The concussion of cannon fire shook the ground and smoke wafted through the autumn air during Heritage Day on Oct. 14 at Weaver Park, adjacent to the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

The Hilliard Ohio Historical Society has held the annual event for years but last weekend was a first for the display of Civil War-era weaponry.

Organizers invited the 1st Ohio Light Artillery, Battery A, Statehouse Unit and re-enactors from the 40th and 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry units to fire a cannon and muskets at Heritage Day.

"It's a little strange and different but I like it," said Aylin Kilic, a 16-year-old exchange student from Turkey staying with the Dienand family in Hilliard.

Dienand said she has attended Heritage Day for the past several years and enjoyed the displays that included Civil War re-enactors.

The re-enactors included 32-year-old Matthew Goodman of Grove City.

Goodman's interest in history began when he saw a Civil War re-enactor when he was in the fifth grade, "and I've been doing it ever since."

While a 17-year-old senior, Goodman took 30 days away from school to go to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and participate as an extra in the filming of "Gods and Generals."

"My mother told my teachers it was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that I was going. ... I took my homework and went," Goodman said.

He also appeared in the HBO-produced World War II series, "Band of Brothers."

"I lugged my own Thompson (submachine gun) around in 'Band of Brothers,' " Goodman said.

Re-enactors Mic O'Halloran, 69, of Columbus and John Grashel, 70, of Granville appeared in the film, "The Light of Freedom."

"(Film-makers) love (war) re-enactors because we have own equipment," O'Halloran said. "All they have to do is feed us and give us a couple of bucks and we're happy."

The artillery used at Heritage Day included Springfield muskets, manufactured in the United States, and British-manufactured, bolt-action Enfield rifles.

O'Halloran is a re-enactor and storyteller at the Ohio Village and said his interest grew after first working as a landscaper at the Ohio Village.

Grashel portrays a "sutler" for the 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a nonmilitary businessman who traveled with a unit to "procure" necessities from local peddlers and shop-owners as the regiment moved.

"Sometimes at a markup," he said.

Re-enactor characters at the event included Gen. George Custer, a Union officer famous for later being killed in the American Indian Wars, and Maj. Pauline Cushman, a Union spy believed to be the first known female U.S. Army veteran. Heritage Day also showcased other aspects of 19th-century life, such as sheep-shearing, blacksmithing and food preparation.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo