Do you want to witness the mesmerizing reenactment of the historical civil war? History has an inexplicable charm to it, and when you watch it live, the feeling is simply surreal. You are sure to get goosebumps watching the bizarre yet utterly significant scenes.
So, here are the 10 largest civil war reenactments in the USA for all antiquity and drama enthusiasts. But, that is not all. In this post, you will also get your hands on all the information about the tickets and reenactment roles if available.
Before getting to the exciting list, let us learn a little more about the civil war reenactments in the USA. Fasten your seatbelts and jump in!
What is a Civil War Reenactment?
For those who are new to this, a classical reenactment is a portrayal of a historical event presented by enthusiasts and hobbyists. They recreate the eminent incidents of the past to put up an entertaining show while educating the spectators about that particular occurrence.
The American civil war (1861-1865) is one such episode that holds substantial importance worldwide. It was primarily related to the protest against slavery and occurred between the northern and the southern states.
Civil war reenactment is a presentation of battles and affairs that took place during the era of the American civil war. It is enjoyed by an array of audiences in the USA as well as other countries around the world. These include Italy, Poland, Canada, Denmark, Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany.
10 Largest Civil War Reenactments in the USA
Civil war reenactments commenced in the 1960s and have since gained immense popularity, especially in the US. Here is a list of the 10 largest civil war reenactments in the USA that will take you to the 19th century.
Watch how the soldiers thrived in battles, with a mix of failures and triumphs at every step!
1. Gettysburg Civil War Battle Reenactment – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Comprehensively enacted over 4 days, the Gettysburg Civil War Battle Reenactment is the USA’s largest civil war reenactment in history. It is a galore of 200 horses, over 5,000 reenactors, and 70 cannons. You are sure to gain extensive knowledge about the most significant battle at this wonderful reenactment.
The battle was fought between the Confederate army of General Robert E. Lee and the Union’s Army of the Potomac. It lasted from July 1-July 3, 1863, with the Union triumphing and stopping the confederate’s invasion of the North.
Is it Still Active?
The Gettysburg civil war battle reenactment is still active, though it was canceled in the year 2020 due to covid-19.
The 158th Anniversary of the battle will take place in 2021. You can enjoy the celebration that will offer activities like artillery and cavalry demonstrations, restored house & barn tours, history programs, and much more.
You can witness the event of knowledge and thrill at the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association’s (GBPA) 146-acre Daniel Lady Farm.
If you wish to attend, you can purchase tickets for Saturday or Sunday, with a discount for children’s tickets (6-12 years). You can also opt for 2-day or family tickets at a great bargain! The spectator tickets are not yet out, but you can check here to bag some as they arrive.
Date: July 2nd – 4th, 2021
Address:Historic Daniel Lady Farm, 1008 Hanover Street, Gettysburg, PA 17325
If you want to participate in the largest civil war battle, the wait is over. The GBPA has already opened registrations for reenactors. The prices vary from $1 for children (under 12 years) to $20 for adults.
Note: If you had booked tickets for the 2020 event that was canceled, you can use the same credit for 2021.
2. Brooksville Raid Reenactment – Brooksville, Florida
The largest civil war reenactment of Florida—the Brooksville Raid is held in January, every year, for the last 4 decades. It is the reenactment of the Hernando County Battle, 1864. The event includes a wide range of activities, letting you take a sneak peek at the lives of people in the 19th century.
The Brooksville Raid occurred on July 3, 1864, where 240 men arrived at Hernando County on 4 large ships. They attacked and destroyed the Confederate supply and communication lines, as this site was left vulnerable with most Generals attending the Tampa Conference.
Apart from the mesmerizing battle reenactment, the list of events includes a live encampment—where you can walk through the camps. Further, they also organize a vintage baseball game for the sports enthusiasts, Ladies Tea, and multiple artillery demonstrations.
It also has multiple stores and saloons, where Sutlers sell historical ornaments, flags, costumes, and food items. The Hernando Historical Museum is open for visitors, along with history books and articles offered for purchase.
Is It Still Active?
Owing to the covid-19 crisis, declined audiences, and a few other internal matters, the Brooksville Raid reenactment is no longer active. The joint sponsors of this event—Hernando Historical Museum Association and the North Pinellas County Scout Sertoma Club have unfortunately ended the agreement.
The Tampa Bay Council of the Boy Scouts of America has canceled the 1,300-acre Sand Hill Scout Reservation. Therefore, the event will not take place in 2021. Moreover, organizers are unsure about its future.
