The Annual Camp Ford Living History Weekend

by admin on March 23, 2011

in Tyler Businesses

This coming weekend the Smith County Historical Society is holding its annual Camp Ford Living History Weekend. Camp Ford was once the Confederacy’s largest prison camp west of the Mississippi. It was not an insignificant location and deserves a footnote in Civil War history. I have found it mentioned in the personal accounts of soldiers held here as well as other more general histories. At its height the camp housed more than five thousand Union prisoners of war. Each spring the Smith County Historical Society sponsors the Living History Weekend. It’s really a living museum with all sorts of exhibits. Folks in period dress teach visitors about life at Camp Ford and about living in the 1860s in general. Most of the exhibits deal with life and artifacts in and from the civil war era. Cabins located on the park grounds give visitors an idea of what life was like for POWs held here in 1863 and 1864. Weapons, gear, cannon, uniforms, flags, and other items are on display. Small groups of (generally southern) soldiers, march and drill on the grounds; occasionally firing period rifles. Also featured are snapshots from the lives of civilians or average people living in or around the camp at the time. One family can be seen cooking, cleaning or doing laundry. Another might be doing smithy work, or any number of what were then; common chores. It’s an interesting event and should prove educational for everyone.

I should stipulate that this is not a huge event on the scale of a battlefield reenactment. If you’re expecting a large scale sensory overloading battle, think again. It’s not a live, Civil War version of “Saving Private Ryan.” But it should be a great time to enjoy a spring day by walking through the camp and experiencing a bit of important local history close up. The event will be held on Saturday, March 26,th from 10 am until 4pm. Admission is free, however donations are accepted.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Monika March 26, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Want any pictures of the event?

The event was interesting, tho we unfortunately missed the "skirmish" by about 15 minutes. The re-enactors knew their stuff. We spent about an hour or so there and that was enough time to wander about. Thanks for posting about this event!


admin March 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

We would love pictures. You can email them to tylertxdirectory (at) gmail dot com


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