During the April 2nd and April 3rd living history program at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park, over 350 visitors were able to explore different scenes portraying aspects of the battle. Reenactors representing various groups who fought here on April 6, 1865 were stationed throughout the park.
Two gentlemen portraying Confederate sailors, Calvin Ashwell and Terry Wooldridge, set up camp on the monument trail near the site where Confederate sailors were engaged the day of the battle. The 18th Virginia Company G “Nottoway Grays” were camped behind the Hillsman Farm House and had a refurbished Civil War ambulance on display. They performed drills and firing demonstrations for the crowds.
Inside the Hillsman Farm House John Pelletier portrayed a Civil War surgeon. He displayed examples of medical instruments and medicines. At the Marshall’s Crossroads battle site, behind the Visitor Center, John Butler had artillery demonstrations on the hour.
Park Manager Chris Calkins spoke with the Amelia Historical Society about exhibit plans for the Visitor Center. The society members then visited the living history stations and received a tour of the Hillsman Farm House where a new addition was on display, a portrait of Captain James Hillsman. Captain Hillsman was the wartime owner of the house.
The living history stations, portrait of Captain Hillsman, and battle accounts helped put a human face on the story of the battle. Park staff and volunteers helped breathe life into the historical interpretation of the Battle of Sailor’s Creek 146 years later.