A year after they gathered for a big sesquicentennial celebration, re-enactors return this weekend to Richmond Battlefield Park. The Civil War Battle of Richmond was fought in August of 1862. Battlefield superintendent Phillip Seyfrit admits last year’s reenactment will be tough to top.
“You put a lot of emphasis on big anniversaries and then you come back the next year `Well, now what are we going to do?’ And that’s where we’ve come back to this year. Although we haven’t necessarily scaled back, it’s just the things, the most important, we wanna’ make sure people remember,” said Seyfrit.
Out of respect for the sacrifices made by combatants, Seyfrit says they try to avoid a festival atmosphere. Still, given the spectacle offered by re-enactors, he admits that’s often tough to accomplish.
Seyfrit says they repeatedly remind visitors that ove 5300 soldiers were killed, wounded and captured in that battle.
“And it’s not that we want to be a downer. It’s just that we need to remember what these men did. When I do talks across the nation, people will ask me, `Well why in the world do you do this?’ I say `well if I don’t do it and people like you don’t do it, then who’s going to do it?” asked Seyfrit.
The states that sent soldiers into combat at the Battle of Richmond will also be honored. Seyfrit says wreaths will be laid for each state, whether it fought for the Union or for the Confederacy.
“There will be ten white wreaths around the flagpole. The wreaths that have a blue sash on them will represent the northern states. And the wreaths that have a red sash on them will represent the southern states,” says Seyfrit.
Seyfrit adds two wreaths will have blue and red sashes. He says they represent Kentucky and Tennessee. They had units fighting on both sides of the battle.