The enactment was held at Sand Hill Scout Reservation, 11210 Cortez Boulevard, Brooksville, Florida 34613, for the last 30 years. It offered tickets for adults for $10 each and children for $6. However, now the organizers are searching for a new site.
The event stands canceled until further notice.
3. Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Ocean Pond or Olustee – Sanderson, Florida
The largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War—the Battle of Olustee, was held on February 20, 1864. Its reenactment is a large fair of historic charisma and events, that lasts for 4 days, every year in February.
The battle took place to sever Confederate armies and supply roots, and also to secure Union enclaves. Brigadier General Truman Seymour reached Jacksonville, Florida, with his army. They raided the northeast and north-central areas of the city.
Brigadier General Joseph Finegan was the in-charge of the Confederate troops and charged his soldiers until the Unions retreated.
The event includes a host of activities ranging from parades, artillery demonstrations to music concerts, Ladies Tea, and battle reenactments. You can also visit the authentic campsites, watch medical demonstrations, and attend the civil war memorial service.
Is It Still Active?
The Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Olustee is active since 1976. However, due to the pandemic risk factors, it will not be held in 2021. The good news is, the next event is already re-scheduled for 2022.
The event is open to the general public for all three days. The tickets are priced at $12 for adults and $6 for children. Click here for further information regarding entry gates and parking.
Date: February 18th – 22nd, 2022
Address:Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, U.S. 90, 15 miles east of Lake City and 50 miles west of Jacksonville.
Note: You can avail the FREE bus shuttle from the Dowling Center.
If you want to participate, you can register from Thursday, 17th February. There is NO REGISTRATION FEE for the reenactors. Moreover, once you register, you will become a Florida State Park Volunteer for the weekend.
You will also be provided Workman’s Compensation, in case you incur any injury during this time.
4. Battle of Aiken Reenactment – Aiken, South Carolina
History comes to life every year when Aiken hosts its annual Battle of Aiken Reenactment in February. Since 1995, the town has been organizing the event for information and entertainment for locals and tourists alike.
The Battle of Aiken took place on February 11, 1865. It commenced when General William Techumseh Sherman instructed Major General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick to go to the Aiken County. The Confederates Major General Joseph Wheeler battled against Kilpatrick and gained victory.
The battle reenactment is a large-scale Civil War festival, with multiple foods and ornament booths. The site also hosts military encampments, medical demonstrations, and the history of the Civil War era.
Is It Still Active?
Yes, the Battle of Aiken Reenactment is active, with its next event scheduled for 2021. Like every year, the 27th reenactment event will include multiple activities, demonstrations, and booths. It includes Victorian Dance demonstration, Ladies Tea, Shoot-Out, Fashion Show, and much more.
The organizers dedicate Friday to schoolchildren without any fees. The day includes a multitude of displays by soldiers, confederates, potters and candle makers, field hospitals, encampments, and more.
On Saturday and Sunday, the event is open to the general public. Tickets cost $5 for young kids (5-12 years), $10 for older kids (13-18 years), and $15 for adults.
Date:February 21st – 23rd , 2021
Address:1210 Powell Pond Road, Aiken SC 29801
If you want to participate in the Battle of Aiken Reenactment, you can register as a reenactor. You may register in the artillery, cavalry, infantry, living history, and civilians groups. You must note that artillery and cavalry troops are by invitation only.
You can pick the individual, unit, and youth organization registration forms at the official website or registration trailer.
5. Annual Reenactment of the Battle for Broxton Bridge – Broxton Bridge, South Carolina
The Battle for Broxton Bridge Reenactment has been taking place annually for the last 2 decades. It is a display of the battle that took place on February 1, 1865. Apart from the war, you can also witness a presentation of the everyday lives of the 19th-century people.
Union General William T. Sherman went ahead with an army of sixty thousand veterans to battle in Columbia. Here, one wing of the military attempted to invade one of the significant crossings—the Broxton Bridge but failed. The Confederate army did not let them cross and gained victory over them.
The Battle of Broxton Bridge enacts this very incident, with much authenticity and charm. You can enjoy the historic galore of cannons, live history, encampments, and much more. The event also puts up multiple foods, beverages, and ornaments booths.
It is sponsored by a non-government organization—Salt-Ketchers Chapter #6 Order of Confederate Rose.
Is It Still Active?
The 20th Annual Reenactment of the Battle for Broxton Bridge will be held in March 2021. You can visit there to taste the culture of the 19th century and witness breathtaking battle views. You will also see demonstrations of medical fields, combats, etc.
