Mystic Seaport Readies for Invasion by Civil War Soldiers and Sailors, July 18-19

Weekend encampment to feature “The Hunt for the Australia”, a Civil War scavenger hunt to delight all ages.

Special Event: “The Hunt for the Australia”, a Civil War Scavenger Hunt Sure to Delight All Ages

Mystic, Conn. (June 25, 2015) – Mystic Seaport and the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission will host one of the final Civil War encampments of the 150th anniversary July 18-19.  More than 200 uniformed reenactors from several states will set up camp on the Museum’s Village Green to carry out infantry drills, conduct artillery demonstrations, and engage in mock battle. Visitors will be able to see a wide variety of displays and speak with naval and civilian reenactors.

A highlight of the event will be a Civil War scavenger hunt with a Civil War theme, “The Hunt for the Australia.”

“This event offers visitors something extra, a real twist,” said Matt Warshauer, professor of history at Central Connecticut State University and co-chair of the Connecticut Civil War Commemoration Commission.  “Everyone loves a good mystery, and we’re providing an amazing story of a Confederate ship, the Australia, that was captured by Union forces and brought to Mystic. Inside the hold is a secret list that Confederates can’t allow to be found.”

The result: Rebel prisoners with a top-secret mission, a prison break, and a battle for control of the seaport.

The Hunt for the Australia” will be a fun challenge for the entire family. Visitors will be tasked to track down the hidden clues, find evidence, interview soldiers and sailors, and locate the secret list. Special prizes will be awarded. “The scavenger hunt is something different,” says Warshauer, “and will add to our already outstanding Civil War exhibits and the truly authentic roles that our many reenactors perform.”

Dr. Glenn Gordinier, the Robert G. Albion Historian at Mystic Seaport, notes the Australia is a real vessel on exhibit at the Museum and may be the only surviving southern blockade runner still in existence. “These were ships that ran the Union blockade to provide supplies to the South during the war,” explains Gordinier. “Her present condition is mostly a skeleton of a ship, which makes her perfect for a mystery scenario.”

The Commemoration has been a four-year anniversary that is wrapping up this summer. Connecticut has been one of the most active states in the nation, holding hundreds of historical events and talks, all of which have highlighted Connecticut’s unique, historical importance during the Civil War. Warshauer states that “Connecticut has been a leader in recognizing New England’s role in the war and Mystic Seaport is a perfect place for us to begin the close of the Commemoration. It is one of the most important and fun history sites in New England and its 19th-century village is ideal for a Civil War event of this magnitude. There may never be another encampment quite like this one.”

The Civil War Encampment is made possible by a grant from Connecticut Humanities and the generous support of Travelers Insurance.

The encampment will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days and is included in Museum admission. For more details on the event see the links below.


About the CCWCC
The CCWCC was created by Governor M. Jodi Rell in 2010 and directed to coordinate activities across Connecticut to commemorate the state’s involvement in the Civil War.  The Commission is co-chaired by Dr. Booker DeVaughn, president emeritus of Three Rivers Community College, and Dr. Matthew Warshauer, professor of history at Central Connecticut State University. Members of the Commission include history and humanities professionals from across the state.

About Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum is located one mile south of exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $25 for adults and $16 for children 6-17. Museum members and children under 5 are admitted for free. For more information, please visit https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/.

About Connecticut Humanities
Connecticut Humanities, a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, provides opportunities to explore the history, literature and the vibrant culture that make our state, cities and towns attractive places to live and work. Learn more by visiting cthumanities.org.