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A bygone BATTLE

September 04, 2003

Mike Sciacca

A battle raged in Central Park over the weekend. Cannons roared and

ladies tended to the fallen soldiers during Civil War Days in

Huntington Central Park.

The annual Labor Day weekend event again drew large crowds ranging

from the very young to seniors, over a two-day period as Central Park

was transformed back in time 140 years ago.

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Realistic battle exhibitions, complete with cannon fire and

gunshot, drew the greatest crowds, but the public leisurely walked

through the park to see the set up of Confederate and Union camps,

their sleeping quarters and sutler posts.

A hospital demonstration was set up that showed how wounded

soldiers were treated. And, this year, there was even a civil war

wedding on Saturday evening that the public was welcomed to attend.

As battle exhibitions took place on a large grassy area within the

park, women and children dressed in period costumes strolled the

grounds. Some watched the battle from the sidelines, while others

tended to the wounded on the battlefield.

Vicki Scidmore of Whittier and Robin Young of La Habra, friends

who have done Civil War Days reenactments for the past four years,

were part of the 69th New York State Volunteers, a group also known

as the Irish Brigade.

The women walked through the camp grounds dressed in hoop skits

and bonnets. They wore lace gloves and carried parasols to shade them

from the sun.

The two women, who say they are history buffs, do up to four Civil

War Days reenactments throughout the state "in a good year," Young

said.

"What most people don't know is that at the start of the war, the

Army never expected such a great number of wounded and casualties and

the women came out to help," Young said. "They tended to the wounded,

doing such things as ripping up their petticoats for tourniquets.

They provided water and food and whatever else they could to help."

Scidmore said she first got involved in Civil War Days because of

Young and said she enjoys the experience.

"It's fun to play the part," she said. "The women of the Irish

Brigade would do civilian things, like sew and write letters and help

out with nursing."

During the first battle demonstration of the weekend, women could

be seen tending to fallen soldiers on the battlefield.

"At Gettysburg, there was, on average, five wounded to one

civilian woman," said Young, who knew her role inside and out.

Scidmore and Young, also dress in period costuming, take part in

the Renaissance Faire at Glen Helen Regional Park in San Bernardino

County.

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