle at Bost Grist Mill south of Concord treats spectators to a glimpse of the Civil War
Visit the mill Bost Grist Mill is on N.C. 200 south of Concord, just east of U.S. 601. It is open year-round for tours and special events, by appointment only. For more information visit www.bostgristmill.com or call 704-782-1600.
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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