Civil War history to come alive during cemetery walk
By Tim Barnum
News Editor | email@example.com
WEST BRANCH — Battles and the lifestyles of Civil War soldiers and their families will be brought to life by re-enactors during the Ogemaw County Genealogical and Historical Society’s second annual Civil War Walk Oct. 6.
The Civil War Walk starts at 2 p.m. at the Brookside Cemetery in West Branch, where OCGHS Vice President Sally Rea said about 45 Civil War veterans are buried. The walk will take participants to 16 of those veterans’ graves, where several re-enactors will portray solider and speak with the visitors, according to Rea.
“Our re-enactors will talk about some of the battles they were in, such as (the) siege of Yorktown, fall of Petersburg, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Seven Day Battle,” she said. “And the ones who were in Andersonville will be telling of their terrible experiences while they were held in the most dreaded prison during the Civil War.”
Other re-enactors will portray soldiers’ family members, Rea added.
She said each tour lasts about 35 minutes. Rea said Civil War re-enactors who are members of the 3rd Battery of the 1st Michigan Light Artillery Unit will join the Genealogical and Historical Society’s re-enactors. These re-enactors — Jim Larrison, Dale Shantz and Becky Shantz — were part of a Civil War encampment in Comins Rea and other club members went to this year, and will provide some firepower for the walk, Rea said.
“Jim and Dale will be shooting over the graves after each tour ends,” she said. “Dale’s wife Becky will portray a Civil War wife. After the firing of guns and possibly a small cannon, ‘Taps’ will be played.”
During last year’s walk, which was the first one, Rea said the weather was overcast, but 87 people still came out for the cemetery tours. She said the event goes on rain or shine, and she thinks even more people will show up this year.
“I expect more than 100,” she said.
Coffee, hot chocolate and donut holes will be served to guests at the event. The cemetery tours cost $2, and the last tour begins at 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at West Branch City Hall or at the OGCHS Museum on South Fifth Street.
For more information, contact Rea at 989-343-0177.