By Susan Redden
Globe Staff Writer
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Visitors will be able to watch Civil War re-enactors skirmish through downtown Carthage on Saturday, May 14, commemorating the battle that took place there July 5, 1861.
Thus far, 496 re-enactors have registered for the event.
There also will be 69 soldiers on horseback and 60 pieces of artillery, according to numbers reviewed at a planning meeting last week, said Wendi Douglas, director of the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau and chairperson of the Battle of Carthage Committee.
Re-enactors will camp in Municipal Park on Friday, and, starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, march down Oak Street to Central Park. The battle will start at 2 p.m. at Central Park, then will move through town to the courthouse square.
Among the re-enactors, 308 will represent the Missouri State Guard and 188 will represent the union troops led by Col. Franz Sigel.
About 100 people have registered to serve as civilians in period costume, supporting either side in the battle. Observers also are encouraged to come in period clothing, Douglas said.
The re-enactment is unique in that it will take place in the city rather than in open fields.
That will make the battle more authentic, because the 1861 battle “took place on about nine miles of open ground and then was fought right through the center of the city,” according to Gordon Billheimer, of Carthage and a longtime re-enactor. He is helping to organize the event as head of Battle of Carthage, Inc.
On Saturday morning, camps will be open in Municipal Park so visitors can talk to re-enactors and see how soldiers lived during the time.
“They can walk around and see the different military units and they can buy from the vendors that will be there,” Douglas said. Vendors will be selling Civil War-era clothing and other items.
Also Saturday morning, cavalry riders will participate in an obstacle course and competition at Rodeo Arena in Municipal Park.
There also will be a weapons safety and uniform inspection shortly before troops begin their march to Central Park.
In addition, there will be a cricket match at Rock Stadium in Municipal Park.
Civil War dance
Civil War re-enactors will hold a dance starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 14, that will be open to the public.