Sparks fly as re-enactors put on annual Battle of Selma

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 16, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

“Get out of here, Yankees! Die Yankees!”

children in the crowd shouted Sunday at the re-enactment of the Battle of Selma as a Union Calvary charge is repulsed by musket fire.

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Far in the distance, a federal cannon fires and a moment later an explosion inside the fort sprays up dirt and smoke, giving the impression of a real artillery attack.

For the large crowd watching the from

the bleachers, the Battle seems realistic with its explosions and smoke, but the people most enjoying the show are those participating in it.

Hundreds of Civil War re-enactors

from all over the United States traveled to Selma to help revive the popular event

and “to see the elephant”

as Lawrence Underwood of the Mobile 21st Alabama Company D put it.

He explained that the phrase means to be so engrossed in the fighting that you can almost believe it is real.

For a few days at least

many of the troops are totally immersed in the lifestyle of the



Even in the monsoon-like weather over the weekend, most of the soldiers slept in tents or rustic wooden barracks, wore the authentic clothing and cooked their meals over a campfire with their respective units.

Although conditions like these would make most people miserable, these re-enactors

seemed to enjoy the adversity, which Capt. C. H. Johnson of the 4th Kentucky U.S. Infantry referred to as “cold and wet.”

The re-enactors ranged in age from the very young to the very old and included several women who wore hoop skirts and sat around the fires.

All of the re-enactors were white except one black man from Montgomery, who portrayed a Confederate courier for General Bill Rambo.

Most of the units in Selma portrayed Confederate soldiers.

A re-enactor from Indiana said that “at a battle like the one here in Selma every one from the local area wants to be a southerner, so we all have a federal uniform with us so we have enough troops.”

Rambo addressed the crowd from his horse before the Battle to set the scene and afterwards led all the troops in a volley of rifle fire to salute the men and women who fought and died during the Civil War.

Jesse Swanson is staff photographer for The Selma Times-Journal.