The year is 1862 and Union troops fight to defend their territories against the encroaching Confederate soldiers, shooting muskets, firing cannons and setting up camp in the dense Massachusetts wood. On Saturday and Sunday, August 11th and 12th, once again the South will rise to try and defeat Union soldiers at the Battle of Seven Pines, a civil war reenactment organized and conducted by Look Park in Florence. From traditional 19th century clothes and in-character Civil War personalities, to skirmish reenactments and train robberies, 1862 won’t seem so far away as it’s recreated in our own backyard.
Deb Martin, accounting manager at Look Park and member of the 15th Massachusetts Infantry, is the creator of the Battle of the Seven Pines Civil War reenactment. As a descendant of a Union Soldier, Martin’s involvement in the Battle isn’t just as organizer, but also as participant, “I’m a private in the 15th Massachusetts Infantry, Private Auggie,” Martin says proudly, “one of my friends tried to get me to be in the Period Fashion Show, but, I’m a soldier.” Steve Braff, also a member of the 15th Massachusetts Infantry, has been Martin’s partner in organizing and creating the event. As a Corporal, Braff will lead soldiers, including Martin, into battle against the Confederate troops, muskets and canons blazing, “there’s going to be over 200 reenactors descending on the park and taking over,” says Braff.
The events begin at 8am on Saturday morning, “there will be a Confederate camp will all of the Confederate soldiers there… there will be a Union camp, with all of the Federal troops there, including artillery, and their even going to have the 32nd Massachusetts Field Hospital, which is like the ‘MASH’ unit of the Civil War,” Braff explains. To recreate what life was like in 1862 during the Civil War, also present at the event will be 19th century engineers, blacksmiths, women and children of the times. “During the war, the wives and daughters of soldiers would follow their regiments to take care of their loved ones,” says Braff, “so there will be a good demonstration of the civilian people at the time… It’s literally going to be like stepping back into 1862.”
Look Park holds many events throughout the year, many during the park’s busy summer days. As this is the first of the Civil War reenactments, the Park hopes the event is successful enough to hold them annually, “we’d like to make it bigger,” says Martin, “hopefully if we get a good crowd we can do it again next year.” The Battle of Seven Pines will be taking place beginning Saturday, August 11th at 8am until Sunday evening.