Re-enactor comes to Brant Fest

BRANT – Many locals swarmed the Brant Town Park this past weekend to celebrate the 11th Annual Brant Summer Festival, commonly known as Brant Fest, which this year coincided with the 175th anniversary of the town.

Hamburg environmental engineer and Civil War re-enactor Kevin O’Beirne gave historical presentations on the Civil War and War of 1812 Saturday afternoon to kick off the festival.

O’Beirne has been proudly re-enacting the Civil War for more than 20 years, and has always been a huge fan of history.

“When I am the commander of my re-enactments, I always say, ‘My weapon is the men under my command. I am the brain, they are the arms and legs, but someone has to be the brain.’ I have anywhere from 50 to 200 men under my command,” he said. “I do what is called hard core reenactment. We get as close to the real thing as possible.”

The Civil War has been largely falsified by film makers over the years, according to O’Beirne, who said if they told the true story, it would be more horrifying. Cruelty to animals was common and warfare was a lot bloodier.

“This was the most significant event in our history,” he said. “The North had millions more people fighting than the South.”

Slavery was the biggest reason for the war.

“Large plantations were made possible because of slaves,” O’Beirne said. “Purchasing human beings to be machines was much more economically attractive.”

Had the South won, O’Beirne said our country would be divided, and look more like Europe.

O’Beirne went on to describe some of his experiences as a re-enactor.

“We fought at Murphy’s Farm in Newfane, which was home of the Underground Railroad,” he said. “We hiked several miles in the swamp up to our knees.”

At a show-and-tell after he spoke, O’Beirne explained the various clothes, weapons and other items Civil War soldiers took with them at all times.

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