The women wore hoopskirts, the men carried muskets and the children played hoop and stick around the cemetery as they played out the personalities of people who are buried there.
In the first hour of the event, about 85 people had visited the cemetery to go on a tour of the graveyard, stopping at 15 gravesites to hear a re-enactor tell the story of the person buried there, said Joan Ellars, the director of Keep Marietta Beautiful, which cares for the cemetery and puts on the event.
Residents also went on tours to learn about the history of the city and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the battles around Marietta, including those at Pine Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain and Kolb’s Farm.
Trishia Campbell, a lifelong Marietta resident who is an accountant for Crace Galvis McGrath, said she came to learn about who had come before her.
“We wanted to learn the history here to pass it down to generations,” Campbell said. “My grandmother passed it down to me, and I’ll pass it down to my daughter.”
The re-enactors, who all volunteered to spend the day telling the stories of those from the past, said they enjoyed keeping those memories alive.
Betty Hunter, the president of the Marietta Confederate Cemetery Foundation, played the role of Lucinda Hardage on Sunday, a young girl who survived the war and lived well into the 1930s.
“This is our heritage, and people need to know about it, whether it be Northern of Southern,” Hunter said.
Another leading woman in the preservation of local history, Becky Paden, a member of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, said she enjoyed planning the event as part of the 150th anniversary of the battles of Marietta.
“I think it’s a wonderful reminder for those of us who’ve been around a while, and it’s a teaching tool for young people,” Paden said.
Some of the volunteers at the cemetery were regulars. The Ingram family continued its tradition of re-enacting this year when father Steve Ingram, a Marietta firefighter, and son Stephen Ingram, who is 8 years old, slept on the ground in the Marietta Square on Saturday night to get a real feel for the old days.
“I thought this would be a once in a lifetime thing,” Steve Ingram said.
After a night filled with train whistles, nightlife noise and fire truck sirens, though, both father and son agreed it was “terrible.”
On Sunday, the whole Ingram family came to the cemetery, including mother Gretchen Ingram, a Marietta police officer, and her three other children to continue their re-enacting tradition.
Connie Sutherland, the director of the Gone With the Wind Museum, addressed some difference of opinions on the anniversary celebration, while she played the role of Minerva McClatchey for the third straight year, who kept a diary of the burning of Marietta.
“A lot of people think celebrating the Civil War is wrong. And it’s not a celebration; it’s a commemoration — and there’s clearly a difference there,” Sutherland said.
Another difficult part of putting on the cemetery tour, said Nicole Curl of Powder Springs, who manages payroll for the city, is finding volunteers who will agree to play the role of a slave.
Curl volunteered to play the role of Hannah, a slave of the Robart family, for the second time this year.
“I think people need to know that there are slaves buried here too,” Curl said.
As well as being educational, Ellars said the event can be fun.
“This is a chance for people to see where every street name in Marietta comes from,” Ellars said.