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Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center's Civil War Holiday brings history to life

Re-enactors fire their weapons in memory of their ancestors who fought during the Civil War at the conclusion of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday event Saturday at McDaniel Farm in Duluth. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

Re-enactors fire their weapons in memory of their ancestors who fought during the Civil War at the conclusion of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday event Saturday at McDaniel Farm in Duluth. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Re-enactors stage a mock skirmish during the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday on Saturday at McDaniel Farm. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Aryn Barrett, 7 of Dacula makes a snowflake Christmas ornament out of pipe cleaners during the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday at McDaniel Farm in Duluth on Saturday. She came to the event wearing a pioneer dress made by her mother. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Lois Foerster of Madison County demonstrates spinning during the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday at McDaniel Farm in Duluth on Saturday. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Doc Watson of Clayton shows Josh Ward, 11, right, and Ethan Ward, 5, center, nails made from blacksmithing during the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday on Saturday at McDaniel Farm. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Doc Watson of Clayton demonstrates blacksmithing during the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday event Saturday at McDaniel Farm in Duluth. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Re-enactor Ken Workman of Loganville portrays a Confederate soldier during the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday event Saturday at McDaniel Farm in Duluth. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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Dotty Zazworsky of Atlanta demonstrates spinning during the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday on Saturday at McDaniel Farm. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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A campsite set up by Confederate soldier re-enactors during the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s Civil War Holiday event Saturday at McDaniel Farm in Duluth. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

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This Bible, an original Civil War-era edition, is an example of an item that would’ve been stowed in a soldier’s pack. (Staff Photo: Deanna Allen)

DULUTH — A mock skirmish took place about 2 p.m. Saturday in Duluth.

Confederate soldiers made their way over a hill in a large field to engage a small group of Union soldiers in battle. Shots were fired, filling the air with smoke, and some of the re-enactors went down. The skirmish ended with the Confederate soldiers taking a Union soldier prisoner.

The historical re-enactment was part of the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center’s sixth annual Civil War Holiday at McDaniel Farm Park, which included demonstrations, arts and crafts and more.

“It’s a wonderful program because the McDaniel family who owned this property, they actually had two sons that fought in the Civil War, so we highlight that portion, looking at how families celebrated the holiday, how they were away from their loved ones and how soldiers experienced not only war but the holiday season as well,” said Catherine Long, a program coordinator with the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. “It’s very important to understand that historical time period within the framework of it being the McDaniel family here on this exact property.”

Warren Haire of Loganville has participated in the Civil War Holiday event since its inception and has been a re-enactor for more than 25 years.

“I enjoy educating the public about the Civil War,” he said. “(I hope) people get a little bit more about their heritage than what they knew before. Hopefully my love of history will rub off on someone else and that person in the future will have the love of history as I do.”

Loganville resident Ken Workman has been a re-enactor since 1991 and Saturday was his first time at the annual event.

“I’m an amateur historian and I really kind of fell in love with the history,” he said. “I had ancestors that fought at the Battle of Resaca in northwest Georgia.”

Joe Smith, a Madison resident, has been a re-enactor since 1978 and said the initial appeal was playing with real guns.

“As I got into it deeper, it became more of a history thing, showing the people what a battle would look like, showing them our uniforms and equipment,” he said. “Over the years I’ve put a lot of study into making sure I’ve got my uniform correct. Now the appeal is to bring it to the people.”

Smith said he hopes people take away a renewed interest in history.

“I hope what people take from here today is what will make them pick up a book or look at something on the Internet to see what it was all about,” he said.