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Annual Living History Weekend
Battle of Plymouth Reenactment
History is alive and well and “Thunder on the Roanoke” still resounds and reverberates along the riverbank and throughout the historic waterfront community of Plymouth, NC. On the last weekend in April, re-enactors from around the country join local re-enactors and volunteers in presenting the Annual Battle of Plymouth Living History Weekend. This has become a premier Civil War re-enactment event, running for two decades. One of the last Confederate victories of the Civil War took place here in 1864. It was here that the mighty ironclad ram CSS Albemarle defeated the Union Navy, on it’s way to becoming the most successful ironclad of the Civil War. Six months later it was sunk in Plymouth by Union commando raid in what the History Channel titled their 2005 film, “The Most Daring Mission of the Civil War”.

History is alive and well and “Thunder on the Roanoke” still resounds and reverberates along the riverbank and throughout the historic waterfront community of Plymouth, NC. On the last weekend in April, re-enactors from around the country join local re-enactors and volunteers in presenting the Annual Battle of Plymouth Living History Weekend. This has become a premier Civil War re-enactment event, running for two decades. One of the last Confederate victories of the Civil War took place here in 1864. It was here that the mighty ironclad ram CSS Albemarle defeated the Union Navy, on it’s way to becoming the most successful ironclad of the Civil War. Six months later it was sunk in Plymouth by Union commando raid in what the History Channel titled their 2005 film, “The Most Daring Mission of the Civil War”.

The uniqueness of this Plymouth living history event is due in part to the setting. It’s location on the banks of the Roanoke River just upstream from where it empties into the Albemarle Sound makes a picturesque venue for this annual re-enactment. Plymouth is nestled on the only high ground at the lower end of the Roanoke River Delta, which means that the surrounding views are of the same untouched wetlands that surrounded the town when it was built in 1787.

Also, this event is unique because it combines infantry, artillery and navy. There are local naval units that take part in the event crewing the replicas of the CSS Albemarle and Cushing’s launch, (used in sinking the Albemarle), for naval demonstrations on the Roanoke River during the spring event.

Union and Confederate soldiers and sailors will be encamped on the town green along the river adjacent to the Port O’Plymouth Museum. Visitors enjoy period presentations and demonstrations, including artillery throughout the weekend. Typical activities include the “Invasion of Plymouth” street skirmish, history presentations, a recruiting station, period fashion show, Civil War medicine demonstrations, and period music. Tour guides in period dress lead the walking tour of the nationally registered historic district and cemetery tour beginning at the museum. Sutlers will offer for sale period clothing, books, art and music. There is something here for everyone.

As the sun slips below the horizon and campfires flicker along the riverbank, the highlight of Saturday’s event will begin. The featured event, and the most well known, is the Torchlight Tour beginning at the Plymouth United Methodist Church. While period music is performed for waiting guests inside a church, every 15 minutes period dressed tour guides will lead a group out into the darkness by lantern light. As visitors are led through the streets, backyards and alleys, re-enactors will surprise and tantalize, as actual events from April 1864 will be depicted through a series of scenes that materialize out of the shadows and into the torchlight. The Torchlight Tour is like a play but the difference is that the audience actually travels from scene to scene!

Come watch history come alive during this distinctive event on the historic waterfront of the quaint community of Plymouth on the Roanoke! Watch the story unfold amid the smoke, powder and pageantry! Bring along cameras and enjoy the fun. For a complete schedule of events, call the Port O’Plymouth Museum at 252-793-1377 or visit www.livinghistoryweekend.com.