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FAIRFIELD, Utah (AP) -- Utah Civil War re-enactors and their families gather each Memorial Day weekend at Camp Floyd to remember those who served and died at the remote Utah County site.
Members of the Utah Civil War Association and other re-enactors opened this year's three-day encampment at Camp Floyd State Park in Fairfield on Saturday.
The observance included tours of the camp, simulated battle and a memorial service at the military cemetery.
Jake Beckstrand of Salt Lake City, dressed Sunday as a Confederate lieutenant with the 4th Texas Company, said the annual encampment is intended to honor the men who died in Utah.
From 1858 to 1861, Camp Floyd housed 3,500 federal troops.
The soldiers led by Col. Albert S. Johnson had been sent to Utah to quash a rumored Mormon rebellion. Though the uprising never took place, several of Johnston's men died during their years at Camp Floyd as a result of accidents or diseases and were buried at the site's Army cemetery.
Johnston, who was from Kentucky, left the U.S. Army for the Confederacy when war broke out, and went on to become a celebrated general. He was killed at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee.
Beckstrand at least 50 re-enactors with the Utah Civil War Association, including the 4th Texas Company, the South Carolina Co. I, and the 81st Pennsylvania Co. B, participated in the weekend encampment. Other re-enactors included those from the 3rd California Infantry Volunteers fife and drum corps, and a unit from Pocatello, Idaho.
Beckstrand, three years into the hobby, said he got involved mainly to learn more about such an important historical event.
Depending on how elaborate re-enactors want to be, authentic clothing or a uniform can run from $900 to $1,500, Beckstrand said. Muskets, which cost between $400 and $500, sabers and revolvers are extra.
Though the re-enactors become a tight-knit family through local events -- many wives and children also participate in the hobby -- the biggest thrill is attending the large encampments at actual battlefields, Beckstrand said. He has attended national events at Appomattox and Gettysburg.
"There were 12,000 at Gettysburg," he said, "And the 150th anniversary in 10 years will be huge."
Beckstrand said his primary job in the mock battles is to ensure they are conducted safely. Re-enactors use blank cartridges and must be a minimum distance from others so that they're not harmed by the muzzle blast. The blades of bayonets and swords are blunted to avoid injuries.
"We want to enjoy re-enacting, but we don't want actual casualties," Bischoff said.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)