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See Civil War come to life on the Comstock
by Tribune Staff
Aug 14, 2011 | 424 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
VIRGINIA CITY — The historic mining camp of Virginia City celebrates the Civil War every Labor Day weekend. The sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War has prompted a fuller offering of Civil War-related events this year from Sept. 2 through 5.

Visitors will be able to see re-enactors at field camps, parades, battle demonstrations, train hold-ups, a Victorian high tea, Victorian dance and the staged reading of the epic Stephen Vincent Benet poem “John Brown’s Body” by a professional cast.

The Comstock Civil War re-enactors are the only regional group to use cannons in their staged battles and have partnered with the Virginia and Truckee Railroad to create a hold-up and ensuing battle with Confederate and Union troops. Guests can watch from the train for $22 (adults) or $10 (children) or on the siding. Many events are free.

More than any other single event of the Civil War, John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859 ignited passions that lead to bloodshed. Brown’s goal, to arm the slaves to take up a revolt against plantation owners, created such fear in Southerners that all talk of compromise ended.

In his poem, Benet introduces fictional characters from the North and South and places them in this turbulent time period alongside real-life characters. Published in 1928, more than 100,000 copies of “John Brown’s Body” were sold within a few months of its release. The following year it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

The reading of “John Brown’s Body” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Silverland Hotel theater, 100 N. E St. The 15,000-line poem has been adapted into a 70-minute presentation with a musical score.

The $15 ticket price includes one drink. The production is made possible by support from the B Street House Bed and Breakfast and the Silverland Hotel. For reservations, call the Silverland at 775-847-4484. This presentation is suitable for older children and adults. For more information, visit
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