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A glimpse of Civil War-era life

July 26, 2012
By KURT HAUGLIE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

COPPER HARBOR - Fort Wilkins Historic State Park has re-enactors in mid- to late-19th century period costumes all summer, but for one weekend, they give way to a Civil War-era re-enactment organization.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the 30-member Battery D 1st Michigan Light Artillery re-enactment group will give presentations of artillery, cannon, drilling and daily life, such as cooking. A doctor will demonstrate treating battle wounds, also.

Fort Wilkins is located at 15223 U.S. 41 north of Copper Harbor. Rob Strittmatter, park superintendent, said although there is no charge for the event itself, entry for vehicles will require a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Recreation Passport, which can be purchased for $10 at the park entry gate, if necessary. There is no entry charge for those on foot or riding bicycles.

Article Photos

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Members of the Battery D 1st Michigan Light Artillery re-enactment group perform at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in July 2010. The group will be performing again at the park Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Strittmatter said Battery D will be performing from 8 a.m. to 8:30 or 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

"They have (demonstrations of) general camp life throughout the day," he said.

This is the 28th consecutive year Battery D has performed at Fort Wilkins, and Strittmatter said park officials decided to have them perform because they thought the re-enactment group's purpose coincided with the park's purpose of presenting what life was like for soldiers and their families living at the fort in the middle 19th century.

Based in downstate Michigan, Battery D performs throughout the Midwest, and Strittmatter said they are quite popular.

"This group is pretty well known," he said.

Most of the re-enactors are from Michigan, but some are from Indiana.

During the weekend Battery D is at the park, Strittmatter said the park's re-enactors take that time off. They will be at the park until Aug. 17.

There are signs on the highway leading to the park, Strittmatter said, and there are signs in the park leading to the encampment site.

Strittmatter said when they aren't performing particular activities, the Battery D re-enactors will be available to answer questions for guests.

"It's a great experience," he said.



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