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County family uses Civil War brigade to escape to the past CENTRAL--Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg


Carroll County residents Brenda and Rick Barber and their three sons -- Justin, 12, Matt, 11, and Kyle, 6 -- escape to the 1860s almost 20 times a year.

This weekend, the Barbers will participate in the third annual Civil War Encampment at the Carroll County Farm Museum.

As members of Archer's Brigade, a Civil War re-enactment group, the Barbers will join 10 other re-enactment groups to simulate camp life as it was during the final years of the Civil War.

"It is very authentic," said 34-year-old Rick Barber. "We live it just as it was; no newspapers, no electricity. It's our escape back to life the way it was 130 years ago."

Visitors will be able to witness the re-enactment groups as they participate in numerous demonstrations and events Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

"There will be drilling, firing, artillery and signal demonstrations, as well as a miniskirmish between Confederate and Union troops both days," said Dottie Freeman, administrative marketing specialist for the museum. "The women will be hosting a tea on Saturday afternoon. A social, a dance and candlelight camp tour will highlight Saturday evening."

A fashion show, featuring undergarments and outerwear from the 1860s, will be one of the featured activities for Sunday afternoon.

Since the Barbers joined Archer's Brigade five years ago, they have enjoyed taking time out to relive history.

"I have always been interested in the Civil War, and this is how I got involved with the re-enactment group," said Rick. "There is a fascination about that time period for me."

As part of their re-enactment roles, the Barbers portray a Confederate family living in a camp with other families during wartime.

"Rick is a first sergeant in Archer's Brigade, and I am one of the women who does the cooking, sewing and supervises the children," said 33-year-old Brenda. "We have about 60 people who are members of Archer's Brigade. We portray soldiers, their families and the visitors that come into the camp."

Their clothing, accommodations, food and other necessities are

reminiscent of articles used during the Civil War.

"We cook over open fires, eat food from that period, use period utensils and camp in tents just like they used in the Civil War," Brenda said.

In addition to her role as a Confederate wife and mother, Brenda's work as a seamstress has been beneficial to the group's authentic look.

"When we first joined the re-enactment group, we found that buying costumes was so expensive," recalled Brenda. "Rick said I could sew them myself. I got the patterns from a woman in California who made Civil War uniform patterns."

Once she started, the word of her sewing spread and the requests for her services have blossomed into a career.

"Just by word of mouth, I have gotten work from people not only in our group but in other units," Brenda said. "It's almost a full-time job. I've probably sewn close to 1,000 Civil War costume items."

Admission to the Civil War Encampment is $3 for adults, $2 for ages 12 to 18. Children under 12 are free.

Information: 848-7775.


The Carroll County Farm Museum will hold the third annual Children's Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday for preschool-age children.

The fair, sponsored by Carroll Child Care Association, will feature storytelling, face painting, the Baltimore Orioles Bird, children's aerobics and a petting zoo.

Preschool children will be admitted free, but must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Admission is $1.50 in advance and $2 at the gate. Information: 848-0644.

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