3rd Maine Company camp during a previous re-enactors mock Civil War rally. File photo

A child in period costume at a re-enactors event. Submitted photo

LIVERMORE — Step into the past and experience the sights and sounds of the Civil War Era. Hands-on history activities planned for all ages during two days of living history fun at the Norlands.
The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore, at 290 Norlands Road, plans to host its Civil War Living History Weekend on Oct. 9 and 10. This family friendly event features a wide variety of demonstrations, exhibits, and engaging activities remembering the activities of the Civil War. It is co-organized by the 3rd Maine Company A and 15th Alabama Company G to benefit Maine’s premier living history farm and museum.

The Norlands is a 400-acre museum and working farm that is the ancestral home of the Washburn family. While no actual battles took place at Norlands, the historic site has a real connection to the Civil War. The Washburns from Livermore were one of the nations’ most influential political families of the 19th century and had a hand in transforming the nation at the time of the Civil War.

Israel Washburn, Jr. was elected as governor of Maine in 1861 and quickly became known as Maine’s little-known giant of the Civil War. He sent more troops per capita than any other northern state. His younger brother Elihu was instrumental in getting Abraham Lincoln elected to the presidency. Samuel served in the U.S. Navy and was Acting Master of the ironclad gunboat, U.S.S. Galena, when it sustained fire on the James River. Samuel was wounded in the hip, an injury that caused him pain the rest of his life.

Their sister Caroline married Freeland Holmes, a doctor from Foxcroft, who volunteered with the 6th Maine Regiment. Freeland died in 1863 leaving Caroline as a widow with two small children. These are just a few examples of how the family influenced and were impacted by the Civil War. Hear more about the Washburn’s remarkable achievements and how the War affected their lives, and those of their Livermore neighbors, during Rally for Norlands.
Union and Confederate military and civilian re-enactors from across New England will be camped on the grounds. Walk through the encampments to experience what life was like for soldiers. Cavalry units are also planning to attend. Living historians will scrimmage with replica weaponry and perform drilling and firing demonstrations. The 6th Maine Battery will fire their Parrott Rifle/cannon. A full-scale battle scenario will be staged each day on the hay fields of the Norlands (2:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday).
Throughout the weekend, guests can see blacksmithing demonstrations, tour the 1883 Washburn Memorial Library, and play old-fashioned games. Special Civil War theme lessons will be offered in the one-room schoolhouse. Guests also have the opportunity to try on period clothing in the historic dress-up tent.
The Washburns & Their Neighbors in the Civil War at 1 p.m. Saturday. Several of the Washburn brothers held positions that influenced the War and several of their Livermore neighbors served and lost their lives. In this presentation, Willi Irish, Norlands’ Director of Interpretation and Training, will share original letters, photographs, diary entries and military records that reflect how the War affected life in Livermore.
Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the grounds.

On Saturday, the Jay-Livermore Falls Lions Club will sell hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. On Saturday and Sunday, some lunch and snack items will also be for sale, while supplies last.
The event opens at 9 a.m. each day. Tickets will be sold the day of the event or can be purchased online through the Norlands’ website. Members of Norlands enjoy 20% off admission rates. The daily rate is $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 6 to 12 ($16/$8 members), free for children 5 and younger.
Parking is available in the field, across the street from the church. Enter the event at the admission booth located behind the church.
For the safety and comfort of all animals and visitors, there are no dogs or other pets allowed on the property during Rally for Norlands. Service animals are the exception.
For more information, visit norlands.org.

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