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Roswell occupation commemorated at upcoming event
by James Swift
jswift@neighbornewspapers.com
July 02, 2014 12:06 PM | 1330 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, Eric Petterson and Michael Hitt reenacted the securing of the bridge over Vickery Creek for the Federal army during a press conference at the Roswell Visitors Center last Thursday to promote the "Living History Event" taking place at Barrington Hall July 12th and 13th.
From left, Eric Petterson and Michael Hitt reenacted the securing of the bridge over Vickery Creek for the Federal army during a press conference at the Roswell Visitors Center last Thursday to promote the "Living History Event" taking place at Barrington Hall July 12th and 13th.
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A century and a half ago, the workers of the Roswell Manufacturing Co. were arrested by Union officers. Charged with treason, about 400 people — almost all women — were exiled deep into Federal territory.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the event, the Historic Town Square will be the site of a living history reenactment on July 12 and 13. Over the weekend, various other events — from cooking demonstrations to presentations on 19th century parlor games — will be held on and around Barrington Hall.

On June 26, a press conference for the Federal Occupation of Roswell was held at the Roswell Convention and Visitors Bureau. Historical actors Eric Peterson and Michael Hitt gave an in-character lecture on the events leading up to the mill’s takeover.

Peterson said he is looking forward to bringing local history to life later this month. Particularly, he’s excited about taking on the role of Gen. George Thomas.

“I like to get his story out,” he said. “He’s one of the least written about Army commanders in the Civil War.”

Roswell tour guide Brian Carney will play Theophile Roche. During the 1864 occupation, the real Roche attempted to save the mills by flying a French flag over the grounds.

“We have a lot of different actors that are going to interact with the crowd,” Carney said. “We hope to give everybody a good show and leave happy.”

Barrington Hall Events Coordinator Bill Browning said the recreation will consist of eight professional actors and at least 30 actresses serving as mill workers. In “an astounding coincidence,” he said an actress playing one of the lead roles is the great-great-granddaughter of a mill supervisor who was actually arrested during the 1864 takeover.

Roswell Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Dotty Etris said the living history event appeals to both locals and tourists.

“It’s not just calm and a still object,” she said. “I think it’s more of an immersion into the history than just strict observation.”

Both the 8th Regiment Band of Rome, Ga., and the 97th Regimental String Band of Madeira, Fla., will provide the weekend’s soundtrack. The Stately Vintage Dancers of Jonesboro are set to do four performances, while Civil War interpreters Phillip and Janine Whiteman will host six lectures.

A Federal camp will be staged on the lawn of Barrington Hall during the event. Lemonade, barbecue and hot dogs will be available for Yankees and Rebels alike.

More information on the event can be found at www.roswellgov.com/index.aspx?NID=1760.

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