01/20/04 — First re-enactment of Goldsboro battle planned

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First re-enactment of Goldsboro battle planned

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on January 20, 2004 2:03 PM

The sights and sounds of a Civil War battle will fill Waynesborough Historical Village as about 200 participants re-create the Battle of Goldsborough Bridge.

Danny Davis, who has been involved in battle re-enactments since 1984, has organized the event, to be held Jan. 31 through Feb. 1.

It is the first time in the county's history that the battle has been commemorated with a re-enactment, said Davis.

He said 95 percent of Wayne County residents do not realize that a significant Civil War battle took place at the bridge.

On Dec. 17, 1862, Gen. John G. Foster led 12,000 Union soldiers to burn the railroad bridge just below Goldsboro in present-day Mar Mac. He was opposed by Confederate Gen. Clingman who had about 1,600 men.

This desperate struggle will be re-enacted in the former state park land behind the village.

The participants are military historians who re-create battle scenes as a hobby. They come from all over the East Coast and have various professions. The battles are re-created as far south as Florida and up the coast, he said. They will represent various infantries and artilleries on both sides of the war.

They will arrive on Friday evening to set up, and the camps will be open to the public on Saturday, Jan. 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The entire village will be used to show costumed interpreters creating a living history of camp conditions during the war, with field artillery and drill demonstrations.

The schedule for Saturday includes civilian demonstrations all day, infantry drill demonstrations at both the Confederate and Union camps at 10:30 a.m., men and women Civil War fashion shows in the visitor's center at 11 a.m., an artillery demo at 11:30 a.m., soldier presentations about camp life including their weapons, uniforms and flags at 12:30 p.m., and a history of the Goldsboro expedition by Union Gen. Foster and Confederate Gen. Evans in the visitor's center at 1 p.m.

There is a period church service scheduled on Sunday at 11 a.m. and another fashion show at 2:30 p.m.

Randy Sauls, a Goldsboro native and historian, will tell about the battle in the visitor's center one hour before each re-enactment. The battles are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The event is free and open to the public.

Sauls will also be available to answer questions during the day about the event. The entire battle will not be re-created, just different parts of it each day.

He said the battle occurred mainly because the Union Army wanted to destroy the railroad the Confederates used to transports supplies up the East Coast.

The railroad bridge was burned by the Union soldiers, and they spent two days tearing up the track, he said.

He estimated that around 175 Confederate soldiers died during the battle and fewer than 100 Union soldiers perished.

Sauls plans to have a marker placed on the battlefield in the Mar Mac area in May and at the Wayne County Museum to commemorate it.

The village is at 801 U.S. 117 S. For more information on the re-enactment or other activities, call 731-1653.