Battlefield “casualties” were high in the Saturday’s Civil War reenactment on a field north of the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg. The event that began on Friday was presented by the 10th Missouri Artillery/Infantry and featured a battle reenactment on both Saturday and Sunday.
Both the Confederate and Union actors strived to recreate an authentic historical account and present it to the public not only through battle scenes, but through clothing, food prep and period wound care.
The Confederate Army’s 10th Missouri Artillery would battle against the Union blue’s, 7th and 30th Missouri Irish Brigade and the 10th Illinois.
“There really was a Battle of Warrensburg,” Lt. Mike Sager, with Irish Brigade, said. “It happened after the battle of Lexington. [Confederate Gen. Sterling] Price’s army tried to come into Warrensburg, but they were repelled twice over a three day period.
“We’re not portraying that battle, we’re portraying something else, because in this one the Union gets turned away, that’s because the Confederates organized it,” he added smiling.
Since the reenactment wasn’t depicting a certain historical event Sager said on Saturday the Union would lose the battle and then on Sunday the Confederate Army would lose.
Sager, of Kansas City, noted that the 7th and 30th Missouri had 20 men and women on hand for the reenactment. Some of their members drive as far away as Texas, Nebraska and Colorado to participate.
“We actually have monthly meetings, but we Skype them,” he added.
Sager said in this past weekend’s event there would be “heavy casualties” because they would be marching into cannon fire. He added that he had been doing reenactments for 10 years and became involved because of family.
“Girl Scouts don’t camp out and I’m a father of four daughters,” he said proudly. “They love it …. we camp out eight to 10 times a year.”
His daughters Jessica, 26, Amy, 23, Claire, 12, and Sarah, 1, all attend the reenactments, when possible, and dress the part.
During the weekend battles, the Missouri Irish Brigade was receiving help from Union forces in Illinois.
“We also have the 10th Illinois over there,” he said pointing toward their camp. “That’s actually a high school company, out of St. Louis. They’ve got 18 men and women.”
The 10th Illionis Capt. Richard “Mont” Montgomery, of Florissant said seven of their members were high school students. The students attend North County Christian School, in Florissant. Montgomery, who is the military history teacher, said the class covers two events a year, World War II and the Civil War.
“We have one quarter of academic study and it’s rigorous,” he noted. “They are doing a small paper a week and then they have a large essay to do at the end of the quarter. From that we put them in uniform, we teach them drill, we teach them weapons (and) weapon safety.
“Then their final for this semester is to go out in that era and have a tactical against the other side,” Montgomery added. “We were lucky that we were able to fall in with the 7th and 30th Missouri Irish boys. They welcomed us first thing Friday and said ‘we’ve got your back, don’t worry about anything.’”
Besides reenactment soldiers the groups also need nurses and doctors trained in the care of battlefield “bullet wounds” and other grievous “injuries.”
On Saturday Trina Rasmussen, her son David Rasmussen, both of Gerald, and her granddaughter Jadelynn Thrasher, 7, were manning the Confederate Army medical tent of Dr. Charles Cunningham.
Rasmussen, of the Missouri Medical Brigade, has been a Civil War actor for 12 years, but said her granddaughter has been participating since she was a baby. The family attends approximately 20 reenactment events a year.
Sharing the history of medical care during the Civil War is what Rasmussen enjoys most about reenacting.
“Simple stuff like sterilization, happened because of and during the Civil War,” she noted. “A surgeon was running out of sutures so he told his orderly ‘find me some something.’ He went out and got some horse hair and boiled it and they used it.
“The next day the surgeon realized that there was less infections with the horse hair that had been boiled, than the sutures,” she added. “That was the beginning of sterilization.”
During the weekend reenactment Rasmussen worked with Dr. Cunningham on “wounded” soldiers. They used a realistic moulage technique to create fake wounds with “blood” that would spurt from a gun shot limb or abdomen.The two also performed “amputations.”
The 10th Infantry’s Capt. Joe Broski, of Garden City, a 31 year reenactment veteran and once an extra in several movies such as “Dances with Wolves,” “The Blue and the Gray” and “Gettysburg,” said the 10th had been reenacting for a decade.
Broski said most of their men were out of Garden City, but 1st Lt. Richard Taylor and Pvt. Lyle Brinegar were both from Iowa.
“We’re pretty much from all over the Midwest,” Broski added.
The men agreed that what they enjoyed about Civil War reenacting was the history it provided for themselves and others.
“People that are involved are like minded,” he noted. “We like to educate the public and it’s very good education.”
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss; photos by Faith Bemiss | Democrat.