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Re-enactors portray common soldiers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2014

From cooking, camping and shooting to taking a nap in the shade, the lives of common soldiers were on display Saturday at Vicksburg National Military Park.
Members of the Trans-Mississippi Hellcats re-enactment group spent the day in the park portraying members of Company F of the 3rd Louisiana Infantry — the Shreveport Rangers, said Sam Galyon, who was portraying Capt. William Kinney.
“Our mission is on quality impressions of trans-Mississippi soldiers,” said Galyon who lives in Texas.
Other members of the group live in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Illinois.
The Hellcats took part in artillery and rifle demonstrations early Saturday before marching a mile in period wool uniforms to the 3rd Louisiana Redan, perched atop one of the tallest hills in the park.
“We’re trying to do our best to show what life was like for the average soldier,” said re-enactor Ken Felts.
Average soldiers are who the park was meant to honor, VNMP ranger Ray Hamel said.
“In the park, you’ll see a lot of monuments to officers, but these guys are the reason this park is here,” Hamel said during a demonstration with the re-enactors Saturday morning.

Jordan Harrell, from Jackson LA., looks for a target as he defends the ground at the 3rd Louisiana Redan.
Jordan Harrell, from Jackson LA., looks for a target as he defends the ground at the 3rd Louisiana Redan.

Saturday’s hot, humid weather slowed the march as the Hellcats paused for a break in the shade of trees near the site where Confederate Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton surrendered to Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
By then most of the re-enactors had shucked their wool coats.
“Take how hot it is outside and up that by about 50 degrees it seems,” re-enactor David Russ, who was portraying Capt. T.J. Blythe on Saturday, said of wearing the uniforms in summer weather. “Once you get a sweat going, it kind of insulates you, so it’s not unbearable.”
The re-enactor group will be participating in living history demonstration from 9 a.m. until noon today at the park.
Admission to Vicksburg National Military Park is $8 per noncommercial vehicle or $20 for a yearlong pass.