Learned a lot while talking to Civil War reenactors for the story that will run Monday about the Memorial Day weekend encampment and reenactment of the Battle of the Wilderness at Lake County History Center. I learned from Gary Dunn that development of rifles in the latter years of the Civil War helped the North immensely. Muskets, which were used early in the war, were a smooth bore weapon and why what's called Napoleonic tactics developed for fighting. That's when soldiers line up toe to toe in a straight line and march forward firing at their enemy, which was likewise lined up opposite them. Rifles, which have barrels with grooves, Dunn told me, had a range of 100 yards and would allow soldiers to fight individually and take cover behind trees and buildings. And from Greg VanWeys I learned there are many similarities between the terrain at the history center and that of the Battle of the Wilderness, so that is part of the reason they chose to renenact it at 2 p.m. both Saturday May 24 and Sunday May 25. It's been choreographed by commanders and officers on both Confederate and Union sides among the reenactors so it's authentic but neither spectators or participants will get hurt.
I thought I knew something about the Civil War but these guys put me to shame. Check out the story on Monday and you'll probably find out a few things too. Better yet go to the history center on Memorial Day weekend. The good folks there have lots of food and fun planned for the weekend, with activities for all.