Monday, August 24, 2009

More on the Mason City Reenactment

During my vacation/book signing tour of Iowa, I spent the weekend of the 15th in Mason City, where I participated in their annual Civil War reenactment. Each year, a different battle is portrayed in which the boys from Cerro Gordo County actually participated. This year, it was the Battle of Pleasant Hill in Louisiana. Although the reenactment was a small event with very little publicity, it still a drew good crowd, and about one hundred reenactors were on hand as well.

The actual battle took place on April 9, 1864, and is officially considered a Union victory. However, at this year's reenactment, the Confederates won. There were many interesting characters about, including Abraham Lincoln. The event also featured a Civil War photographer complete with studio, an old-time root beer stand, a candy stand, a surgeon and nursing demonstration, a Civil War ball, and of course, a sutler selling assorted era clothing and accessories. The event was free to the public, and took place in Mason City's East Park.

I was astounded to learn that participation is dwindling. Of course, the poor economy is partially to blame. I hope more people will attend next year. It is an excellent opportunity to learn about history, see the guys in uniform doing battle, and experience their camp life. If you have the opportunity to see a reenactment, don't pass it up. They are a lot of fun, and the soldiers love talking about and sharing their insight into the Civil War.

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