Stepping back in time at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield

Published 9:21 am Thursday, April 15, 2021

An encampment of soldiers armed with rifled muskets and a cavalry unit turned back the clock to 1865 last Saturday, April 10, during the Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park Commemorative Anniversary Celebration.

Civil War reenactors from as far away as Ohio gathered on the lawn of the Hillsman House where infantrymen drilled with rifled muskets while others swapped war stories around a campfire.

The Hillsman House served as a hospital during the April 1865 battle that occurred approximately 72 hours before Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.

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Blood stains, still visible on the 250-year-old hardwood floors of the home, have been preserved by placing small pieces of plexiglass over them. Replicas of the crude medical tools used at the time give an inkling of the agony experienced there.

Outside, a cavalry unit demonstrated battlefield maneuvers and strategy, including how to fire a gun while riding and showing the speed and agility of the horses as they charge the enemy lines.

The gathered visitors toured the home, talked with reenactors and watched the demonstrations from the infantry and cavalry units.