By Jim Tortolano/Garden Grove Journal
Civil War is coming to Garden Grove.
No, the area south of Trask Avenue hasn’t seceded from the municipal union, but if it did it would have to contend with the hawkeyed soldiers of Company C of the First Regiment of United States Sharpshooters.
A re-enactment group from this Southern California group of history buffs will come to Stanley Ranch Museum in Garden Grove Sept. 29-30 to give residents a taste of what life was like for troopers during the War Between the States.
The group of 15 to 20 of “Berdan’s Sharpshooters” will conduct an authentic encampment, tents and all, at the front of the museum, facing the street at 12174 Euclid St.
According to Sherry Weeks, president of the Garden Grove Historical Society, the encampment will be educational and inspirational.
“It’s really a piece of history that everyone should become familiar with,” she said of the Civil War era. “It had such a big impact on the nation, and it’s the part of our past that people seem the most interested in.”
The re-enactors will bring their .52 caliber breech-loading Sharps rifles, along with other authentic gear from the 1861-65 time period, and “stay in character” throughout the two-day encampment. No iPhones, plastic water bottles or cheeseburgers.
“Berdan’s Sharpshooters” were the creation of Hiram Berdan, who organized two regiments of excellent marksmen to serve in the Union Army. Armed with a breech-loading rifle, they could sustain a much greater rate of fire than the muzzle-loading rifled muskets used by most soldiers on both sides during the war.
They were considered an elite outfit, and even wore a distinctive green uniform (instead of the standard Union blue).
The re-enactors are coming to Garden Grove thanks to Dean Vargas, who is a reserve Garden Grove police officer. “Dean called me and asked if the historical society would like his organization to hold an encampment at the museum, and I said, of course.”
It took a while for the necessary permits to be secured, but the Sharpshooters will be pitching their tents on Friday, Sept. 28 and be ready to deliver living history from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for those who care to rally ‘round the flag.