photo provided
photo provided
The Blue and the Gray will again march against each other on the lush meadows along the Metolius River in Camp Sherman.

The weekend of May 18-19 marks the sixth year that the American Civil War has come to Central Oregon. The living history event takes place in an expansive meadow at the private House On Metolius property near Camp Sherman.

The event immerses visitors in an open-air environment recreating the era of the 1860s. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.,m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

More than 160 reenactors come from all over Oregon and Washington to represent Northern and Southern military units and civilians. Each reenactor is a history buff eager to impart some knowledge about America in the mid-19th century, during our nation’s most tumultuous period.

This living-history weekend entertains visitors as they learn about slavery, abolition, state sovereignty and the role of the federal government. Additional topics from the 1860s that are relevant to today’s issues include social change, civil rights, citizenship, regional rivalries, liberty, and free-labor entrepreneurial capitalism.

Fully period-correct military equipment, tack, tents, housewares and supplies will be used and displayed during the weekend. Visitors are welcome to tour the camps that are set up just as they were during the Civil War. 

President Abraham Lincoln will speak Saturday at 1 p.m. and will be available for questions. This reenactor is so similar to Lincoln that visitors leave with the impression that perhaps they were momentarily transported to 1864.

The reenactors also donate their time Friday, May 17, for a School Day, when the camps of the Blue and Gray are open just for students on school field trips. Nearly 1,000 students will participate this year.

The mountain meadow setting offers over five acres of living history with campsites, stores, medical practices, music, war reporting, yarn spinning, fashion and other activities of the era. Civil War artillery, infantry and cavalry are represented.

Mock battles with cannons and muskets firing black powder are scheduled for 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. General admission is $8; seniors and students, $5. Children under six, free. Parking, $5 per vehicle to help the Boy Scouts. 

House On Metolius (www.metolius.com) is off Highway 20 two miles north of Camp Sherman, off road 1420. 

The Northwest Civil War Council (www.nwcwc.net) is a nonprofit, living-history organization dedicated to educating the public and members about the American Civil War. Through educational drama at reenactments, participants discover and learn about history and the people who lived in the 1860s.