AUGUSTA — The Confederate soldiers, after stacking the muskets they were to surrender to Union Brig. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain’s troops, carefully rolled up the Confederate battle flag of the 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiment and placed it against their weapons Saturday in a field during a re-enactment of the Civil War’s end.

“The flags of two countries now take different paths,” Confederate Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon, portrayed by Eric Reeder of New Hampshire, said beside the re-created Confederate battle flag, which was made by the mother of one of the Confederate re-enactors. “One is to be rolled and perhaps discarded.”

The flag of the victorious Union would return to its place as the flag followed by the entire country, he said during the re-enactment of Gordon’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to Maine’s Chamberlain.

David Davis, of Bucksport, who carried the Confederate flag during battle and surrender re-enactments attended by more than 500 people Saturday, said he had no qualms about doing so, despite the recent controversy about the flag after the shooting deaths of nine black church members in South Carolina.

“What that Confederate flag represents to me is not the idea of slavery. It’s the men that left their homes to fight versus the invading Union (troops), attacking their way of life,” Davis said. “We need to portray history accurately. If you take away the banner, it’s not accurate. You’ve got to have something to fall behind.”

In addition to the Maine Living History Association battle re-enactments and a re-creation of the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, the Grand Review March, in which federal armies marched in Washington, D.C., after the war, also was re-created.

Participants included four black girls, dressed in white shirts and black skirts, who volunteered to play freed slaves in the march, according to Christabell Rose, or “Ms. Rosie” when she spoke as part of the re-enactment.

“It’s part of history. There were slaves and there was a battle fought,” she said.

Rose said the four girls were helping to start a new trend of bringing a portrayal of slavery into Civil War re-enactments. “It’s part of history and it needs to be addressed,” she said.

Events got off with a bang Saturday after a large crowd gathered in a wooded area of Viles Arboretum and heard Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant – portrayed by Scott Whitney, who came to the event from Illinois – describe some of the battles as the end of the war neared. After he concluded, a musket blast – so loud and unexpected that several spectators jumped and gasped – rang out, and a young boy ran to the crowd, shouting, “The Rebels are coming!”

A volley of musket fire was exchanged between 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Union re-enactors crouched behind a rock wall and a handful of Confederate re-enactors, flag held high, making their way across a field to attack. The Union troops held them off, and eventually, after extensive shooting, forced their surrender.

Mark DesMeules, the arboretum’s executive director, said the event is another effort to spread awareness and bring more people to enjoy the 224-acre property, which includes a wide array of plant and animal life, as well as numerous art installations on the grounds.

He said organizers considered the current controversy about Confederate flags being displayed at government buildings, which erupted after photographs of the alleged Charleston gunman with a Confederate flag were discovered. However, organizers of the arboretum gathering concluded that the past week’s events weren’t relevant to what they were doing.

“This is living history, a Civil War event,” DesMeules said. “As far as we are concerned, we’re presenting history, which has no bearing on the current controversy.”

The event was scheduled to continue Sunday, but DesMeules said it appeared likely to get rained out.

Re-enactors noted the Union’s surrender terms, issued by Grant to Gen. Robert E. Lee, were lenient, allowing the defeated soldiers to take their own horses, and even sidearms if they owned them, and return to their homes instead of facing captivity.

That respect for the defeated opponent was furthered by Chamberlain, chosen by Grant to lead the surrender of Gordon and the Army of Northern Virginia, after the surrender terms were set at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. Chamberlain was portrayed by Michigan resident Ted Chamberlain, who said he is proud to be a cousin of the famous general. He also took part in re-enactments this year at a Virginia ceremony marking the 150th anniversary of the Confederate surrender. He said about 27,000 spectators attended that event.

Chamberlain, in a scene re-enacted Saturday with help from the hundreds of spectators who were assigned to be either Union or Confederate soldiers, had his troops “carry arms,” a form of salute, as the defeated enemy troops marched between rows of them to surrender their weapons.

Gordon took note of that, acknowledging Chamberlain, “whose kind actions this day have done a lot to close the wounds of this conflict,” he said. “In the future we will fight side by side with our former foes and we will be one country once again, but we will never forget.”