Roderick Davis portrays a 54th regiment soldier during a previous Civil War program at the Atlanta History Center. The center is putting on “Citizens and Soldiers: The Civil War,” noting the 150th anniversary of the conflict.

With re-enactors portraying soldiers, and actors portraying civilians, the Atlanta History Center plans on March 16 to present a family-friendly look at life both on the front lines and on the home front during the Civil War.

“Citizens and Soldiers: The Civil War,” part of the center’s observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, includes watching antique rifles being fired, learning to march or trying to enlist in the army, and an opportunity to take part in a bread riot, officials at the center say.

“I think it will give guests a great idea of what was happening on the home front as well as the battlefield,” said Cary Ann Moody, manager of public programs for the center, said of the event.

Citizens and Soldiers: The American Civil War

Atlanta History Center

130 West Paces Ferry Rd., NW

March 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: Free

For more information: 404-814-4000 or

Take that bread riot. “Bread riots were taking place all over the Southeast,” Moody said. “These were led by women. Throughout the Southeast, women were looting stores because they were unable to buy the items they needed to survive.”

Civil War re-enactors will be on hand during the family-friendly event.

So, during the program, participants will have a chance to join in a march to a local store to demand pre-war prices on necessary goods, such as shoes, Moody said. Actors will lead the debate.

Participants will also have the chance to take part in a program to learn about inflation first hand, she said. Participants will be given envelopes filled with cash that will buy less and less – and could turn out to be worthless counterfeit — as the program continues, she said.

The program, being offered for the first time this year, is intended to become an annual presentation at the center. The initial program includes a wide variety of activities.

Re-enactors from the Atlanta-based Amory Guard are to set up an encampment during the event and will represent both Confederate and Union soldiers, Moody said. During the day, author Brad Quinlin will talk about genealogy, author Steve Davis will discuss the bombardment of Atlanta, and military historian Gordon Jones will lead tours of the center’s Civil War exhibition.

Part of the idea behind “Citizens and Soldiers” is “to present history in a new way,” history center spokeswoman Leigh Massey said. Presentations are designed to make participants feel like they’re traveling through time to see historical events, she said.

“Part of our goal is to connect the public with history in first person and third person opportunities,” she said. “So they can feel they are really experiencing history.”

The event is open to the public for free and coincides with a free admission weekend at the center, so there will be no cost to attend, the center says.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.