Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Guns of War!

There were several smaller battles of the Civil War that took place in Missouri, and actually Missouri’s part in the war was important, although not as well known as say Bull Run or Gettysburg. The Battle of Carthage was the first battle west of the Mississippi, and while the Southern sympathizers pushed the Union soldiers led by Sigel of St. Louis back from the town, it was not really a win. Sigel brought his 1000 plus German soldiers to face more than twice that number of Missouri State Guard lead by a pro-Southern state governor. The numerous followers were untrained, and many did not even have arms other than pitch forks or axes they grabbed at their farms.

The original battle is also knows as the Battle of Dry Fork where the first skirmish was made. The armies advanced into the town of Carthage, and moved on the eastern side of town to the area now known as Carter Park before moving on to Sarcoxie. The battle was on July 5, 1861 and the temperatures were hot and humid after days of rain.

This weekend over 500 reenactors gathered in the local Municipal Park to set up camp and reenact the battle. Soldiers from both sides including many mounted on horses advanced toward town over the Oak Street Bridge and engaged in a fierce battle at the Central Park.

After bursts of cannon fire, mock hand to hand combat and advancing lines of mounted Southern Guards, the battle moved on to the city square where the fighting continued. The day was actually quite chilly and the path not historically correct, but the main thrust of the mock battle gave viewers the idea of the how the battle played out in 1861.

This year Civil War reenactments and historic activities remembering of time period will be numerous to observe the 150th anniversary of this war where brother often fought against brother. Missouri was seriously divided between Union and Southern sympathies. Having grown up in Kansas, my loyalty had always been with saving the Union of these United States. Imagine the shock I received when recently I learned my great great uncles fought for the Confederacy from Cedar County, Missouri!

What a wonderful year to reread Gone with the Wind and pop some corn for a night with Scarlet on a video. Will there be Civil War reenactments in your area, and do you plan to follow them?


Ames said...

They have reinactments here in Florida too. They also set up camps in Fort Christmas. A man that I used to work with participated in them all the time. His entire family did. They are meticulous about everything being as close to acurate as can be, right down to their clothing and food and even the songs they would sing or play on instruments. Very interesting!~Ames

Linda O'Connell said...

Doesn't his bring history to life? We have this same sort of reenactment at Jefferson Barracks National Park.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

I've never been to a reenactment (Shhh...don't tell anyone. The other Southerners will boot me out!) but bet it would be awesome. You make it sound like a worthwhile venture.