The Battle of Centralia in Four Parts
By Sarah Rothberg
Photojournalists Sarah Rothberg and Alexey Furman spent the day and night documenting the Battle of Centralia on Saturday. Watch the video and see the day unfold in four short chapters from the preparation in the morning to the night lighting of the cannons.
This past weekend Jack Chance, president of the Friends of the Centralia Battle Field, drove around in an outfit equally representing Federal and Confederate troops. Even the buttons on his jacket alternated between the North and the South.
“The reenactors are definitely trying to portray history as it was and they wear authentic types of uniforms and firearms, they encamp, they stay in tents in the evening, and they do their own cooking of food,” Chance said. “They actually try to do as the Civil War soldiers did 150 years ago.”
After over a year of planning, the Friends of the Centralia Battle Field sponsored the reenactment for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Centralia on Sept. 13.
Held in the very same field as the battle, the reenactment between Major A.V.E. Johnston and Captain William “Bloody Bill” Anderson’s troops took less than two minutes.
Even thought the battle as short, the reenactment was social from early in the day and into the night.
“We’re preserving history, we’re telling a story about what took place during the Civil War. We feel that it’s very important that the young people and adults – understand what happened 150 years ago,” Chance said.
In the end, with smoke from gunfire still lingering on the field, the Confederate troops yelled and looted their “fallen” opponents. For the spectators, the battle ended with the slaying of Johnston by Missouri legend, Jesse James.
Watch the video and see the day unfold.
Photography by Alexey Furman and Sarah Rothberg
Supervising editor Brian Kratzer