They could be carrying muskets or M-16s, sticks and stones, swords or slings, but they will be ready for battle. loaded for bear -- and ready to tell you all about it.
Armies Through Time, a living timeline of military history, returns to Historic Camden Friday through Sunday. The weekend will feature historical re-enactors representing armies and wars throughout history, from the formidable Spartan warriors of ancient Greece to present day veterans of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts.
Attendees will not only meet warriors from ancient Greece, the middle ages, the American Revolution and early frontier days, but will also have a chance to learn more about the evolution of uniforms, equipment, weapons and camp life, as well as see tactical demonstrations, military displays, War Dogs and military vehicles. There will also be children’s activities throughout the weekend.
"As of today (March 2) we have about 25 different groups coming, from the Greek Spartans to current National Guard units from present conflicts," Dane Coffman, president of Military Timeline Impressions, a non-profit group that specializes in military history said. "We have units from the War of 1812, the Civil War, even a couple of representatives from the Texas War for Independence."
In fact, few people realize that two major figures of the Texas War for Independence, cousins William Barrett Travis and James Butler Bonham, both of whom were killed at the Alamo, were originally from Saluda County, South Carolina, Coffman said.
The weekend will start with candlelight tours from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday evening through the various camps. This has been a popular aspect of the weekend, with small groups of 10-20 people coming through and talking to the re-enactors at each camp. The tours and activities will continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"We’re working on a true timeline where you start at one spot and follow history through today," Coffman said, "This will be the set up throughout the weekend."
Another popular activity throughout the weekend are the McCaa Tavern chats on the porch, during which attendees can sit down and chat with some of the historians as well as veterans. These sessions are held two or three times a day, Coffman said.
"We’ll also have at least one veteran of the Battle of the Bulge there who will be talking with people about his experiences," Coffman said. "As a matter of fact, if there are any veterans out there who would like to come out and chat with the public about their experiences, they are very welcome. Just identify yourself when you get there and we’ll make arrangements for you to do just that."
Admission and parking is free but donations are greatly appreciated and gladly accepted. Food concessions will be available. No pets, please.
For more information call 422-7468 or email Dane Coffman at Dwcoffman@aol.com.