Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Step Back in Time

Today we drove into the center of town and went to a little park near our train station. This park memorializes the site of the first permanent printing press in New Jersey, but that was not our primary purpose for going there today. We went today because there was a Civil War encampment taking place this weekend. Reenactors come from all over the area to share some of their unique knowledge.

They do this every year - and we always try to go. Each year it seems we learn something new. Today we learned about money at the time of the Civil War. People hoarded coins and so states and banks were forced to print notes for amounts like 10 cents or 15 cents. We saw a bill worth $1.25. Each state made their own money - and it was only good in that state (unless someone was kind enough to trade with you - but then at a discounted rate.) Sometimes stores even minted their own coins and those coins would only be redeemable in that store (sort of like coupons today.) The confederate notes consisted of very large denominations $50, $100, $500, because due to the war everything became so expensive.

We learned how soldiers would line up on the battlefield - and that it's not how it looks in the movies.

We learned that many of the soldiers simply slept on bedrolls under the stars, and if it rained, they got wet.

We watched a skirmish between the Union and Confederate soldiers.

There were a lot of interesting things to see - but as my husband pointed out, it's not seeing the things that is so interesting - it's hearing people talk about them. You can see things in a museum. Having someone show you how it all actually worked is priceless.


Esther said...

How interesting Christine! I wasn't aware of the civil war reenactments. I guess all the attention in northern NJ went to the revolutionary war.

Christine M said...

It's more of an encampment than a re-enactment, since I don't think there were actually any civil war battles around here.

Esther said...

Oh, that makes more sense :-)