By: Jonathan Rodriguez
April 12, 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The National Park Service and the city of Charleston hosted hundreds of Civil War re-enactors for nine days of recreations of the opening shots of the war to commemorate the observance.
After voting to secede from the Union in 1860, South Carolinians ordered the removal of Union troops from Ft. Sumter in Charleston harbor. The Union denied the Confederacy's demand and in April of 1861 the confederate army fired on the fort.
They were about to plunge our country into four years of bloody war that would take over 600,000 lives.
Re-enactors camped out in Charleston all week to try and relive the experience. Nineteenth century clothing and weapons help set the scene for what day to day life was like for the soldiers.
Bruce Blackmon is in charge of the Union re-enactors in Ft Sumter.
"They dug sand for sandbags and put them in front of the cannons. They did artillery drill and infantry drill and musket firings…so they've been very , very, very busy, " said Blackmon.
Confederate re-enactors camped out in tents, firing cannons from the shore. Sam McFerson was serving as cook for the confederate troops.
"I like cooking for everyone and learning more about it from people who know more than I know," said McFerson.
Together the re-enactors form their own community and each portray a different person from history.
"We research these men and their lives and when you get into the fort we actually had on officer's meeting and were able to have an 1860's conversation so that's a lot of fun to do," said Blackmon.
Mike Short has been re-enacting wars for over 20 years.
"It gives people an opportunity to see what life may have been like back then. We study diligently the characteristics and items they used to show the public that," said Short.
In Charleston he serves as chaplain for the confederate army.
The soldiers say doing these re-enactments gives people from all over the world a chance come together and remember our nation's history.
"It was an incredibly important part of our history and as tragic and as devastating as it was, it is eventually what solidified what we know today as the United States of America," said Short.
The anniversary of the Civil War may come to an end, but the re-enactors hope the satisfaction they get from recreating history will live on.
"We all pack up and eventually leave but we know that if the good Lord allows us to live long enough we'll come together on anther field some day," said Short.