The Copperhead Chronicles: Will Film Stir Up Civil War Interest in Canada?

One’s interest in history has a funny habit of not being isolated to the region that he or she lives in. Take, for example, my friend that lives in England who has never been to the United States. He has an entire room devoted to our American Civil War. Books and movies line his shelves, painted figures and statuettes take their place on his desk and coffee table, while Mort Kunstler paintings figure as the majority of wall space, save for two exact replicas of American and Confederate flags, gently draped by the fireplace. There is actually a rather large Civil War following in England and all over the United Kingdom, which extends to many different reenacting groups, some of which travel here to participate in major reenactments such as the annual one at Gettysburg. In addition, there even seems to be a great deal of interest in Denmark and the Netherlands, as a newsletter called Nordstaterne syndicates some articles on this site and translates many of them into Danish, which I always thought was funny. How do all these people find interest in our greatest internal conflict, I have often asked myself.

But at the same time, on the flip-side, I have always had a fascination with all things British when it comes to military, such as their role in the Napoleonic Wars and later on in the 19th century with their occupation of South Africa and the battles they fought during the Zulu War of 1879. My late grandfather had the same interests, according to my mom, but that was because he traveled the world while a member of the US Navy in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. He died before I was two years old, so that interest could not have rubbed off on me. Again, where did it come from?

You can come up with your own answers to that, perhaps through irony, coincidence, or just reading something and developing an interest for no reason at all. This now leads to the topic at hand, which is the movie Copperhead being filmed in New Brunswick, Canada. Of all the people around the world who I have had the pleasure of corresponding with through my Civil War work on this blog in the last year and change, I can honestly recollect that none have been from our closest neighbors to the north. I have spoken to someone from Australia and Belgium, but not Canada. Will this film, the majority of its extras being locals from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, help to stir up some interest in our war up there? Historical movies are unique in the sense that no matter how large or small an actor’s role might be, it tends to get a bit more intense while preparing for it. Can Copperhead unintentionally spark something special in Canada? I am not talking about anything groundbreaking or enormous, but just a unique awareness for something that not many people give much thought.

The few people I know in Canada are my hockey contacts, not history, so I do not know what people up there find fascination with. Would it be the area’s role in the French and Indian War? Or perhaps later with World Wars I and II? I am not familiar with any of Canada’s wars or conflicts in between those I just mentioned, so maybe Copperhead‘s focus on the Civil War on the home-front can fill the void, especially since it is supposed to take place in nearby Upstate New York. If anyone from Canada is reading this and would like to share their thoughts, please leave a message in the comment section below. According to my blog’s demographic breakdown, visitors from Canada have gone through the roof in the last few weeks due to coverage of this film project, eclipsing even a time on this blog when my hockey coverage was at its peak. The only thing more exciting than writing about history is seeing something you have written read all over the world. This has been a great journey so far, and perhaps it will get even better…

Click here to visit the page on this blog devoted entirely to this film.


7 thoughts on “The Copperhead Chronicles: Will Film Stir Up Civil War Interest in Canada?

  1. It is amazing how our own history is beloved all over the world, as world history is beloved here. Though I do fear that love of a person’s own country and its history is waning here in America from generation to generation. During the years I went to college, most of the people I spent time with in the history department were in European or Russian History. I was one of the few majoring in American History, and not many people I talked to showed interest in our stateside history. Just hope that movies like “Copperhead,” and the miniseries “To Appomattox,” will help to change that somewhat. God bless!

  2. Kate Waller

    We (my husband, son and myself) are 18th century reenactors (civilian) in New Brunswick. We sometimes do multi-era events in which we are happy to meet up with our Civil War friends in the 20th Maine, who have both Canadian and American memebers. Sadly, our ever restrictive gun laws make it hard for reenactors to carry blackpowder firearms across the borders, which makes it difficult for later period reenactors to participate in American events. I do know that many of my friends have made the treck to many historic sites around the US to visit the battlefields and the forts of the US Civil War.

  3. Kate Waller

    I should mention that for many years, the 20th Maine were frequent guests to the Canadian living history site Kings Landing Historic Village, where filming for the movie “Copperhead” is taking place.

    1. Liza

      This is very interesting. Are you going to be involved in the movie? I saw the website for Kings Landing Historic Village and it looks like a lovely place to visit.

      1. Kate

        Yes, I am a background performer (an extra) in the movie. It’s been a blast. Long hours but a really great crew!

  4. Kate Waller

    You mentioned that you were not familiar with any of Canada’s wars or conflicts in between F&I war and WWI & WW2. With the exception of your Civil War and Mexican war, we were pretty much involved in the same wars you were, as your “enemies”. We were the British during the American War of Independence, and we were the opposing side during the war of 1812, both time period which are popular with reenactors.

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