Final Mill Springs reenactment set for November 2-3

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More than 2,000 reenactors are set to participate in the Battle of Mill Springs Civil War reenactment, set for November 2 and 3. The original battle took place on January 19, 1862 and is considered a critical victory for the Union.

The roar of the cannons and the smell of gunpowder. The music, the dresses and the campsite. Get ready for what is believed to be the final reenactment at Mill Springs Battlefield, because it is expected to be among the largest the battleground has seen.

The Civil War era will come to life during the event, held at the battlefield and park located on Ky. 235 in Nancy.

The public is invited to the two-day event, being held Saturday and Sunday, November 2 and 3. Gates open at 9 a.m. each day, and events will take place on up until 10 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday.

(Reenactors will be on site that Friday for events open only to schools.)

Admission for one day is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 17. Two-day passes will be $16 for adults and $8 for children. Kids 5 years old and younger are admitted free.

Why is this to be the last gunfight for the historic site? The reason is stems from the battlefield's new designation as a national park, having been officially brought into the National Park System in March.

National policy is to not allow reenactments on federal land, explained Ben Blevins, outreach coordinator for the Mill Springs Battlefield Association.

"That's one of the trade offs, but the more important part is that the land will be preserved," he said.

But this reenactment should be explosive, if for no other reason than the organization is being taken care of by the Atlanta Campaign, a national organization that only chooses one battlefield each year to work with.

Because of that involvement, Blevins said that more than 2,000 reenactors have already signed up - many more than for a typical reenactment in this area. Blevins said he wouldn't be surprised if that number rose to 3,000 by the time of the event.

The park is also expecting a very large crowd, on par with the 2007 reenactment that attracted between 10,000 and 15,000 guests.

Blevins told guests that parking "won't be any issue" and that fields have been designated to take in as many people as needed.

The Battle itself will be reenacted at 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and a "dawn battle" to take place sometime after the gates open Sunday morning.

In between times, there will be opportunities to visit the camps of both the Union and Confederate armies, as well as visit the "Sutlers" areas which will have period appropriate crafts, clothing, gifts and food.

"Visitors will feel like they're taking a step back into history," Blevins said.

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