Civil War reenactors representing the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry camped out next to the Great Falls Tavern Saturday and Sunday. The 19th-century encampment included a field hospital and general store, and the reenactors, many of whom stayed overnight, cooked with ironware and carried rifles and sabers.
Visitors interacted with the reenactors, many of whom are published experts on Civil War history and have appeared in period films like "Gettysburg."
The reenactors come from throughout the Washington area as well as West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Other 20th Maine groups are based throughout the country and as far away as Canada and France.
Organized at Portland and mustered in on August 29, 1862 the 20th Maine left the Maine for Alexandria on Sept. 3. They were attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, until October 1862. During that time, soldiers were often encamped on the hillsides on the Maryland side of the Potomac — including those in the Great Falls area — and traded fire with Confederate soldiers on the Virginia side.
Members of the unit fought in many of the war's most famous battles, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.