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Students will hold Civil War re-enactment

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

SIKESTON - Area schoolchildren and history buffs will get a glimpse of the past as a Boy Scout Venture Post hosts Sikeston's first Civil War re-enactment.

The re-enactment will be March 7-9 on Scott Matthews' land south of Sikeston across the Highway 60 from the new R.S. Matthews Park.

"We're going to have signs up showing how to get to the location," said organizer Rick Justice of Sikeston, a science teacher at the Sikeston Middle School.

The re-enactment's hosts, Boy Scout Venture Post 149, is an organization for older teens sponsored by the Am Vets.

"I have about 30 teenagers that have shown interest and get to go to these events. We take these kids all over the United States," said Justice, who has been re-enacting for more than 10 years. "It started out as a after-school program out at Charleston five years ago. To participate they must have good grades and stay out of trouble."

Since then, students from Sikeston and New Madrid have shown an interest and joined the group.

"When we do Union we're the 10th Missouri Cavalry and the 3rd U.S. Colored Cavalry," said Justice. "And when we get to play Confederate we're the 10th Tennessee."

Reenactors will be on site from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. March 7 for area schools to visit on field trips. "We have the kids come out to there and talk to them about what the soldiers would have worn, how they lived, what they ate," Justice said. "We try to teach them about this time period. We'll show them firing demonstrations."

On March 8, all the participants for the re-enactment will have arrived and made their preparations for the next couple of days. "We have about 200 re-enactors we are expecting to show up," Justice said.

At 11: 30 a.m. March 8 the re-enactors will visit downtown Sikeston at the Depot. "We're going to do a Depot raid," Justice explained. "We're going to show them what they could have seen just about anywhere in Missouri with the guerrilla raids."

Then at 2:30 p.m., the re-enactors will be back out at Matthew's land for the first battle re-enactment.

They will repeat the battle at 1:30 p.m. March 9, "only with a different winner," Justice said. "Saturday one side will win, and Sunday the other side will win."

While many re-enactments recreate some of the larger, more famous battles, these re-enactments will "try to show people what the smaller battles might have been like, especially in areas like this," Justice said. "We always hear about the big battles. There were countless thousands of smaller battles."

Those who don't get a chance to watch the Boy Scout Venture Post in action during the Sikeston re-enactment can also look for them on the silver screen. "We will actually be in the film 'Gods and Generals,'" said Justice.

"We went to the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Bulls Run in the summer of 2001," he recalled. "We went to the re-enactment there and once we got there we were informed they were filming for this movie. They were filming the battle scenes for Bulls Run and we just happened to be there at the right place at the right time."

For those interested in being more than just observers the group is always looking for help, Justice said, from volunteering time as adult leaders and role models to helping with fund raisers for equipment.

"Our biggest problem getting the kids to these events," Justice said. "We've been working the last couple of years trying to get a bus or a van."

For more information e-mail Rick Justice at RDJustice@hotmail.com or call 471-2566.