Crowds turn out for 46th Field Days in Camden

By MELANIE SMITH
melanie@theitem.com
Posted 11/9/17

Hundreds of visitors poured into downtown Camden on Saturday and Sunday for the 46th year of the Revolutionary War Field Days event, organized by Historic Camden.

Families watched as reenactors cooked over open fires near tents adorned with …

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Crowds turn out for 46th Field Days in Camden

Reenactors fire a cannon at the 46th-annual Revolutionary War Field Days in Camden on Saturday afternoon. The event organized by Historic Camden included colonial games for children, demonstrations of traditional crafts, plenty of food to try and more.
Reenactors fire a cannon at the 46th-annual Revolutionary War Field Days in Camden on Saturday afternoon. The event organized by Historic Camden included colonial games for children, demonstrations of traditional crafts, plenty of food to try and more.
MELANIE SMITH / THE SUMTER ITEM
Posted

Hundreds of visitors poured into downtown Camden on Saturday and Sunday for the 46th year of the Revolutionary War Field Days event, organized by Historic Camden.

Families watched as reenactors cooked over open fires near tents adorned with reproductions of 1700s-era items, such as muskets, coonskin caps and pipes.

Johnny Harris stood next to others with American Colonial Civilian Interpreters as he stirred a dish called "bubble and squeak," made with cabbage, bacon and potatoes, in a cast-iron skillet. Nearby were fish attached with twine to boards for smoking and a small pumpkin nestled in ashes for roasting. Jerky cut into small pieces was hung to dry from twine near the fire.

The Indian traders tent, representing the years from 1670 to 1776, included displays of glass bead reproductions, muskets and antique pipe fragments in glass cases for visitors to see.

A few hundred yards away, Tom Haas demonstrated woodworking on a carpenter's bench, removing long, thin strips of wood from his project as families watched him work.

The main event, a reenactment of the Battle of Camden on Aug. 16, 1780, began at 1:30 p.m. and drew the biggest crowd. Spectators lined a ditch separating them from the small field in front of the Kershaw-Cornwallis House, where reenactors portraying British Army troops under Lt. Gen. Lord Cornwallis loaded cannons and fired flintlock rifles at the Continental patriots of Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates.

Meanwhile, two boys sitting near the ditch were having a discussion about which side was which. One suggested the patriots were actually the French.

Cannonfire rang around the field, and the patriots continued their volleys against their foes.

True to history, the patriots were defeated by the British and fled the battlefield, according to Historic Camden's website www.historiccamden.org, forced to leave behind those who had been mortally wounded.

The crowd clapped and cheered as those fellows were reanimated at the end of the battle and rejoined their fellow troops.

The site of the Battle of Camden is owned by Historic Camden and is free and open to the public. Guided and self-guided tours are available of the site at 222 Broad St., including the Kershaw-Cornwallis House, restored homes, a blacksmith shed and more.