Being a Union Soldier in the Grand Army of the Republic is not all about the glamour, in the opinion of Jim Seitz, a corporal in the 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Being a Union Soldier in the Grand Army of the Republic is not all about the glamour, in the opinion of Jim Seitz, a corporal in the 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Actually the Grove City resident is really a regiment of one.

Although he's been an extra in the 2003 film "Gods and Generals," been part of informational documentaries used for several Virginian national parks and survived the Battle of Antietam, there's a more valuable allure to re-enacting.

"Re-enacting in general is very much a family-oriented hobby," Seitz said.

Seitz said he's seen all ages at reenacting affairs -- babies, teenagers and grandparents.

Re-enacting is about the historical aspect and interacting with the public, he added.

For a man who sometimes introduces himself as William Dennison, Ohio's 24th governor, Bob Davis said that re-enacting is about "perpetuating the memory and history of the Grand Army of the Republic."

Try asking him his age:

"I was born on Nov. 14, 1814, in Cincinnati," Davis said.

Davis and Seitz are both members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and they will both be at Fryer's Park Century Village on Saturday, April 26, for the annual Encampment event.

Seitz said he's been re-enacting for 17 years, and in that time he's had a great time.

Perhaps one of Seitz's most memorable moments occurred when he joined in the reenactment of the Battle of Antietam, he said.

Having nearly 13,000 volunteers on the battleground, Seitz said ,the event recreated about 85 percent of the actual battle that took place on Sep. 17, 1862.

The realism can have a way of suspending reality, he said, even down to a spiritual level.

"I've had my sins absolved as I walked onto a battlefield," Seitz said.

Gov. Dennison, however, doesn't tend to get involved in battle much

On the other hand, he does make speeches, Davis said.

Davis, a resident of Canal Winchester, recalled a time when he spoke for an hour and a half on what he called the "first-person history talk of my life."

The man's knowledge of Gov. Dennison comes primarily from a 400-page dissertation written by an Ohio State University history professor in the early 1990s, Davis said.

Apparently, Davis can be pretty convincing.

He said he had once been speaking at a school event in Dublin with another man acting as President Abraham Lincoln. Later that day, there was an evening ball and as Dennison, his wife, the president and his wife strolled in full garb through the courtyard, they came across a young lady.

"She was half looped," Davis recalled. "She said to us, 'Oh, my. It can't be.' "

Looks can be deceiving, especially with the influence of alcohol.

The duties of the governor for Encampment this year will be to read a memorial speech to honor a Civil War veteran, Davis said.

Later, the Union troops will fall in line and Gov. Dennison will congratulate them for their courage in battle during the Civil War, or as Davis calls it the "War of the Southern Rebellion."

This year will be the Encampment's seventh, and event chairwoman Joan Eyerman said several new attractions have been added.

Some of the new attractions include the arrival of Confederate troops, cannon, a trapper, Native American traditional dances and musical performances.

"Our goal is to keep adding attractions to attract people," Eyerman said.

Currently the Encampment is a one-day event, which doesn't leave time for battle reenactment, Eyerman said.

Nonetheless, making Encampment a two-day event is being planned and should take place within a couple years, Eyerman said.

Encampment runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 4185 Orders Road. It is free and open to the public.

ebrooks@thisweeknews.com