Hundreds of guests headed to Galt this past weekend as history came alive at the McFarland Living History Ranch. But instead of Galt’s founding families walking the ranch, soldiers from the North and South, clad in replicated uniforms, made themselves comfortable in encampments before heading out to the “battlefield”.
This is the National Civil War Association’s (NCWA) first visit to Galt, and is already planning for another demonstration next year.
Numerous historical roles were portrayed, divided into Union, Confederate and civilian corps, with each corps divided into units that represent historical units.
The Union and Confederate corps portrayed infantry and artillery soldiers, mounted and dismounted cavalry, sharpshooters, and military medical units.
The Union units included the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters, 7th West Virginia Cavalry, 69th New York Volunteer Infantry (the “Irish Brigade”), 71st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (the “California Brigade”), U.S. Artillery Reserve, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry (the “Cal 100), and the United States Army Medical Service.
The Confederate units include the 12th Virginia Volunteer Infantry, Norfolk Light Artillery Blues, James River Squadron, 9th Virginia Cavalry and 15th Alabama Regimental Hospital.
Civilian units include townspeople, Trades & Professions Guild, Working Women Guild & Sons, Greenville Ladies Society, and the New York Irish Soldiers Relief Society.
Other roles portrayed were artisans, chaplains, workers, war veterans, blacksmiths, tradespeople, displaced families, people of means and musicians.
Cannons and muskets could be heard all around the ranch as each side took damage in the skirmishes.
Spectators were able to get a front row seat to the event, watching as cannons were loaded and fired, and soldiers fell after being shot.
NCWA was founded in 1983 and is the oldest active Civil War organization in Northern California and one of the largest groups of civilian re-enactors west of the Mississippi River. The all-volunteer nonprofit educational organization has over 250 members and is still growing. The group’s members educate the public about famous events in both the Eastern Theater of the Civil War (Gettysburg, Manassas and Spotsylvania), as well as the important role of California in the Pacific Theater (Glorieta Pass, Auburn, Captain Ingram’s Partisan Rangers).
NCWA reenactments allow those living in surrounding communities to see, touch and experience history, true to their slogan, “Keeping history alive by living it.”