Battles roll into historic park

By Johnny Jackson


As dusk fades to night, two federal infantrymen with the 125th Ohio Company will make their final patrols of the Civil War-era camp. Fully dressed in their woolen, blue uniforms, they will stroll the artifact-laden plains and relive a piece of history.

Earl Zeckman and Walt Compton are members of the Dacula, Ga.,-based non-profit Atlanta Campaign, Inc., whose purpose is to put on such annual Civil War-era reenactments to help support historic preservation and conservation causes around the country.

On the weekend of Nov. 7-8, the organization will present its Annual Living History and Civil War Battle Reenactments at Nash Farm Park in Hampton.

Held at the park for the second straight year, the reenactments will include a living history encampment, and demonstration areas for students to experience life as it was during the American Civil War.

Friday, Nov. 7, has been deemed a "school program" for the weekend-long events that will focus on recreating historical scenarios of the period. Each year, more than 1,500 students make the field trip to the event, formerly held in Conyers, Ga., to experience the living history.

"We get kids from as far away as Alabama and South Carolina," said Zeckman, chairman of Atlanta Campaign, Inc. "What gives me the greatest satisfaction is seeing the smile on the kids' faces. What we like to see is the kids have a good time and see history as it lives."

This year, students will be able to take part in the activities from 9 a.m., to 1 p.m., that Friday. "Our total focus on Friday is the schools," Zeckman said.

Kilpatrick's Raid, a calvary battle reenactment, will begin at 10 a.m., on Saturday, followed by the First Day Battle of Jonesboro at 2 p.m. On Sunday, the Lovejoy Station reenactment will be held at 2 p.m. The mock battles are expected to last one hour each. Nash Farm Park, located at 4361 Jonesboro Road in Hampton, will open to the public, from 8 a.m., - 5 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday.

"I like the history and just going out there and having fun," said re-enactor, Walt Compton, also treasurer for the Atlanta Campaign. "Something like this is a good opportunity for kids to come out and live history."

During that weekend, the park will be busy with 19th Century wagons, imitation cotton gins, tents, and canons -- and the period-dressed folks using them.

"I've always enjoyed history, from the time I was a young man," added Zeckman, who does about 15 reenactments a year. "I enjoy getting away from the 21st Century."

Admission into Nash Farm Park for the Saturday and Sunday events will be $10 per adult and $5 for children, 17 years old and under. Parking will be $3 per car, the proceeds of which will go back to the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department.

"We were able to put more than $9,000 back into Nash Farm [Park] and Henry County, last year," Zeckman said. He added that the non-profit hopes to at least match the amount this year.


On the net:

Atlanta Campaign, Inc.: www.atlantacampaign.com