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Bull Run re-enactors prevail despite scorching heat

Sunday - 7/24/2011, 6:40am  ET

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Kathy Stewart, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Thousands of Civil War re-enactors braved scorching heat on Saturday to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run.

The main event took place in the morning under the brutal heat, when Union and Confederate troops clashed on the battlefield with some 8,700 participants who signed up to re-enact the epic battle that played out in Prince William County.

It was a heated battle in more ways than one: The fight between the north and the south and the battle against Mother Nature's scorching temperatures.

Prince William County Fire and Rescue evaluated 143 people for heat exhaustion, and eleven were taken to the hospital, according to InsideNova.com.

David Wardell, a re-enactor from Michigan, has been doing Civil War re-enactment for 25 years. But the searing temperatures were unlike anything he'd experienced before.

"It's the first time I haven't slept in a tent or on the ground in 25-years," Wardell says. "So, I'm kind of happy, especially with the temperature being what it is."

Jim Edwards, from Mechanicsville, Virginia, was one of thousands who came out to watch Saturday's re-enactment.

"Soon as this is over, we're getting out of the heat," he says.

But, he says, heat or no heat, it was worth attending.

"Anytime you get this many re-enactors and pieces of this many artillery on the field at once, it makes it very realistic."

Joseph Robertson, battalion chief for the Prince William County fire and rescue service, said nearly 150 people were evaluated, mostly for heat-related illnesses. He says 11 people were taken to hospitals, but none of the patients was believed to be critical.

Robertson says officials had planned for the event for a year and prepared for hot temperatures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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