||Admission to the battle anniversary event is $5 for adults and $3 for children, ages 6-12. Parking and shuttle service inside the park is free.
The clock will be turned back 150 years on Saturday at Historic Blakeley State Park with over 150 re-enactors honoring the sesquicentennial of what's considered the last major battle of the Civil War.The Battle of Fort Blakeley was fought April 9, 1865, just hours after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. The battle pitted some 16,000 Union troops against about 3,500 Confederates during the late afternoon.After being overwhelmed by federal soldiers in a fierce battle, about 250 Confederate soldiers were killed, more than 2,000 were wounded and nearly 3,400 were taken prisoner, according to past Press-Register reports. The Union forces sustained about 600 killed and wounded.An article in the May 27, 1865 issue of Harper's Weekly stated, "It was probably the last charge of the war and as gallant as any on record."While there won't be thousands of re-enactors at Saturday's commemoration, Senior Park Ranger Stacey Gardner said the original and well-preserved battlefield will be the site of an authentic representation of conditions the 83rd Ohio Infantry and other Union troops experience before unseeding Confederate Brig. Gen. Francis Marion Cockrell's defenders from four redoubts and other earthen fortifications."More or less, it will be called a living history encampment where we'll have both the federal troops and the Confederate troops working in the rifle pits and in the federal and Confederate works, shoring up their shelters," Gardner said. "Spectators will be shown some food demonstrations as well as digging in, and there will probably some light skirmishes throughout the day as far as weapons demonstrations go."Starting at 10 a.m. and until about 3:30 p.m., the public will have an opportunity to tour the encampments, see group demonstrations and talk to the individual soldiers.The re-enactors will then fire things up at 4 p.m."It will cap off in the evening with a final assault that will be portraying the 83rd Ohio Regiment attacking Redoubt 4 and taking Redoubt 4, which was manned by Cockrell's Missouri Brigade," Gardner said. "And then we'll actually be planting a federal flag in an approximately close area to where it happened 150 years prior. So it's going to be on the same field, the same works and we've got some pretty good information from one of the Union major general's after-action reports that we're following as one of our concise (re-enactment) efforts."Park Director Jo Ann Flirt said the 150th commemoration will be an opportunity for families and history buffs to rub shoulders and get an up-close look at military life during the waning days of the Civil War."The significance of it is that it is going to be totally authentic," Flirt said. "The re-enactors will live the life of the infantrymen in 1865 and the assault will be carried out on the very same ground and exactly like it happened 150 years ago."The ratio of Union soldiers to Confederates will be similar to the original battle, according to Gardner, with over 100 federal re-enactors to about 50 Rebel solider re-enactors."We're looking at quality not quantity as far what we're portraying," Gardner said. Re-enactors will be traveling from as far away as Kansas City and Illinois to take part in the 150th anniversary."We've got a couple of folks coming who are actually direct descendents of some of the troops that were here," Gardner said. The re-enactment also comes at a time when spring is in full bloom at the 2,000-acre historic and nature park.The park is on Alabama 225 about 4.5 miles north of its intersection with U.S. 31 in Spanish Fort.Admission to the battle anniversary event is $5 for adults and $3 for children, ages 6-12. Parking and shuttle service inside the park is free.For more information, call Blakeley State Park at 251-626-0798, visit www.blakeleypark.com or email email@example.com.