Crowds watch Civil War re-enactment in Duncans Mills

  • Confederate reenactors take part in a battle during the Civil War Days on Sunday, July 21, 2013 in Duncan Mills, California. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

A bucolic Duncans Mills pasture ringed by redwood-carpeted hillsides turned historically deadly Sunday as Civil War "soldiers" battled for ground.

Confederate and United States flags snapped in the strong breeze while a company of rebels in mismatched uniforms and the navy-blue-clad Yankees advanced on each other.

It all went on amidst calvary soldiers wheeling on horseback, rebel yells, screams from the wounded and smoke building from volleys of musket fire (without bullets) and thunderous cannon blasts.

Civil War Days


"Give 'em hell, Johnny reb! Give 'em hell," shouted a woman sitting in a shaded gallery set up along the field that was filled with several hundred people.

"This is fabulous. The scenery is great. The soldiers are terrific," said another viewer, Janis Herbert. The self-described Civil War enthusiast had traveled from Folsom for the day.

"Did you see the one soldier die? He keeled over so dramatically, everyone was clapping," Herbert said, "...all in the spirit of honor."

This weekend was the 14th annual Civil War Days, held each year in Freezeout Flat near the Russian River. The field is owned by the Casini family, who run a popular nearby campground.

It typically is home to grazing cattle. But for this weekend it was a step back in time with a battlefield, tented civilian town and camps set up for the two sides.

The event helps to educate the public about the pivotal war in American history, said event coordinator Ted Miljevich of Saratoga.

Before and after the battles, the public can wander through the town and camps, learning about any number of era-related things, from the working of a telegraph machine to how far a cannonball can fly.

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