- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

MUNFORDVILLE, Ky. (AP) - For the last 20 years, Civil War re-enactor Mike Beck has been stepping back in time and into the shoes of his great-great-grandfather who fought for the Union from 1861 to 1865.

Beck, who is a member of Company D 11th Indiana Volunteer Zouaves, fought alongside his friends on Sept. 12 during the Hart County Civil War Days re-enactment of the Battle for the Bridge on the 219-acre Munfordville Battlefield, the site of three Civil War battles, including the September 1862 Battle and Siege of Munfordville.

Beck’s great-great-grandfather served in the 15th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and actually camped on the Munfordville Battlefield during a cold winter on his way south during the Civil War. He was captured at the Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro and held as a prisoner of war at Libby Prison and later released.

To honor his family heritage, Beck dons the blues and heads out to re-enactments.

“It’s to honor my great-great-grandfather, and I’m a history buff,” he said. “It’s relaxing for me. We’ve got a great group of guys from all over Indiana, all different occupations.”

Beck is a lieutenant at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

“I want to give more of a history lesson than the kids are getting at school and we do that,” he said after coming off the battlefield recently.

Beck participates in multiple re-enactments every year.

Police Officer Charles Minard of Gary, Ind., is also a member of an Indiana volunteer regiment and doesn’t want the country’s history lost.

“With us doing what we do, we feel we can keep the history alive for all the people who fought and died here,” Minard said.

This is Minard’s fourth year in Civil War re-enacting.

Both men were camping at the site this weekend in period tents and living as the soldiers did during that time period.

Behind them, Robert Smith of Elizabethtown was encamped with his wife Carolyn. He is the Confederate commander of the Sixth Kentucky Regiment Company D.

“I originally started doing this because I liked history,” Smith said, “I found out that my third great-uncle fought and died for the Sixth Kentucky Regiment Company B.”

Smith’s uncle fought throughout the South and died after being wounded in the Battle of Shiloh. He died en route on a hospital train to Nashville when he succumbed to his battle wounds and was buried in a plot overlooking the Tennessee River.

“I think it’s important (to re-enact) because it teaches people history. It’s not the history they teach in the history books.”

Ethan Miller, 14, of Scottsville, is a member of Smith’s regiment.

“I always loved history,” Miller said. “I looked up my family history. I have a great-great-great-grandfather who fought with the 48th Infantry.”

He was a Confederate captain. So Miller decided to step into his boots.

“Where else can you go and shoot at your friends all weekend and everybody comes home happy?” Smith said.


Information from: Daily News, https://www.bgdailynews.com

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