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VENTURA COUNTY | Ventura County Focus

Museum Brings Civil War to Life

January 20, 1997|COLL METCALFE

More than 1,000 Ventura County residents stepped back in time Sunday to a period when the country was at war with itself.

The Stagecoach Inn Museum, 51 S. Ventu Park Road, hosted a reenactment of life in a Civil War camp, complete with muskets, cannons, tents and more than 40 soldiers in uniform.

"It's really a living history presentation," said Ed Mann, a Thousand Oaks resident and member of the Richmond Howitzers, a group modeled after a famed Civil War artillery battery. "The public wants to examine its roots, and besides, people really like to see guns and people like me all dressed up with swords."

Mann said the camp was remarkably similar to the type one might have found on the battlefields of Manassas or Gettysburg.

The inn's lawn was lined with several heavy canvas tents, complete with woolen bedrolls, horsehair toothbrushes, wooden combs and oatmeal soap.

The reenactment also featured talks about the war, why it was fought and what life was like at the time. Those who came to watch could learn about everything from strategies used by the Union Army in the Battle of Shiloh to the types of ammunition used, and even how the Army washed its socks.

"I've definitely learned a lot already," said Brian Connelly of Newbury Park. "You learn a lot about this stuff in school so it's nice to have all this stuff out here to see."

Sandy Hilderbrandt, the museum's director, said this is the first time the museum has hosted a Civil War reenactment. She'd like to see it become an annual event.

"We're trying to do more living history programs, so I'd certainly like to see this back again," she said.

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