It is more than one hundred years since the end of the American Civil War between the Confederates of the South and the Unionists of the North.
LV & SV Men erecting tents on field in Surrey
SV Cars arriving in field
CU Men and women changing into Confederate and Yankee uniforms (4 shots)
SV Yankee (Unionist) contingent marching off singing "Glory, Glory, Halleluljah"
Confederate contingent march off singing
SV Confederates moving through undergrowth
CU Yankee lookout reports approach of "Johnny Reb"
CU, SV & GV Battle sequence shot by John Sharrad for the National Film Institute showing graphic shots of troops being blasted apart while charging across field
CU "Dead bodies" in undergrowth
SV "Dead men" come to life, shake hands and walk off laughing and talking
New films have been made from a more realistic angle -- including War" made by the National Film School of England. A sequence from this appears in this film.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: It is more than one hundred years since the end of the American Civil War between the Confederates of the South and the Unionists of the North. But a mere century does not stand in the way of a group of Englishmen who spend their leisure time reliving the war.
They belong to the Southern Skirmish Association, an offshoot of the American Civil War Historical Society, based in London, which aims to tell the war "as it was".
The association was founded in 1968 by a band of American war researchers. To raise money for research, they decided to re-enact the battles in an authentic style to audiences.
It would not be unusual for tourists visiting English tourist attractions -- such as Woburn Abbey or Blenheim Palace -- to see a full scale war being fought on the grounds of these stately homes.
The association regularly stages the battles with authentically reproduced uniforms and weapons at such locations before large crowds which, like the "soldiers" themselves, have healthy interest in the past as a means of leisure time escape.
Rifle and cannon fire, bursting shells, burning barricades -- they're all part of a very noisy and very colourful spectacle.
The Civil War itself lasted only four years -- from 1861 to 1865. The association's war on facts has been going now for more than seven years and interest is as intense as ever. The association has a study group whose aim it is to correct the popular and romantic image of the Civil War which has been founded on novels and films.