Reenacting 100 Years Ago

From a diary written by a young girl in Nebraska in 1898, published in a book entitled No Time on My Hands by Grace Snyder as told to Nellie Snyder Yost. (Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, Idaho, 1963.)

"The Fourth of July committee had gotten up a new kind of entertainment for that afternoon, a big sham battle instead of the usual water fight. That Fourth of 1898 was only thirty-four years away from the end of the Civil War and a good many of the men at the celebration had fought in the war, so we knew the battle would be exciting. Florry shared her parasol with me and we hurried with the crowd to the battlefield, a pasture at the edge of town, where the two camps faced each other across the flat. One side had set up a little cannon in front of its line, and both sides had thrown up earth breastworks and dug in for a hot fight. The shooting began as soon as the crowd was settled on the sidelines. Now and then a man sneaked up through the grass and fired the cannon and ran back again. Boys were shooting firecrackers all over the place, too, and the noise and the smoke and dust hanging over the battlefield and the spectators was terrific. Before too long--what with the shooting and yelling and the "dead" men on the field--the whole thing began to seem almost too real for fun."

She continued to tell the story of a man wounded by the explosion of the box of gunpowder he was carrying.

The 100th anniversary of this event is coming up fast. I can't believe we're not commemorating it with one of our own. I'll offer to bring the firecrackers if somebody else will bring the box of gunpowder. - Jonah