The event is open to school children for free on Friday. However, the teacher and chaperones must register for it as the seats are limited.
The reenactment event will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday. You can purchase tickets for children (6-17) for $3 and for adults (18 years and above) $10. The parking will be free on-site, and you can get your armbands at the gate.
Date:March 5th – 7th, 2021
Address:Broxton Bridge Plantation, 1685 Broxton Bridge Hwy, PO Box 97, Ehrhardt, SC 29081
The reenactors can participate by registering by the 31st of January, 2021.
6. Hale Farm & Village Civil War Reenactment – Hale Farm & Village, Ohio
The largest civil war reenactment of Ohio is annually held at the Hale Farm & Village. The event recreates the first battle of Petersburg, which took place on June 9, 1864. The event displays several exciting activities and shops for spectators and opportunities for reenactors to participate.
The Union lost the battle of Petersburg due to miscommunication. Major General Benjamin Butler instructed three army chiefs to attack Petersburg with their battalion. However, each of them reached the location and held back, waiting for the other.
Consequently, the Confederates attacked one of the Union troops, who had to withdraw due to insufficient army.
The reenactment portrays multiple activities apart from the battle, such as parades, artillery and cavalry demonstrations, the president’s address, and more.
Is It Still Active?
The Hale Farm & Village Civil War Reenactment is still active, though organizers had to cancel the event in 2020. However, the Western Reserve Historical Society, along with the Hale Farm & Village, is planning for the event in 2021.
The event hosts a Civil War Education Day for children of ages 7-12 years, but you need to register for the same. For the rest of the public, the reenactment event will be open on Saturday and Sunday. You can purchase your tickets—$10 for adults and $5 for kids.
Date: August 13th – 14th, 2021
Address:Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath, 44210 United States
If you want to participate as a reenactor, you will need to register with a fee of $10 (18 years or older). Children can register free of cost. You can send the payment and registration form to HaleFarm & Village, Civil War Reenactment, 2686 Oak Hill Road, P.O. Box 296, Bath, Ohio 44210-0296.
7. Battle of Cedar Creek Reenactment – Middletown, Virginia
Also named the Battle of Belle Grove, the Battle of Cedar Creek took place on October 19, 1864. The reenactment of this battle is annually held at the original fields of Middletown, Virginia. Spectators and reenactors join the event to relive the civil war era and witness the historical episodes.
The battle commenced with a surprise attack by Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early across Cedar Creek. The Union Major General Phillip Sheridan was taken aback, and 7 of its divisions had to fall back. However, in the afternoon, Sheridan rallied his troops and won over Early’s army.
The Battle of Cedar Creek Reenactment is the largest Civil War of the Shenandoah Valley. It is full of civilian and militant camps, artillery, cavalry, music, and medical demonstrations and programs. The field also organizes an array of food and craft booths.
Is It Still Active?
The Battle of Cedar Creek Reenactment is still active. However, the organizers had to cancel the event for 2020. The good news is that the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has opened registration for 2021, marking the 157th Anniversary of the battle.
You can register for the event online or by post. You can purchase the tickets priced at $12 for adults and $6 for children (7-17 years) and Law Enforcement personnel. Children of age 6 or below can enter for free.
Date:October 15th – 17th, 2021
Address:Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters, 8437 Valley Pike, Middletown, VA 22645 United States.
Reenactors can start registration by post or online. If you register early, i.e., by March 15th, the registration fees will be $20. It will increase to $25 for Spring registration (March 16th-May 31st) and $30 for regular registration (June 1st-August 31st). The late registration fee is $35.
Click here for details.
8. Battle of Bentonville Reenactment – Bentonville, North Carolina
The Battle of Bentonville took place from March 19 to 21, 1865. The Battle of Bentonville reenactment occurs in March every five years, at the Bentonville Battlefield, North Carolina. It is an extensive recreation of historical affairs, with Johnson County, Bentonville Battlefield, and Friends of Bentonville Battlefield (FoBB) as its sponsors.
The battle took place in Johnson County, North Carolina. The Union army Major General William T. Sherman fought against the Confederate troops of General Joseph E. Johnston. The battle led to the loss of 4000 soldiers, including the wounded, dead, and missing.
The Battle of Bentonville reenactment is a gathering of hobbyists, enthusiasts, and spectators to relive the Civil War era. It displays war reenactment, campsites, demonstrations, and the day-to-day civilian life of that era.
