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Civil War reenactment planned for March

By Staff, 12/20/18 1:48 PM

PRESCOTT – A Civil War reenactment is scheduled for March 1-3, 2019.

This will be a reenactment of the Battle of Prairie D’Ane on the original battlefield. However, before the reenactment can be held, there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of volunteers are needed to help out.

A meeting was held by the board of directors of the Nevada County Depot and Museum Thursday afternoon. Judy Duke, museum curator, said dedicated people who are willing to work are needed to get this done.

Paul Ridgell, a board member and Civil War reenactor gave an overview of the plan. Volunteers, he said, will be needed to help with parking, site cleanup and public safety. Somewhere between 30-40 volunteers will be needed in all, but they can’t just show up the days of the reenactment. They need to learn the battlefield, he told the board, along with the troop positions and be available to help people get to the site as the roads are in poor shape at this time.

Part of the problem is culverts are washed out, he said. But, Nevada County Judge Mark Glass has agreed to put culverts in. Another problem is getting rid of beavers in the area. Initially the plan was to contract someone to remove the beavers from the area, but this would cost around $500 to do. Superintendents from White Oak Lake State Park volunteered to help trap the beavers so the board can save money.

There will be two camps, Ridgell said, one for the Federal soldiers and one for the Confederate troops, along with civilians and traveling vendors, who will be selling Civil War items at the battlefield. “We’d like to use the Gordon property for parking,” he told the panel, “and there’s a building we’d like to use as a visitor’s center.” Research on the battle has been done, and the materials from the 2014 reenactment are still available for use.

Ridgell said 300 reenactors want to come and there could be 12 pieces of artillery. But, the property is, and likely will be, muddy, and equipment needs to be donated to help keep the property as close to pristine as possible. In addition, water for the troops and their livestock will be needed. A water buffalo could be borrowed from the Arkansas National Guard for this, and 100 bales of hay will be needed for the horses.

Committees needed will be: publicity and advertising; clean up, ticket sales, scheduling volunteers, contacting vendors (such as the local civic clubs) and transporting spectators to the battlefield.

The cost of liability insurance for the reenactment is unknown at this time, but will be researched prior to the next meeting on Jan. 10.

It was agreed there’s a lot of potential for growth as reenactors are looking for places west of the Mississippi to hold their battles, especially for sites with easy access, such as these. Ridgell pointed out reenactments can bring a lot of money into the community.