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Civil War comes to life this weekend

In the mock "Battle of Yulee Sugar Mill,'' the Union soldiers win the battle one day and the Confederates win the following day.

By JORGE SANCHEZ

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001


The roar and smoke of cannons and musket fire will help re-create a battle between the North and South at a Civil War re-enactment this weekend.

"The Battle of Yulee Sugar Mill" will take place on a large field on U.S. 19 north of Crystal River. The re-enactment will feature cannon barrages, followed by attacks and counterattacks by calvary and foot soldiers.

The mock battles will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Gates open at 9 a.m. each day.

People can view the battles by sitting along the sidelines and watching the opposing forces blast away at each other. Spectators should be aware that the cannon barrages are very loud and can startle children.

During the mock battles, casualties are incurred on each side and are attended to just as they would have been during the Civil War. The Union side wins the battle one day and the Confederates win the following day.

Spectators are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for viewing the battle, which lasts about an hour.

Other activities include Civil War-era camp sites, entertainment by the 97th Regiment String Band and food. Vittles will include roasted turkey legs, chicken and rice, pork chops on a stick, hamburgers, barbecue and strawberry shortcake.

Retired educator Nelson Winbush is scheduled to speak at noon both days under the large tent on the grounds. According to event organizers, Winbush is the grandson of a black man who served with the Confederate forces during the Civil War.

To get to the re-enactment site, go north of Crystal River on U.S. 19 toward the Florida Power Corp. facility and look for a big banner in the road just before you get to Florida Power.

Parking is free, and the site will have portable bathrooms.

Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children 8 to 18; children under 8 are admitted free.

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