Civil War re-enactment brings artillery, cavalry, and infantry to Fairfield

Gunners from the Richmond Howitzers deliver a stinging blast against opposing Union infantry during a battle fought Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Good Will Hinckley School in Fairfield. The battle was part of the “We Are Coming, Father Abraham” Civil War re-enactment. (Bangor Daily News Photo by Brian Swartz)

The fields and forests at Good Will Hinckley School in Fairfield echoed to cannon and rifle fire today as Confederate and Union re-enactors fought an exciting “battle” before an appreciative crowd of more than 200 people.

Gunsmoke swirls around members of the 3rd Maine Infantry and 20th Maine Infantry as they advance to meet attacking Confederates at the Good Will Hinckley School in Fairfield on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. (Brian Swartz Photo)

Participating in the two-day Civil War encampment known as “We Are Coming, Father Abraham,” civilian and military re-enactors converged on Fairfield to set up camp, drill on a large field, and stage battles on Aug. 25-26. The weekend was organized by the Maine Living History Association.

Representing the Confederacy were such units as the 15th Alabama Infantry, the 12th Georgia Infantry, and the Richmond Howitzers. Union units included the 3rd Maine Infantry, the 20th Maine Infantry (including Co. I from the Canadian Maritimes), and the U.S. Naval Landing Party, which set up a very informative display and also provided, courtesy of the unit’s “Iron Jacks,” period music.

Dismounted Confederate cavalrymen from the 35th Virginia Cavalry fire on Union infantry at the Good Will Hinckley School in Fairfield on Aug. 25. Note the shotgun! (Brian Swartz Photo)

Mounted cavalrymen fight in the distance as dismounted Confederate cavalry advance on Union infantry at Fairfield on Aug. 25. (Brian Swartz Photo)

On a rare occasion at a Maine encampment, cavalry participated, with the 35th Virginia Cavalry bringing six colorful horses and at least twice as many cavalrymen to Fairfield. During the Saturday afternoon battle, six riders — three Confederate, three Union — dueled with pistols and sabers, and two Union cavalrymen made threatening moves against several dismounted Confederate cavalrymen (all from the 35th VA) who were advancing upon deployed Union infantry.

The re-enactors started arriving Friday afternoon to set up camp, with a belt of overgrown woods separating the Confederate and Union camps near the Bates Museum on Route 201. Civilian re-enactors set up nearby in the “Town of Harmony,” and visitors arriving both days walked through the town while on their way to the military camps.

Representing the “Iron Jacks,” a musical group drawn from members of the U.S. Naval Landing Party, Bob deLisle of Northampton, Mass. plays the banjo, and Dave Dziewulski of Troy, N.Y. plays the guitar — and they both sing — during a Civil War re-enactment held in Fairfield Aug. 25-26. (Brian Swartz Photo)

Starting near dusk Friday night, a film crew from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network shot much footage for the “Maine at Gettysburg” documentary, slated for release next summer in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Friday’s nights filming recreated the 20th Maine’s bayonet charge at Little Round Top, and drums rousted re-enactors about 4:30 a.m., Saturday, so the film crew could shoot footage of camp life.

“Fighting” footage was shot Saturday morning in the GWH field, and the MPBN camera people also filmed the afternoon battle.

Delaware author Thomas William Tear displays a hairwork necklace and cross made circa 1850-1860, plus a cameo and earrings made in Italy from Mount Vesuvius lava. Tear creates hairwork jewelry, a skill almost lost after hair lost its popularity in hair pieces and jewelry in the early 20th century. He shared his knowledge about the art with many visitors to this weekend’s Civil War encampment in Fairfield. (Brian Swartz Photo)

Several authors spoke during the re-enactment, and some merchants set up shop in the Town of Harmony.

The encampment will continue from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 26, so there’s still time to experience the Civil War at Fairfield. Take Route 201 north of Interstate 95 and follow the directional signs to the site.

A crew from Maine Public Broadcasting films Confederate soldiers advancing to capture two Union soldiers on Aug. 25 at Good Will Hinckley School. The filming was done for the MPBN documentary “Maine at Gettysburg,” set for release next summer. (Brian Swartz Photo)

Two MPBN cameramen film two Union soldiers surrendering to Confederate soldiers at the Good Will Hinckley School in Fairfield on Saturday, Aug. 25. MPBN did quite a bit of filming during the weekend’s Civil War encampment for a “Maine at Gettysburg” documentary scheduled for release next summer. (Brian Swartz Photo)


Brian Swartz

About Brian Swartz

Welcome to "Maine at War," the blog about the roles played by Maine and her sons and daughters in the Civil War. I am a Civil War buff and a newspaper editor recently retired from the Bangor Daily News. Maine sent hero upon hero — soldiers, nurses, sailors, chaplains, physicians — south to preserve their country in the 1860s. “Maine at War” introduces these heroes and heroines, who, for the most part, upheld the state's honor during that terrible conflict. We tour the battlefields where they fought, and we learn about the Civil War by focusing on Maine’s involvement with it. Be prepared: As I discover to this very day, the facts taught in American classrooms don’t always jibe with Civil War reality. I can be reached at