LIVERMORE — The dense fog and chilly air created an ominous atmosphere for the men of the 15th Alabama who were preparing for their upcoming battle with the North at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore on Saturday.

Washburn-Norlands hosted the confederate reenactment group to drill and practice for the upcoming Rally for Norlands, Maine’s largest Civil War reenactment, on June 17-18.

The practice day, known as the “School of the Soldier,” had an element of irony to it, according to Chris Nulle, surgeon for the 15th Alabama, as confederate soldiers were drilling on the lawn of Israel Washburn Jr.

Washburn was elected the governor of Maine in 1861, and sent more troops per capita to aid the Union’s efforts than any other Northern governor.

Each soldier in the 15th Alabama had their reasons for joining the reenactment group.

Tom Bassford said he has some southern ancestry, so it felt natural — he’s descended from Confederate cavalry commander John Singleton Mosby, also known as the “Gray Ghost.”

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Maurice Burgess, a social studies teacher, wanted a more in-depth knowledge of the subject he teaches. No matter the reason they joined, all the confederate members agree — the South has more fun.

“We have better music, better food, better everything,” Bassford said.

But Dick Cylik, the sole representative of the Union and reenactment group 3rd Maine Company, disagreed.

“Of course they’re wrong again,” Cylik said.

This will be the sixth year of the Rally for Norlands, a fundraising event in which all proceeds go to restoring Norlands, the previous home of the Washburns, which was damaged by a fire in 2008.

The first year, the reenactment event raised over $25,000.

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The family-friendly weekend event will feature full scale Civil War battle scenarios by the 15th Alabama and 3rd Maine, Washburn Mansion tours, arts and crafts, and other events. 

“The whole weekend we just live, eat and sleep the 1860s,” Cylik said.

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Members of the 15th Alabama Company G reenactment group have their lunch 1860s style during their practice rally at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore on Saturday. 

Dick Cylik, the sole member of the 3rd Maine Company, a reenactment group present at Saturday’s practice rally, lights his cigar at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore.

Captain Bill Stoops, left, looks on while Sgt. Dave Leissner, second from left, drills his troops of the 15th Alabama, lineup, from left, Nick Bucci, Maurice Burgess, Rob Stubbins, Dennis McKeering, Alex Dau, Tom Bassford and Tom Boyd at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore on Saturday.  

Chris Nulle, the 15th Alabama’s surgeon, watches his fellow reenactors participate in drill exercises at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore on Saturday. 

Dick and Marcia Cylik represented the Union army at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore on Saturday. 


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