For one week at least, several local children are traveling to another era and learning how to live as a Civil War recruit.
Camp Brown began Monday at the Fenton History Center, with local re-enactor Mitch Cummings showing youngsters what life was like for soldiers in the United States during Civil War.
''What we try to do is almost put them through what soldiers went through back then,'' said Cummings, who is a member of the 9th New York Volunteer Cavalry, Company F. ''We're showing them how they drilled, how they fought.''
From left, Jacob Varner, Tanner Stimson, Brett Moore and Ian Brown watch as Civil War re-enactor Mitch Cummings of Mayville shows them saber drills during Camp Brown at the Fenton History Center on Monday.
P-J photo by Dave Emke
Cummings said that during the weeklong day camp, participants will learn how to march, set up tents, get into battle formations and perform various other tasks associated with Civil War-era soldier life.
''We just try to show them, basically, the life of a soldier in one week,'' Cummings said.
Many of the children in the program said they were enrolled because of the interest they have shown in United States history and the Civil War already in their young lives.
''I just like history, and I just like wars and stuff,'' Brett Moore, 8, said. ''My parents told me about this, so I said 'why not?'''
Tanner Stimson, 11, said he was entered into the class as a fifth-grade graduation gift.
''It was a complete surprise,'' Tanner said. ''I was real big into the Civil War when we went to South Carolina - to Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter - and I really learned a lot then. I thought this would be a really cool experience for me, to see how a Civil War soldier lived.''
Cummings, who will be teaching similar classes at Chautauqua Institution during August, said harboring young people's interest in the Civil War is something he enjoys doing for many reasons.
''These kids are the future to re-enacting,'' he said. ''Hopefully this sparks an interest in the Civil War now and they join a re-enactment community later.''
One youngster who already is enthused about re-enacting is Ian Brown, 9, who said he has already participated in an organized event in Virginia, in addition to creating his own re-enactments on the anniversaries of battles.
''I started liking the Civil War when I was like 3 or 4,'' Ian said, adding that he has watched the movie ''Gettysburg'' multiple times. ''Every day I do a different battle - July 21 was Bull Run, so I did Bull Run; July 22 was Atlanta, so I did Atlanta.''
The instructor said he was very impressed with the amount of Civil War knowledge many of the children already had when they showed up for the first day of the camp.
''It's incredible what they're telling me,'' Cummings said. ''I learn from them just as much as they learn from me. Today I asked a kid what a Sherman Necktie was, and he told me, and I was blown away.''
Alyssa Caskey, 11, and her friend Hannah Thomson, 10, both of whom said they have visited Civil War sites with their families, were participating in the camp for the second year. Both said they were excited to touch up on what they did last year and learn new things this week.
''It was pretty cool, everything we did last year,'' Alyssa said. ''I like doing this camp.''
Cummings said his regiment's captain will visit the camp Thursday to show what they have learned. The camp will culminate Friday with a march to the site of the real Camp Brown, a Civil War infantry camp that was located near the modern-day location of Fletcher Elementary School.