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"I admit it, I’m just a big kid and I love making big noises with cannons," he said in a phone interview.
But for him, re-enacting is more than just about faux battles. He especially enjoys the interactions with visitors to the re-enactor camps — and yes, the participants will stay in tents, too, as the real soldiers did.
If you go
Two re-enactments will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pa. Each re-enactment group expects more than 10,000 participants at their events, with war buffs donning wool uniforms and bearing weapons — firing blanks — appropriate for the time. Living history and educational presentations, along with bands playing period music, are also on the schedule.
The re-enactments will take place on private properties on the weekends bookending the actual July 1-3 battle anniversary. Official events at Gettysburg National Military Park begin June 30.
Blue-Gray Alliance re-enactment » More than 10,000 Civil War buffs are expected to gather for the first of the two battle re-enactments, which an organizer boasts is “like no others of its size and scale. It is by re-enactors for re-enactors.”
WHEN: June 28-30.
WHERE: Bushey Farm, 1845 Pumping Station Road, Gettysburg, Pa.
TICKETS: $10 for one day, $20 for two days. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult but do not need tickets.
Gettysburg Anniversary Committee re-enactment: » The organization said it had more than 10,000 participants registered by early June and expected 135 cannon and about 400 horses for an event in which “those dusty old history books will come alive.”
WHEN: July 4-7.
WHERE: Redding Farm, 1085 Table Rock Road, Gettysburg, Pa.
TICKETS: In advance tickets range from $35 for one day to $90 for all four days for those 13 and older; $15 to $40 for children 6 to 12, children 5 and younger free. Grandstand seating $15 to $60. Prices higher at the gate.
"Just to get people to think that (the war) was way more complicated than what people believed," he said.
Minton, the federal commander, started getting involved around the time that the 1993 movie "Gettysburg" was released. The film, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Killer Angels," by Michael Shaara, inspired many others like Minton to get involved, too.
Minton looks forward to the camaraderie built up around campfires at night, exchanging stories and ideas about the war.
"We all have different areas that interest us. What an incredible learning tool," he said. "If you picture talking to these people constantly, it just grows into real, good friendships ... It really makes an event almost a reunion."
One in which most participants are wearing wool clothing, anyway, to match the authentic uniforms of the Civil War.
Patrick Davis, 57, of West Chester, will serve as one of the top Confederate officers under Gesuero in the second re-enactment, overseeing camps. The purpose of re-enacting, he said, is to help ensure others don’t forget what happened 150 years ago at the crossroads town in south-central Pennsylvania.
"It’s the one everyone wants to do. I mean, Gettysburg is the most studied battle in the history of the world," Davis said. "It’s kind of the Holy Grail for re-enactors."
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