Civil War buffs bring history to life in Everett

Dressed in period military uniforms and sometimes engulfed in clouds of smoke from replica Civil War weapons, it’s easy to imagine that just for a moment they have slipped back in time.

“There’s a romance of the era,” said Norm Harriman, of Everson, one of 25 people participating in a Civil War skirmish reenactment in Everett on Saturday.

“There are times when it feels like ‘Wow! This is the real thing,’ like time travel,” he said.

Saturday’s reenactment, called “Echoes of Blue and Gray,” took place on an open field at Evergreen Cemetery and lasted about a half hour.

Bruce Smith, from Woodinville, has participated in similar Civil War reenactments since 1998.

He said he had been interested in Civil War history since he read a comic book version of “Red Badge of Courage,” Stephen Crane’s novel based on the war, as a kid.

In the 1990s, a friend of Smith’s, who knew of his interest in the era, told him of a reenactment taking place in Steilacoom, telling him, “You’ve got to see this.”

It wasn’t long before he had joined the ranks of those participating in the events.

Smith said he and other volunteers are working on gathering biographical information on the approximately 6,000 Civil War veterans who are buried in Washington state.

Their work is being posted on the website Civil War Veterans Buried in Washington State, http://civilwarvetswastate.com.

Both Smith and Harriman were dressed in blue Union uniforms.

Tobey Gulley, of Lynden, proudly wore the gray uniform of a Confederate battalion commander.

Gulley, who was born in Arkansas and has lived in Oklahoma and Texas, said he had relatives who fought in both the Union and Confederate armies. They were known to have fought each other at the battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia, he said.

Gulley stood before a crowd of about 50 onlookers, providing commentary about Civil War history.

Sometimes, he said, when it was obvious that neither side would gain an edge, they would call a cease fire and both armies would march away.

That’s when soldiers would go to the battlefield to tend to the wounded and dead, he said. Sometimes soldiers from the opposing armies would introduce themselves, shake hands, and swap tidbits of news.

Although Washington was still a territory at the time of the Civil War, it did have an active regiment of fighters, said Jim Shipman, Evergreen Cemetery’s historian.

“More than 100 served from Washington,” he said.

Some 156 Civil War veterans are buried at the Everett cemetery, he said, including Robert K. Beecham, a captain in the Union Army who was captured twice in the Civil War. “He lived in Everett for many years,” Shipman said.

Richard Fowlow, of Bothell, said he’s been asked to play the part of soldiers in both the Union and Confederate armies in previous reenactments.

“I just get drafted,” he said. “When the weather’s nice, it makes for a fun afternoon.”

More information

• Washington State Civil War Association: http://www.wcwa.net

• Civil War Veterans Buried in Washington State: http://civilwarvetswastate.com

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Foundation awards grants to Arlington schools

The Arlington Education Foundation on Nov. 13 presented a check to the… Continue reading

Snohomish County firefighters head to California for 18 days

They’re from Fire District 26 in Gold Bar, Getchell Fire and Fire District 7.

State commission reprimands Snohomish County judge for DUI

Judge Marybeth Dingledy had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a day in jail.

Driver arrested after car strikes pedestrian in Everett

The pedestrian was crossing the road near 12th Street and Broadway. He was injured.

Active Casino Road volunteer honored for work

Molina Healthcare recently honored Jorge Galindo, from Everett, as one of its… Continue reading

Over $12K raised to InspireHER

InspireHER, a local organization that encourages female empowerment, raised over $12,000 at… Continue reading

Most Read