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Civil War Comes Alive In Hermann

Posted: Sep 22, 2012 3:36 PM by Garrett Bergquist
Updated: Sep 22, 2012 10:20 PM

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HERMANN - Cannons boomed and sabers clanged as blue and grey met once again on the field of battle in Hermann Saturday.

Dozens descended on the historic Hermann Farm Saturday for Hermann's annual Civil War Days. Reenactors demonstrated Civil War-era cooking, blacksmithing, music and other activities. That afternoon, spectators watched as Union forces routed Confederate troops in a reenactment on a nearby hill.

Eric Douglas, who has been reenacting for the past five years, said riding into battle as a member of the Confederate cavalry is his favorite part of reenacting.

"History books are not all there is to history," he said. "Riding into battle is kind of interesting. It's not something very many people do.

One reenactor had family ties to the Civil War. Mark Arbuthnot said he had relatives fight for both the Union and the Confederacy. He said seeing Ken Burns' documentary, "The Civil War," is what first sparked his interest in reenacting. He said his favorite part of reenacting is sitting around a campfire with his fellow reenactors, talking, telling jokes and "looking up at the night sky filled with stars."

Angela da Silva, an American Culture Studies professor at Lindenwood University, spent the day in character as a slave named Lila. da Silva said when she started reenacting, she noticed slaves and slave women in particular were missing from the Civil War narrative. She said this results in part from the fact that many slave families' histories were passed down orally and thus were not included in written accounts of the Civil War for many years.

"Most people just think of slaves in mass. But these were individuals that had names and aspirations," da Silva said, adding Lila is based in part on her own family's history.

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