By Julia Barnett
On Saturday, January 12 and Sunday January 13, the South Regional Public Library, located next to the Collier County campus of Edison State College, hosted the annual Civil War Days, full with period clothing and tools, historical information and a battle reenactment.
The camp, as the participants called it, consisted of tents, each serving a different purpose and a different history lesson. There was a tent for weaponry and guns used during the Civil War age. There were also tents for cooking, medicine, and a tent for the “soldiers” to gather in front of, smoking and sharing stories.
The clothing stall—piled high with handmade, periodic, women’s clothing—was run by Mary-Jay Hernandez of Ft. Myers. Mary-Jay has been a member of the United Daughters of the Confederation of Ft. Myers for ten years and makes all of the Civil War era clothing by hand, both for these types of events and for sale on her online shop, Ida Sophie’s Stitchery. She is very proud to say that she can trace her family back to DR Hicks, a confederate soldier who was captured twice in the same day by the “Yanks,” during the war. Her brother still uses Hicks’ cane. She was very knowledgeable on proper women’s clothing for the age and was happy to explain to guests of the Civil War Days event about her dresses, displaying a passion for the subject that matched the other participants around her.
The group ended the day with a battle reenactment—which the Confederacy won—taking the time to explain to the audience what was going on out on the battlefield, following the battle with the firing of the cannon. It was a history lover’s dream weekend, full of facts, costumes and a shared love of the past.