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Civil War Battles Rage
Soldiers, families and camp followers recreate life during the Civil War for a reenactment over the weekend of March 21 and 22. In addition to being a replica of conditions during the war, participants actually use the accommodations during the event weekend. Participants are members of the American Civil War Association which stages similar events across Northern and Central California during the year. The ACWA is a non-profit educational living history organization. Ric McGinnis/The Leader


Sometimes, the South won. Sometimes, the North prevailed.

It was all in the name of fairness and it didn’t really decide the actual war.

Members of the American Civil War Association set up camp in the hills surrounding Knights Ferry this past weekend, in the area for the annual Civil War reenactment weekend.

The historic depiction of Civil War battles, campsites, soldier life and more is brought to the Ferry each March and this weekend was picture perfect for the living history lesson. The smell of gunpowder, the blast of the cannons and the soldiers and civilians in period dress transported visitors to the small hamlet back in time.

The southern Confederate and northern Union Army each had brigades march into the valley to prepare for the mock battles, with four scheduled over the weekend near the historic covered bridge in Knights Ferry. Each ‘side’ had a turn winning a battle and true to history, there were also youngsters playing music for soldiers to march to battle by that were deemed too young to take up arms but were on the battlefield nevertheless.

The reenactment volunteers are members of the American Civil War Association of Northern and Central California, a non-profit educational living history organization. The participants learn as much as they can about the era, so that they can accurately portray events. Over the weekend, the club members built Union and Confederate encampments at the Army Corps of Engineers park grounds near the Stanislaus River, offered a glimpse into the everyday life of a Civil War soldier and fought mock battles, twice on Saturday and again on Sunday. In addition to the Confederate Brigade and the Union Battalion, there were artillery batteries on both sides of the river as well as participants on horseback. Visitors had the best view of the battles from a hillside overlooking the valley from the north. The ACWA performs these reenactments up and down the state each year since being formed in 1994.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the Civil War, being signed on May 9, 1865.

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