Living History At Tyler's Camp Ford - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/29/08-Tyler

Living History At Tyler's Camp Ford

History is coming alive in East Texas this weekend.  You can see everything from Civil War Soldiers firing canons, to blacksmith's hammering out authentic weapons.  It's all happening at the largest Confederate POW Camp west of the Mississippi River, our own Camp Ford.  

One step into Camp Ford, and you're back in the 1860's.  Soldiers, blacksmiths, surgeons and photographers all making authentic Civil War era memorabilia.  

"People see movies, they read books, but they can come out here and see just like that," said Johnnie Holley with The Douglas Texas Battery.  "They can see the medical tents, they can go see the canons and go touch them. It's actually something they can see and feel; smell the gun powder, and the camp fire smoke and see how our ancestors lived during that time." 

At its peak, Camp Ford held some 5,000 Union Soldiers prisoner.  Hundreds of them would never return home.  

"Sixty thousand men died in the Civil War," said Holley. "That's more soldiers than we have lost in every war since then."  

"If you don't understand history and learn from history, you're doomed to do the same mistakes in the future," said Holley. 

It's a living piece of history we can all enjoy and hopefully, remember.

If you missed it Saturday the Camp Ford Living History Weekend continues Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  There will also be a special church service at 10 a.m. 

Courtney Lane, Reporting  clane@kltv.com

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