Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Saturday, September 10, 2011
by Mary Pieper

Battle of Bull Run re-created Saturday
as part of the annual Civil War Battle and Encampment.

Rebel troops fire their guns Saturday during a re-enactment of the Battle of First Bull Run
during 18th annual Civil War Battle and Encampment in East Park.
The three-day event also featured vendors, camp fires, music and other activities.
~ Globe Gazette photograph by Jake Rajewsky

MASON CITY - The First Battle of Bull Run was recreated Saturday in East Park as a tribute to the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. Smoke filled the air as cannons and rifles were fired. Spectators watched from the sidelines, including Stephanie PAULUS, of Rockford, and her son, Wyatt, 13.

It was the first time they had been to the Mason City Civil War Battle and Encampment.

"It's something different," PAULUS said. "We came to see what it's about."

They watched the re-enactors loading blanks before Saturday's battle started.

"It's pretty cool," PAULUS said.

This weekend marks the 18th year the battle and encampment has taken place in Mason City. Because of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the early days of the war were emphasized.

The First South Carolina re-enactment group from Minnesota wore dark green uniforms instead of the usual Confederate gray.

Kevin AMUNDSON, of New Prague, Minn., said the uniforms were actually hunting shirts.

During the first battles of the war, such as Bull Run, the soldiers "wore what they had" rather than official uniforms, he said.

Saturday's re-enactment recreated the First Battle of Bull Run.
~ Globe Gazette photograph by Jake Rajewsky

The re-enactors said this year's event was a welcome change because it took place in September rather than July and August as in the past, when the hot, humid weather made it uncomfortable for Union and Confederate troops in their wool uniforms. The cooler weather also was nicer for the re-enactors who sleep in tents set up in East Park, according to Mark Smith, of Mason City, a member of the Third Iowa Light Artillery. He noted last year it was still so warm at night that he couldn't sleep.

Doug MITCHELL, of Mason City, a member of the Mason City Civil War Council, said another advantage of having the re-enactment in September is 170-180 local schoolchildren came to the Kids Day activities on Friday to learn about what life was like during the Civil War.

"That was a great turnout," he said.

Union soldiers fire a cannon during the Civil War re-enactment.
~ Globe Gazette photograph by Jake Rajewsky

Randy MILLS, of Corwith, recently began attending Civil War re-enactments with the Third Iowa Light Artillery. He said his favorite part is "starting fires" - campfires, that is. SMITH said the re-enactors take on a personality or persona.

Another member of the Third Iowa, Deb GAGE of Osage, portrays Dr. Mary WALKER - the first-ever U.S. Army female surgeon. GAGE said WALKER had to write to President LINCOLN to get permission to join the Army.

"She didn't take ‘no' for an answer," she said.

WALKER "would be very happy with what we are doing today," GAGE said.

SMITH said he participates in re-enactments because he loves history, particularly Civil War history. He said it is important to remember that even though our country has been through tough times recently, "we have been through a lot worse, we stuck together and we got by just fine."

The event continues today with the re-enactment of the Battle of Wilson's Creek, another early Civil War battle, as well as other activities.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2011



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