Area museums to present Civil War Comes Alive! Saturday
by Marie Nesmith
Apr 27, 2011 | 2676 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ian Edwards views the Bartow History Museum’s temporary exhibit, “In Their Own Words: Letters and Stories from the Civil War.” The bronze bust is that of Pierce Manning Butler Young who quickly rose through the ranks to become the youngest major general in the Confederate Army. The items in the case belonged to him. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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As a Civil War re-enactor, Gary Turner is thrilled to answer questions about what it was like to be a Confederate soldier from inquisitive minds of all ages. On Saturday, the Cartersville resident will participate alongside his fellow 28th Georgia/123rd New York Volunteer Infantry members in Civil War Comes Alive! -- an event sponsored by the Bartow History Museum and the Booth Western Art Museum to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.

"We'll portray a camp scene ... and basically just [be] answering any questions that anybody might have as far as camp life or a soldier's life during the Civil War," Turner said. "[What most people do not know is] that is was very boring and there was a lot of [camp life]. People seem to think that all you did during the Civil War was fight in battle after battle after battle [but] there was a lot of down time. Then that was [replaced] with an hour or two of sheer terror as you got into battle."

While Civil War Comes Alive! will not feature any battle re-enactments, there will be numerous presentations and displays on the festival grounds of the Booth -- 501 Museum Drive in Cartersville -- from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Along with Turner's camp scene, other "stations" range from life on the home front and music to a medical/hospital tent. Cannon firing demonstrations will occur at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

"We hope to provide visitors with a glimpse into what life was like during the Civil War and just [to provide] recognition of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War," said Trey Gaines, director of the Bartow History Museum, 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville. "By interacting with the re-enactors who have done a lot of research and study on their particular subject area related to the war, whether it be medical or a blacksmith or infantry soldier -- just by interacting with those people you can really learn a lot and just get a sense of what it was like to be someone in that position. ... I would just encourage people to -- whether you have a strong interest in the Civil War or not, maybe you just want to learn more -- to come out and participate in the event.

"We're [also] going to have people representing the home front during the war. I mentioned blacksmith and medical, [and] we're also on Saturday going to have three performances from the 8th Regiment Band, a great Civil War-era band out of Rome, Ga. They're going to be here performing pieces from the time period and also give a little bit of background about those pieces. And they'll be in uniform as well. We're [also] going to [have] cannon firings throughout the day. So it's just a great opportunity to come out, see the museums and talk to people about this time period."

Admission to the event will be $10 for adults, $8 for senior individuals, $7 for students, $3 for children 12 and younger, and free for Booth members, Bartow History Museum members and active military personnel with identification. Along with entrance into Civil War Comes Alive!, the admission fees will gain visitors access into the Bartow History Museum and the Booth Western Art Museum.

"In addition to our permanent exhibitions, we both have Civil War-related temporary exhibits," Gaines said, referring to the Booth's "Mort Kunstler's Civil War Art: For us the Living" and the Bartow History Museum's "In their Own Words: Letters and Stories from the Civil War." "The letters that form the bulk of the exhibit at the history museum come primarily from one local family who were very prolific letter writers during the time period.

"We have a large collection of those letters and they just give a glimpse into the feelings that the family would have had during the war, both about what was going on around them and about being away from each other. They're written by a soldier. His name was P.M.B. Young," he said, referring to the youngest major general in the Confederate Army. "So he talks a little bit about where he is [and] different battles but also tries to ease his family's anxiety about him being away and being at war. He's always saying, 'Don't be uneasy for me. I'm fine. I'm doing fine. Yes, I'm away from you and I'm in this war, but I will return.'"

For more information about Civil War Comes Alive!, call 770-387-1300 or visit or