History aplenty at Civil War reenactment

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Don Benson was one of the Civil War reenactors last weekend at Willamette Mission State Park north of Keizer. But you could say he was reenacting family history. For the 25th time, the Northwest Civil War Council had its Civil War reenactment on the 4th of July weekend. Nearly 1,000 reenactors came out, taking visitors back to what it was like 150 years ago. Benson was on hand for the ninth time. “It’s a family affair,” said Benson, who was participating with wife Julie and their children. That wasn’t the only family affair aspect. Benson had four grandfathers and eight of their brothers who fought in the bloody 1860s battle. When Benson started doing the reenactments, he didn’t realize the family connection. “Then I started researching it and found out about one uncle,” he said. “It expanded from there.” Back in January, Benson learned an uncle had been killed during the battle at Petersburg, which started in June 1864 and concluded the following April. It’s estimated a total of 70,000 troops were killed during the long battle. Benson said his uncle was among the 6,500 killed in the initial Petersburg battle – June 17, 1864 to be precise. “I went to see it in April,” Benson said. “My uncle’s in an unknown grave. There were 4,500 soldiers who were never identified.” Union soldiers...

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