Soldiers spend weekend in 1868 at Fort Wilkins

Soldiers spend weekend in 1868 at Fort Wilkins

COPPER HARBOR — You can take a step back in time this weekend at a state park in Copper Harbor.

The scene is 1868 and Fort Wilkins in the northernmost tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula is home to an army garrison in the post civil war era, At least that’s the feeling you get when Battery D. First Michigan Light Artillery takes to the courtyard to recreate army life as it was in those days. The soldiers will spend the weekend cooking, sleeping and drilling much like their predecessors did.

“Oh my goodness, this is a hobby, but why are you doing that? Because they did and we want to have the experience and so the uniforms are the heavy wool, as theirs were, the drills and things are as theirs were for the field pieces with minor changes for safety.”

The group travels throughout Michigan and other parts of the country during the summer months performing reenactments like this one.

This is the 31st year they have come to Copper Harbor, a location that is rare because the fort is much like it was in the 1800’s, allowing the participants to really feel what is was like…back then.

“Over the years, in my youth in doing this, we’ve slept under the guns with just a tarp thrown over them. Why? Because they did, and now you’ve had the experience and you can say, ‘I know what it is like.’ Not just, ‘I read about it.’ You actually feel it.”