YERMO Hostilities break out again this weekend at Calico Ghost Town as about 300 Union and Confederate forces resume their annual skirmishes. Rumor is, President Lincoln may even deliver an address.

Visitors interact with history because they can not only observe battles, but talk to soldiers in period costumes and ask them questions about the time period, said Event Coordinator Noelle Wayne.

About 300 actors participate in the town's Civil War reenactment, with another 100 people providing support services like food and crowd control.

Soldiers battle two times a day, and Lincoln delivers the Gettysberg Address each afternoon.
Wayne said the event can draw people from throughout Southern California.

"A lot of the history buffs and older people, they just really enjoy coming back and being a part of that bygone era," Wayne said.

Calico was not the site of any military campaigns during the Civil War, but California was more affected by the Civil War than people think, said Serena Steiner, historical researcher at the ghost town.

Cavalry patrols sometimes passed through the High Desert from Ft. Tejon, near the Grapevine Pass on what is today Interstate 5, mostly to mediate disputes between settlers along the Mojave River and American Indians, but occasionally they would encounter Southern sympathizers, Steiner said. Southern California was "considered a hotbed of Confederate sympathy," Steiner said.

The town of Calico was active as silver mining boomed in the area from 1881 to 1898, Steiner said, and some of the town's residents were veterans of the Civil War. Even for the ones that had not served, the experience loomed large in the nation's consciousness, like the role Vietnam played in more modern generations, Steiner said.

"It was their war, for their time period," Steiner said.

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(760) 256-4126 or spearson@desertdispatch.com

Calico Ghost Town Civil War reenactment
Where: Calico Ghost Town, 33600 Ghost Town Rd. in Yermo, off the Ghost Town Road exit of Interstate 15, 10 miles north of Barstow.
When: Saturday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Saturday, visitors can stay late and dine with Union and Confederate troops.
How much: Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 15. Children under 5 are free. On Monday, admission is $10 per car.
On the web: www.calicotown.com