Memorial Day Remembrance

Living History at Bennett Place State Historic Site

(Site of the Largest Surrender of the Civil War)

Photos by Joyce Stanley and Stuart Brandt


This simple farmhouse was situated between Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's headquarters in Greensboro, and Union Gen. William T. Sherman's headquarters in Raleigh. In April 1865, the two commanders met at the Bennett Place, where they signed surrender papers for Southern armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. It was the largest troop surrender of the American Civil War (this came from the Bennett Place Historic Site Website).  An interesting side note is that Confederate General Joseph Wheeler surrender here.  Was called back to active duty in the American Army during the Spanish American War as a Major General in charge of the Cavalry.  He fought in both Cuba and the Phillipines.

Bennett Place is where Confederate General Joseph Johnston Stuart Brandt has maintained an excellent relationship with the Bennett Place State Historic Site and so when the Site decided to sponsor a Memorial Day Remembrance Program on 24-25 May 2013, several of us decide to attend.  The program featured some excellent presentations from Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 (a time period few folks have ever seen, and alas we didn't get photos) reenactors.  Our friend Matt Vinecti, who we met several years ago at Malcolm Blue, provided an outstanding Revolutionary Artillery Program.  Matt builds his own pieces and has built a limber and is attempting to get the horses and harness to pull his gun.  The program moved to the Civil War with both a presentation of Infantry weapon firing and a super presentation and demonstration of Civil War era military bugle and drum calls and a short presentation on how TAPS was written.  SGT Stuart Brandt portrayed a Rough Rider/Spanish American War and Boxer Rebellion Cavalryman doing both a mounted and dismounted impression.  Dusty Summers dressed as a World War I doughboy firing the Brown Automatic Rifle, which delighted the crowd.  Captain Stanley and Rebel were dressed out to portray a 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) veterinarian.  His discussion included the 1928 Phillips Pack Saddle with machinegun and the Browning Water Cooled machine gun and ended with a firing of a M-1 Garand (which the 26th Cavalry was armed with) with a grenade launcher.  Captain Leah Stanley dressed out for the first time as a WWII nurse.  Jeb Brandt has developed an impressive presentation and display of a WWII Navy Corpsman and clearly has spent a great deal of time developing this impression. There were several static displays, one that had a WWII Veteran (who was very, very alert and talkative) who was an MP in Europe after the war and the other used the 1/16 scale tanks to show tank warfare in WWII.  The crowd interaction was excellent and many of the spectators visited all the reenactors and their respective demonstrations.  We only participated in the 24 May program but we had a great time and were well treated by the Park Staff.