The Civil War Revisited

October 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The grounds of Kearney Park are being transformed into a battlefield this weekend as Fresno hosts the biggest civil war re-enactment on the west coast. It's an event that also serves as a history lesson for both the young and old.

The gunfire during this weekend's reenactment portrays some of the first shots fired in Charleston, South Carolina, during the Civil War. "Charleston was the cradle of the revolution, the hotbed of secessionists, where the Civil War started," said the bearded man who represented Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Confederate and Union soldiers could be seen marching through the park Saturday, as Abraham Lincoln mingled with visitors. But the battles, complete with cannons, are the biggest draw for visitors. "They're really loud and cool," said 9 year old Adam Galvan.

While Galvan said he was excited to learn about history, watching the war unfold in front of him was difficult. "I thought the battle - it's sad because of all the men that died in the war. They just kept fighting and fighting and fighting. Some died by reloading. It's so sad," said Galvan.

More than 600,000 Americans died during the Civil War, and it all started in Charleston. "That's more people than live in Fresno. Imagine four years from now and it's a ghost town," said "Lee."

But the Civil War, Revisited, is about more than just fighting. It also shows the soldiers' softer side, like how they made music by turning a cigar box into a fiddle. "There's an actual period authentic sketch of a soldier sitting on a cracker box playing a cigar box fiddle so we know they actually had them back then," said re-enactor Craig Wolford.

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