Small Town Gets Big Boom With War Reenactment

By  | 

On Saturday in Newton, seeing women walk around and dressed in 1800s clothing and soldiers both from the confederacy and the union isn't odd.

Take for example Steve Lowery, a union captain with 1865's 15th U.S. Infantry. He travels around the United States performing war reenactments.

"It gets you in a good perspective of what the soldiers felt at that time," said Lowery.

Each year these men and women reenact the Battle of Newton.

"In 1865 there was a group of union soldiers that came to burn the courthouse of Newton. All they were met with were some home guard and soldiers who were home on leave. They were ambushed as they came into town," said Charles Linderman, a reenactor.

There were more than 80 re-enactors in attendance for the two-day event and they say they just can't get enough of the blast from the past. Some even attend as many as 10 war reenactments a year, and the reenactors just can't get enough.

"If nobody showed up we'd still be here," one man said.

"I just love being outdoors and I've got history and I've got a long list of military people in my family," another re-enactor said.

"It's a fun thing. It’s a family," added one woman.

And with this being the cities sixth annual reenactment, officials say it's having a great economic impact in the area

"I've heard several people say the local restaurant was full last night with reenactors. We have a convenience store up town, so you have people in and out of there buying gas, so it gives us a sales tax," said Mayor Jean Watson.

"The event continues to grow. It's nice to see all these people out here," said Battle of Newton organizer Charles Ziegler.

The weekend-long celebration is expected to draw crowds of up to 800 with 10 local vendors on site. During Saturday's reenactment the union won. During the real battle, which lasted about five minutes, the confederacy was able to repel the invaders.