Re-enactor camp vandalism may have been prank

May 10, 2010
Laura Oleniacz
Sun Journal Staff

Re-enactors’ flags were removed from their posts at the Civil War encampment at Union Point Park this weekend and were found in trash cans in the park, and dirt was found rammed into several muskets.

Several of the approximately 250 re-enactors in town this weekend for the naval bombardment and 1862 Battle of New Bern re-enactments held as part of the New Bern 300th committee’s “Remembering the War” event called the acts vandalism.

Sgt. Mark Von Behren with the New Bern Police Department said he had received no reports as of Sunday morning of the incident.

“I think it’s distasteful, in my opinion,” said Ashley Brown, the chief of artillery for the re-enactment from Reilly’s Battery, or the 10th N.C. State Troops. “I don’t like a thief.”

Brown said historic reproduction state, Confederate, and U.S. flags were removed from their posts beside the re-enactors’ camps at the park, and one of them had not yet been recovered as of early Sunday morning.

“I don’t think it was re-enactors because we take our flags very seriously,” Brown said. “I’ve re-enacted for about 12 years and I never had anything — the flags messed with or anything.”

The New Bern resident added that there was dirt found poured into the muzzles of several muskets owned by the infantry units. The muskets had been cleaned and stacked near the camp on Friday evening.

Brown said he has never seen that happen before in his years of re-enacting.

“It sounds like vandalism to me,” said Jeff Tew, a re-enactor with Reilly’s Battery from Fayetteville. Tew also noted that the muskets cannot be fired until they’re cleaned out, so the dirt had to be removed before they could be used again.

Bob Davis, quartermaster with the 7th N.C. State Troops, said his unit gave the company whose flag was stolen their own flag, because they had volunteered to come to the event.

“It affected everyone out here,” Davis said. “It was disrespectful to me, and anybody that does re-enacting. We’re only presenting the history back to the public of what went on back in this area.”

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