Civil War Winter Battle reenactment takes over Spring Mill State Park

MITCHELL – Spring Mill State Park was transformed into a warzone on Saturday afternoon when Civil War reenactors battled across the park.

The event, hosted annually at Spring Mill, included the recreation of a battle, historical exhibits and more.

A Civil War reenactment is a history buff’s dream and if you need any evidence of that just ask the actors who volunteered their time to participate in such an event.

“I really got into it simply because I just love history,” said Arthur Hotemijou, one of the actors. “I went to a reenactment myself just as a spectator and they were asking a lot of questions and I was answering the questions they were asking. And they looked at me and said, ‘Why aren’t you here?’ So, that’s what really got into my head like, you know what, maybe I should start doing this.”

A group of southern soldiers poses in a recreation of what one of their homes from that time would have looked like. From left to right, Cameron Kelly, EJ, Jackson Storment, Justin Ashfall, Arthur Hotemijou.

“I got into reenacting just because I loved history and I was the kid that was always out back, running around, playing army, and then I saw these guys at the State Fair. I was like, you know, I kind of want to know how to do this and it’s been a hobby ever since,” said fellow reenactor Justin Ashfall.

For many of the reenactors, participating in events like this serves as a way for them to connect with like-minded individuals who also share their love for history.

“Camaraderie, like we’ve really just grown to know each other and love each other,” said Hotemijou.

“I love hanging out because we’re around people that all have the same interest and everything and you can build off that,” Ashfall added.

A group of union soldiers receive orders just before their battle began on Saturday.

For some, reenacting serves as an escape from reality and a way to feel as though they’ve been transported to a different time.

“For me, it’s honestly just an excuse to get out of modern life, you know? To come out and have a fun outing with friends,” said Jackson Storment.

Before the battle, those who attended had the opportunity to hear from Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Danny Russell, as he discussed Lincoln’s formative years in Indiana where he lost his mother and sister, taught himself to read, and learned the value of hard work.

Buildings throughout the park’s Pioneer Village were also occupied by the two armies, giving individuals a glimpse into the life of a soldier during the time.