Civil War Comes To Dunkirk

DUNKIRK – Clouded skies and the occasional blustery wind didn’t hamper the air of fascination and excitement among the visitors to the second annual Civil War re-enactment, which took place at the Dunkirk Lighthouse at Point Gratiot on Saturday.

Among the actors of the Union army are Tyler DeJoe and David Brown. Sgt. DeJoe of the New York Calvary Company, an 18-year-old native of Brocton, has participated in re-enactments for six years, four to five times a year.

“Every time is a bit different,” said Sgt. DeJoe. “We try to be as authentic as we can be – and also afford.”

Captain Joe Bolivard, medical surgeon of the 9th New York Cavalry Regiment, had a table full of tools and weapons used during the Civil War. Some were real and others fabricated, such as deer and pig bone fragments which were supposed to represent amputated limbs. Bolivard commented that three-quarters of wounds during the Civil War resulted in amputation.

“Some of the doctors were good, others drunk,” he said. His inventory was not for sale.

At 2 p.m., the battle took place. Confederate soldiers landed on the beach and occupied the lighthouse, and the Union soldiers engaged them on the field. The battle climaxed to a duel between Sgt. DeJoe and a Confederate soldier. Sgt. Dejoe was the victor.

After the battle re-enactment there was a presentation by Michelle Henry, Chautauqua County historian, on the heroine Sarah Sinfield, a female soldier of the Civil War. One could also join President Lincoln as he visited the troops on the field. Later in the evening there was a guest appearance and performance by Mark Twain.

Randy S. Rickerson of Jamestown had exotic and domestic woodwork for sale, all crafted by hand, and of religious and nature themes. He also has glassware for sale – including candy jars, ashtrays and swung vases. Many of his pieces were blown and molded as far back in time as the early 1900s.

“I’m glad I was invited,” he said. “These actors do a good job and know what they’re doing.”

Brenda Nowicki had kettle corn for sale, among other treats including cotton candy, honey products and caramel apple desert. Nowicki said she has had good business.

“Seems like this is going to be a good show, even though you can’t control the weather,” she said.

Author Donal J. Mang also had a tent for his book, “One Nation Under God,” a historical fiction novel about a soldier in the Civil War. The book has received many positive reviews. According to one review by John Austin, “The author has delivered one of the finest Civil War novels of the last decade or more.”

Old-time photos were also available from Another Time, a business from Westfield. Visitors can dress in a costume of the era, either Western or Victorian, and have their photo taken in front of a green screen.

Today there will be a Civil War church service at 10 a.m. followed by a performance featuring Buffalo’s own Canal Street String Band.

The event is operated by the Lancaster Amateur Radio Club and sponsored by the Dunkirk Historical Museum, the Dunkirk Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum, and the 64th Virginia Cavalry. The event continues today and admission is $2.