Actors visit state for Civil War re-enactment

Saturday, September 25th 2004, 6:07 pm
By: News On 6

VINITA, Okla. (AP) _ More than 1,400 students from northeast Oklahoma visited the site of a Civil War battlefield near Vinita on Friday as part of an educational day.

With 16 individual camps set up near the Cabin Creek battlefield, students saw actors demonstrate and explain how soldiers and civilians lived during the Civil War.

Cabin Creek was situated on the route Union forces used to transport supplies from Fort Scott, Kan., to Fort Gibson, Indian Territory.

The camps were part of the Battle of Cabin Creek re-enactment sponsored by the Oklahoma Historical Society and Friends of Cabin Creek.

Re-enactments were scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

During Friday's educational day, students and the public visited stations including a laundry site, a black powder gun, drill and cannon demonstrations, a medical tent and a campsite with authentic Civil War-era food.

Between 200 and 400 actors from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma traveled to Craig County for the three-day event. The re-enactment takes place on 100 acres, approximately 10 miles southeast of Vinita and 3 miles north of Pensacola.

Carolyn Livingston, with Friends of Cabin Creek, said the cost to stage the re-enactment is between $5,000 to $6,000. The reenactment has been held every third year since 1986. On the off years, re-enactments feature battles at Honey Springs and Middle Boggy.

Kelsey Arnold, administrative assistant for the education department of the Oklahoma Historical Society, said the re-enactment could not be done on the actual battleground site since the grounds have not been subjected to an archaeological survey.

No one knows for sure how many soldiers were killed at Cabin Creek, Arnold said.

The re-enactment of the First Battle of Cabin Creek is set for 2 p.m. Sunday. In that July 1, 1863, battle, Confederate General Stand Watie was unsuccessful in flanking Union troops because the water on the south side of Cabin Creek was too swollen from recent rains, preventing a successful crossing.