Reenactment provides blast from the past
Club brings glimpse of Civil War to campus
April 24, 2006 —
The SVSU History Club hosted a genuine Civil War re-enactment on Saturday complete with cannon demonstrations and plenty of gunfire.
It was the first time the History Club has put on the event. When asked why the Club chose to organize and put on a re-enactment in particular, president Christy Willis said it was just something they found interesting.
"The Civil War is still living today," she stated. Willis said that the Club considered a number of factors when planning the event; in the end, they chose a Civil War re-enactment because there were enough local groups to make it possible and because the cost was not prohibitive - in fact, all of the re-enactors were volunteers. Willis said that the primary expense was the cost of gunpowder that is used to fire the cannon.
The re-enactment group included members from the 5th Michigan Infantry of Saginaw and Bay County, the 14th Michigan Infantry of Shiawassee and Genesee County and the 2nd Michigan Battery B Hudson Artillery. The commanding officer of the group was Cpt. Scott Cummings and the Artillery Commander was Corp. Ric Julian. Both men have been involved in the re-enactment community for several decades; Julian has been doing artillery demonstrations for 36 years.
Attendees were invited to interact with the re-enactors and ask them questions about what it was like to be a soldier in the Civil War. Some of the soldiers described the conditions one would experience during the War. Charles Buckhahn, who served under Cpt. Cummings, related tales of privation and suffering and described the kind of pride one experiences serving for one's country.
The group made use of authentic Civil War era weapons and equipment, including rifled muskets, cast-iron mess kits, true-to-life uniforms, and, of course, a 163-year-old cannon. After a cannon demonstration, Corp. Julian told a story that tells of the cannon's worth: at one point, he attempted to take out a $2 million insurance policy on the cannon from Lloyd's of London, the eccentric insurance and investment cabal known for insuring against peculiar claims like kidnap ransom and fine art theft. Lloyd's rejected Julian, citing that a dollar value could not be assigned to the cannon, saying that it was "priceless."
Julian said that the group planned on doing seven or eight reenactments this year, up from five in 2005.
He went on to say that the group has also experienced a surge of new recruits. Nearly half of Cpt. Cummings' company was college-aged and younger.
The reenactment ended with a large number of attendees participating in a marching drill.