Civil War buff dons Federal blue

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2003

David Scroggins is a Southerner through and through, so what's with the Yankee blue?

Scroggins is a member of a Civil War reenactment group and often alternates the roles he plays.

"That way I learn more about the men who fought the Civil War," Scroggins said. "It's difficult to find a true Southerner. Our country has many immigrants who have no relationship to the Civil War. So, through the reenactments people learn and we want to show both sides of the war, not just one side."

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Scroggins said he has no difficulty in playing the role of a soldier from the North.

"Not all men who fought for the North were from the North," he said. "There were Southerners who fought for the North because they believed in their cause. And, there were men for the North who fought for the South for the same reason. We want to portray that period in our history as accurately as possible."

Much of what a reenactment

group does has little to with the actual battles of the war.

"We set up camps and people come in and visit to see how the soldiers lived, what they wore and what kind of weapons and supplies they used."

Scroggins said reenactment groups are made up of people from all walks of life.

"We have engineers, school teachers, mechanics, doctors, lawyers and even chicken farmers like me," he said, laughing.

What they all have in common is their fascination with history, especially the Civil War period. And, they are also willing to commit time and money to their history hobby.

"We outfit ourselves and we have outfits for both the North and South," Scroggins said. "When I dress as a Federal soldier, I like to wear the battle dress uniform.

In the field, I'm known as a TBD - a tubby, bearded guy and I carry everything that a soldier would have carried - a haversack,


salt pork and crackers, cartridge box and several rounds of ammo and, of course, my musket with a bayonet."

Scroggins said his favorite weapon is the .69 caliber musket.

"A musket that can fire only buckshot can't do a lot of damage," he said. "But, a .69 caliber can handle a buck and ball and can do damage up 500 yards, maybe 700. If I was going to be in a battle, that's what I would want."

However, Scroggins called the bayonet an "awful weapon."

"The worst thing I ever heard was how a bayonet was rammed through the head of a Federal soldier," he said. "The bayonet was an awful weapon and I don't believe that it was used often. I would hope not."

The Civil War was a bloody war when fathers fought against sons and sons against fathers. The loss of life in the battles between the North and South was greater

than the other American wars.

"About 25 percent of the Alabama military age men were lost," Scroggins said.

Civil War reenactment groups do not intend to glamorize the war, only to help people to better understand it and to better understand it themselves, Scroggins said.