Friday, April 19, 2013

Bennett Place State Historic Site Examines Photography, Art and Journalism in the Civil War

Artists and journalists used their skills to bring the Civil War to life in the 1860s, along with practitioners of the emerging medium of photography. Today, we can see their work displayed in Durham.

Bennett Place State Historic Site will present Civil War artist Jeff Trexler, wetplate photographer Chris Morgan, and author Jim Wise in a program that examines the craft and practice of these arts on Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21. 

The 148th anniversary commemorative program of the Civil War’s largest surrender at Bennett Place, “War and Surrender Through Photography, Art and Journalism” also will feature re-enactor Jeff Toalson portraying Capt. Richard Watkins of the Virginia Cavalry in a one-act performance based on Toalson’s letters. The Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The program is free but donations are appreciated to assist with the event costs.

Living historians portraying Union and Confederate soldiers and civilians will encamp at the site and perform demonstrations of farm life and military drill. They will share first-hand accounts of the lives of those involved in the war and the surrender at Bennett farm. The Sons and Daughters of Union and Confederate Veterans will share displays of original Civil War artifacts and post war memorabilia from the veterans. The annual memorial ceremony will take place at the Unity Monument Sunday afternoon.

Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman met on April 17, 1865 at the farm of James and Nancy Bennett to negotiate peace terms. The negotiations ended fighting in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and surrendered 89,270 Confederate soldiers. Three major surrenders followed in Alabama, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

The mission of Bennett Place State Historic Site is to preserve and interpret the history of the largest surrender of the American Civil War and the lives of yeomen farmers such as the Bennetts. Bennett Place is in west Durham and can be reached from I-40 West to the Durham Freeway (Highway 147) exiting onto Hillsborough Road, then following the brown historic site signs to 4409 Bennett Memorial Road.  From Greensboro take I-85 east to exit 170 onto Hillsborough Road, and follow the brown signs to 4409 Bennett Memorial Road.
For further information call (919) 383-4345, email, visit online at either website or follow us on Facebook. Also learn more about N.C. State Historic Sites and the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. Bennett Place is within the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.  
For more information about Durham, NC, click here.

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