It was a beautiful day for a battle or two on Saturday in Knights Ferry, as morning showers gave way to afternoon sunshine and breezes.
The conditions were perfect for the annual Civil War Re-enactment, set near the historic covered bridge. Union and Confederate soldiers fought valiantly, with cannon fire booming overhead.
The volunteers take care to make everything as historically accurate as possible, Terri Duty explained to the crowd. A sixth-grade teacher during the week, Duty took the opportunity to offer some historical tidbits to the hundreds of attendees.
For example, she said, when the Civil War started in 1861, it was widely believed the skirmish would conclude within a month. Instead, it went on for four years. And among the many awful effects it had on the country, the war ravaged the land.
“Most of the fighting took place in the south. It was just devastated,” she said. After the Battle of Gettysburg, “There were no birds left. There were no bats left.”
What was left was a lot of mosquitoes, and the diseases they carried. Two out of three men who died in the war were felled by diseases rather than injuries suffered in battle, Duty told the crowd.
Duty, a Texan who lives in San Jose, got involved in the Civil War re-enactment group 14 years ago, for her then-12-year-old son. He still takes part when he can, as does a 21-year-old son. And her 16-year-old daughter was among the soldiers fighting on Saturday. That’s historically accurate, too, she explained to the crowd.
Women would disguise themselves as men and fight. “They would only get found out when they were wounded ... or would become pregnant.”
The re-enactment continues Sunday. Admittance is free, and people can go through the camps and talk to the participants. Battles are scheduled at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.