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Civil War skirmish in downtown Virginia City

Karl Horeis, Appeal staff writer

A Union scouting party was repulsed by heavy resistance on Virginia City’s C Street Sunday, but the boys in blue regrouped and routed the rebels.

Hundreds lined the boardwalk in sunglasses holding little silver cameras or plugging their ears as the the re-enactors fired muskets.

The 2nd U.S. Infantry Division battled a hodgepodge of Confederate units: the 18th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, 1st Texas Company G and a few members of the 3rd South Carolina.

“That was pretty typical during the Civil War,” said private Don Cooper of Susanville, Calif. “When a company would get below a certain strength, they would fold several companies into one.”

Then 7-year-old Tyrone Davis in an orange T-shirt and Civil War hat approached him.

“Excuse me, are you a Confederate?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you know where a toy store is with muskets that have bayonets?”

Tyrone came from Lemmon Valley with his parents Jenny and David Davis.

Melissa “Private Mel” Hanson of the Union was also the only woman on the battlefield.

“It’s a lot of fun. People should come out and try it,” said the 18-year-old. She got into the action after her dad, James Hanson, and brothers Taylor and Travis were doing it. Sunday was her third battle.

It’s quite authentic to have a woman on the battlefield, explained 1st. Sgt. Harry Ehrman.

“Yeah, believe it or not, there were actually about 600 women that fought in the Civil War,” he said.

It’s also accurate to have Union Civil War re-enactors in Virginia City, he said.

“The Union Army used to come up from Fort Churchill and deal with Southern sympathizers on a weekly basis,” he said.

His commanding officer, Capt. Ken Auld, said the group will go to Winnemucca for a three-day program at the end of September. On Sept. 26, they’ll do a lesson on Civil War history for students from several schools. On Sept. 27 and 28, they’ll have skirmishes and battles.

“There’s hundreds of kids coming out,” he said. “Living history is what really makes an impression on the students.”

Standing on the boardwalk with his family, young Josh Racki of Kalispell, Mont. agreed.

“I thought it was pretty interesting,” he said. “I mean, it was fun, you know.”

After the Union troops rounded up the rebel rabble, the troops in gray sang the South’s anthem, “Dixie.”

“In Dixieland I’ll make my stand, to live and die in Dixie,” they sang, while women in hoop skirts threw lettuce from second-floor balconies at the Union guards.

Rebel Capt. Lance Kramer said as many men died in three days at the battle of Gettysburg as in the entire Vietnam War.

“I have a real passion for making sure we never forget this war,” he said.

His daughter, 18-year-old Jacinda, was one of the lettuce throwers.