Battle for Heritage Park |

Battle for Heritage Park

by Caryn Haller
Confederate soldiers fire during the battle at Heritage Park during Old Town Days last year.
Shannon Litz file photo | The Record-Courier

President Abraham Lincoln surveyed the field and gave the Union Army one last pep talk prior to Saturday’s battle at Heritage Park.

Although a valiant effort was made on the part of the Confederates, when the smoke cleared, the blue coats stood victorious.

“It’s a good show. It makes you think about history,” Gardnerville resident Doug Lundquist said following the battle. “It makes you think about what this really meant. I liked it.”

Union Capt. Ken Auld was pleased by pre-battle intelligence reports stating his men outnumbered the Confederates.

“I think we have a pretty good chance this morning,” he said. “I don’t really know what we have until we get out there. We’re going to hold the Town of Gardnerville for the Union.”

Carson City resident Roy Giurlani has portrayed a Union surgeon with the Battle Born Civil War Reenactors for 10 years.

On Saturday, he was elbow-deep trying to save the life of an 11-year-old Confederate flag bearer.

“Union surgeons would work on Confederates, but Union soldiers came first,” he said. “Because there was such a shortage of doctors, especially in the beginning of the war, when we were captured they treated us pretty well because they needed us to work on their guys.”

While researching Civil War medicine, Giurlani said he was fascinated by how primitive it was.

“I’m really humbled by how tough the men were. Most of the guys who came in might of survived the surgery, but died from infection later,” he said. “The surgeons weren’t immune to disease either. You had typhoid, cholera, small pox on occasion, measles. We didn’t have antibiotics. We didn’t even know germs existed.”

For Hunter Ketcham, 11, Saturday was his first battle.

“I’m pretty nervous,” he said prior to battle. “I’m going to get shot, but this battlefield is covered in goatheads and ants, so I have to be careful where I die.”

Being a modern-day Carson City resident, Hunter said he had a lot of respect for young boys back then.

“It’s very cool what they did back then. I would have been terrified,” he said. “Back then, I would have booked it away the minute we got out on the battlefield.”

Hunter’s mother, Cora Dani, sympathized with the Civil War mother’s who had no choice in their son’s part in the war.

“It’s scary. I couldn’t imagine a kid his age going,” she said. “I can’t imagine kids at 18 going now, but at 11, he’s still a baby.”

Old Town Days is 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, with battles at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.