Civil War in Highcliffe

On the weekend of 24-25 March 2018 SOSKAN came to perform at Highcliffe Castle. They undertake re-enactments of skirmishes from the America Civil War.

SOSKAN is the oldest American Civil War re-enacting society outside the USA. They don’t just perform in this country – they’ve been around Europe and even the United States. Though they are immensely entertaining, there is a serious purpose too: to honour the fallen, some of whom were British. 620,000 died in that conflict, the greatest toll of any of the wars America has since been involved in – the next is the Second World War, with a death toll of around 405,000.

Member Malcolm Weavers, playing a federal surgeon said that the 300 or so members  travel nationwide, putting on displays and spreading the knowledge of this history: It is like in archaeology, until you actually try to do something, trying to keep a fire going when it’s damp, trying to live off the rations they lived off, doing that for a few days when you are soaked to the skin, it does allow you to tell people what it feels like.

I didn’t know much about this, so had a look online and found the following very basic facts.

  • It was also known as ‘The War Between the States’.
  • It was fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States.
  • The Confederate States had left the Union in 1860/61 to form their own country, in order to protect the institution of slavery.
  • The United States thought this wrong, and initiated a war which would last for four years.
  • The Confederates were defeated the  by the United States, and slavery was abolished nationwide.

Here are some pictures from the event at Highcliffe Castle. Click each one and then choose ‘view full size’ (2000px by 1500px)

Finally, do look at their website. There is a lot of fascinating information there.

Soskan at Highcliffe

29 March – Pictures in the printed Christchurch Times. Click for larger version (15oo px wide)


Here is the Echo report, published Tuesday, 27 March.


28 March: Interesting and informative comment by Art Simmons on the Echo blog:

‘The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 freed only the slaves in the Confederacy. It was Lincoln’s desire to disrupt the Confederacy as much as possible as the war dragged on into its third year. Lincoln was careful not to offer slaves in the Union freedom. To do otherwise would have roiled the troubled waters at home where slavery was still a contentious issue. There were slaves in the North. Finally, Lincoln’s anti-slavery view was long in coming and was only enunciated when he saw the value of the position. Believe it or not, Lincoln held a dim view of the negro race which he considered inferior.’