Is It Still Active?
The Battle of Bentonville Reenactment is still active. However, both the previous events, i.e., 2020 and 2021, were canceled as a precaution to covid-19 risks. There is no further update of the future dates.
You need to purchase a ticket to enter the reenactment field. However, due to the cancellation, you have two options of donating. You may help build a new tour stop or donate it to the non-profit organization—FoBB.
You can also get a refund by mailing back your ticket to the FoBB. The address is 5466 Harper House Road, Four Oaks, NC 27524.
Event Address: Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site, 5466 Harper House Rd, Four Oaks, NC 27524
If you want to participate, you have to pay a registration fee. It is $20 per person if made by 31st January. Late registration fee increases to $25 per person and rises to $35 per person on the reenactment day. Infantry, artillery, and sutler registrations will be by invitation only.
9. Battle of Round Mountain Reenactment – Yale, Oklahoma
The Battle of Round Mountain Reenactment is held annually, at Yale, Oklahoma, for the last 23 years. It portrays the lives of Union and Confederate soldiers during the winter encampment of the civil war era.
On November 19, 1861, the battle took place between the Confederates and the Union Creek and Seminole Indian Loyalists. The battalions were led by Opothleyahola and Col. Doughlas H. Cooper, respectively.
It was the first civil war battle to be held in the Indian Territory. Col. Doughlas achieved victory as the Indians had fled during the night.
Is It Still Active?
Yale organizes the reenactment of the battle every year in February, with over 2,500 people attending the event. The previous event was organized on February 22-24, 2020, but was unsuccessful due to a change of dates and cancellation.
There is no information about any future event. Still, you can check the Facebook event page for updates.
The event is usually open only to school children for a day. They can witness the hospital rooms and care for the wounded soldiers, along with cannons, muskets, and other war-related information.
The next two days are open for the general public to spectate live war. It includes a reenactment of horseback riders and hand-to-hand combat, along with historical items and food vendors.
Reenactors can register and gain access to war clothes and gear.
10. The Battle at Mill Creek – Canton, Texas
Earlier known by the name Battle for Old Mill Station, the Battle at Mill Creek was held at the Mill Creek Ranch Resort. It is the reenactment of battles, live history, and multiple exciting demonstrations of the civil war era.
The event of 2020 displayed civilian camps, sutlers selling historical ornaments, and groups of soldiers and artisans running their daily chores. It was an exclusive demonstration of life in 1864 for your education and entertainment.
Mill Creek Ranch Resort presented the event along with The Mountain & Old Mill Marketplace and the 9th Texas Infantry. They also organized an exquisite dinner at the resort, followed by a dance. Additionally, this event was specially arranged for students a day before it was open to the public.
Is It Still Active?
Being held actively for the last few years, there is no news of the event taking place in 2021.
The event is held in Canton, Texas. It took place at Mill Creek Ranch Resort, 1880 North Trade Days Boulevard, Canton, TX 75103, United States, in February 2020.
No news is out about the future events. You can keep a check on the event organizer’s page for the same.
What is the Cost of an Entire Civil War Reenactment?
The total cost of a reenactment can vary among places and events. Still, the average price spent on one reenactor’s outfit is around $1500-$2000. The other essentials include cooking equipment, tent, and setups, overcoats, etc., which can increase the cost to $2500-$3000.
Where Do the Civil War Reenactment Funds Go?
The funds earned during the Civil War reenactments usually go in the upkeeping of their respective battlefields. You can visit the particular websites of the different battle enactment organizations to learn about the same in detail.
How Can I Participate in A Reenactment?
Every Civil War reenactment organization invites individuals and units for participation. You can be a reenactor in the form of a soldier (Union army or Confederate troop) or civilian. You will have to fill a separate enrollment fee for the same, though it is quite minimal. The official websites of such events layout details of reenactor registration.
If history and everything related to battles interests you, a Civil War reenactment is certainly for you. It is an event organized for those fanatics who want to observe and enjoy the incidents of the Civil Era.
These reenactments commence in the 1960s and gained popularity through the 1980-1990 period. To date, thousands of spectators visit the events for education and entertainment purposes. Schools look forward to special school day reenactments to educate the children about the same.
That said, the shows are facing a large-scale decline in the number of participants as well as spectators. It can be due to the advancement of media and other sources of entertainment. Additionally, covid-19 has led to the cancellation of many such reenactments.
If you want to attend one near you, make sure to double-check the dates, tickets, and other details!