Hundreds of Civil War Re-enactors Engage in Mock Combat While a Historian Portraying Abraham Lincoln Speaks This Weekend at Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island

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The Civil War comes alive this weekend when hundreds of soldiers from the Union and Confederacy clash at Fort Adams in beautiful Newport. An Historian and performance actor portraying President Abraham Lincoln will address the nation, a little known story of how the war touched Rhode Island will be told, and simulated battles will flourish.

Things to do in Newport

Civil War Reenactors

Fred Zilian offers an incredibly moving and realistic President Lincoln

The words of Abraham Lincoln will be heard this weekend during the Civil War Living History Weekend Saturday July 14th and Sunday July 15th at Fort Adams. Two days of action bring the sights and sounds of the Civil War to Newport. The program includes a speech by a Lincoln impersonator and the story of thousands of Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners who recovered from wounds at the general hospital in Portsmouth Grove, RI.

Events begin at 10AM on both days and include re-enactors simulating dramatic assaults on Fort Adams as well as recreating daily life of soldiers and civilians during the war. Throughout the day soldiers and civilians in authentic 19th century uniforms and dress will invite the public to spend a day in their life, and to learn about everything from military tactics to cooking and family life during the Civil War.

Educator and performance artist Fred Zilian will portray Abraham Lincoln at 11:30 AM on both Saturday and Sunday. Rick Nagele, Fort Adams Executive Director notes that Zilian, “Offers an incredibly moving and realistic President Lincoln. His presentation about the war and the nation in Lincoln’s own words makes you feel like you’re in the room with the real Abraham Lincoln.”

“Another excellent learning opportunity,” says Nagele, “is the fascinating story of the general hospital in Portsmouth Grove, right here in Rhode Island. During the Civil War, thousands of wounded Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners recuperated on Aquidneck Island. Little has been written because we were so far away from the war zone. But the stories of all those associated with the hospital provide a new perspective on the army and society in Civil War America.” Author and Portsmouth native Frank L. Grzyb will bring this story alive at 4PM on Saturday and 12:15 on Sunday.

Fort Adams Trust Director of Marketing and the Visitor Experience Robert McCormack, said, “Our Civil War Living History Weekend is a chance for families to truly immerse themselves into a place and time crucial to our country's history and interact with historical figures. If you’re looking for things to do in Newport, this is a fantastic experience.”

The two day schedule is filled with battles, artillery and troop drills, dress parades, medical and surgical demonstrations, lectures, historic displays, and camp life. According to McCormack, “You will literally be traveling back in time. You can spend as long as you like amongst the re-enactors, asking them questions, observing exercises and demonstrations. You’ll experience the Union and Confederate camps where soldiers relax after battle as well as the headquarters where they strategize about the day’s actions. While at the event, kids are encouraged to participate in a historical Scavenger Hunt for the opportunity to win daily prizes.”

The Fort Adams Civil War Living History Weekend is hosted by the Fort Adams Trust with support from the New England Brigade, the Liberty Greys and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Admission to the Encampment is $10 for adults and $5 for children 6-17. Family admission (two adults and up to 4 children) is $25. For those wishing to attend both days of the Encampment to see all the activities, a special half price readmission for Sunday is available. Guided tours of the Fort’s underground listening tunnels will be running every half hour from 10am-4pm both days at a rate of $2 for youths and $4 for adults. Water shuttles run from downtown and ample parking is available at Fort Adams State Park.

About The Fort Adams Trust

Historic Fort Adams is operated by the Fort Adams Trust, whose mission is to direct and support the stabilization, restoration, maintenance and operation of Fort Adams as a public historic site. Proceeds from the Civil War Weekend will benefit the preservation of Historic Fort Adams.
Fort Adams is located in Fort Adams State Park on Harrison Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island.

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Robert McCormack
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