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FOSTORIA — For six days last week, Bob Minton cooked salt pork over a campfire, washed down hard-tack crackers with water out of a canteen, and slept in a tent that offered minimal cushion from the rocky terrain beneath him.
He loved every minute of it.
Mr. Minton, a 48-year-old Fostoria resident, was the federal commander of the Blue Gray Alliance’s 150th anniversary Gettysburg re-enactment that ran for four days, ending Sunday. To get into character a few days before the event, he and his men camped like Civil War soldiers.
For 21 years, Mr. Minton has been re-enacting the Civil War.
“It becomes a lifestyle,” he said.
The Blue Gray Alliance’s event was the largest re-enactment he has ever commanded. Ten thousand participants re-created seven battle moments on Bushey Farm in Gettysburg, Pa., for thousands of spectators.
Mr. Minton, who works for McKnaughton-McKay Electric Co. in Findlay, does six to eight re-enactments a year. He also commands the Army of the Ohio Reenacting Battalion, comprised of 18 regiments from Ohio and New York, and the 14th Ohio/3rd Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
In addition, he serves on the Ohio Civil War 150 Advisory Committee, which is planning Ohio’s sesquicentennial events.
He said this passion began when he was just 9. His mother bought him The Golden Book of the Civil War. “It had these little maps of the battles with these little soldier pictures,” he said. “Something in it just sparked my interest.”
In 1992, Mr. Minton met an extra from the movie Gettysburg who took him to a battle demonstration in Hastings, Mich., where re-enactors performed Civil War-period drills.
A couple of weeks later, he did his first re-enactment.
Then, in 2002, he landed his own paid extra part in the Civil War movie Gods and Generals.
This October, Mr. Minton will appear in the independent film The Light of Freedom as Major Love, a minor role. The film re-creates some of the 14th Ohio Volunteer Infantry’s battles, for which Mr. Minton also served as historical consultant.
Mr. Minton’s wife, Sally, shares his interest in the Civil War. They had a Civil War-themed wedding in 1995. The wedding party dressed up in Civil War uniforms, the band played Civil War-era tunes on banjos at the reception, and the couple went to Gettysburg for their honeymoon.
Although his voice was hoarse after his weekend commanding troops at Gettysburg, Mr. Minton was proud of his role re-enacting the turnin- point battle of the Civil War.
Most of all, he enjoyed the camaraderie he felt with his fellow re-enactors.
“Everyone of those folks around the campfire is also a Civil War nut,” he said.
Contact Arielle Stambler at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.