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Manteca couple part of annual reenactment
Scott Quealey, a welder at Rosa Welding in Manteca, and wife Anna in front of their tent during the annual Civil War Reenactment at Knights Ferry over the weekend. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Scott Quealey has been a welder for more than two decades. He currently works at Rosa Welding in Manteca.

But when he is not dealing with four-digit heat and melding metal in his welding shop, Quealey can be found in the midst of a Civil War skirmish. Actually, a reenactment of the deep historical wound that ripped apart brothers, sisters, families, and the United States as a whole during the Civil War in the 1860s.

Quealey was one of those who took part in the annual Civil War Reenactment at historic Knights Ferry in the foothills over the weekend. His wife Anna and son James were also part of the four-day historical experience that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

The Quealeys did not fire a single shot during the reenactment in the foothills, with the historic Knights Ferry covered bridge serving as backdrop, besides lending and infusing a nostalgic element into the historical recreation. Their roles had them riding on horseback in the hillside trail above the reenactment location where they helped establish crowd control. They brought along their two Arabian horses – Skee and Joy – for that purpose.

The weekend’s reenactment was the fifth event the Quealeys have attended at Knights Ferry which has been hosting this historical attraction for more than two-dozen years.

For the event, Scott wore what he described as “a typical Confederate” cavalry soldier’s attire. His wife Anna was similarly attired in Civil War-era period costume for which she was voted Miss Cavalry by the association members for two years in a row.

Like all members of the association, which puts together these authentic reenactment events, the Quealeys likewise brought along other period accoutrements such as black powder pistols and .44-caliber Colt revolver remakes.

“It gives us something to do” together as husband and wife, Quealey said of their involvement with these historical reenactment events.

“We meet different people from all areas of California; they’re great people,” added his wife.

The battle reenactment is the highlight of these events as far as visual attractions and excitements go. They are usually staged over the two-day weekend. But there are equally exciting highlights as well that are educational not just to the general public but most especially to the youth. On Thursday and Friday leading to the battle reenactments, for example, school children from neighboring areas around Knights Ferry came on field trips where they learned about the Civil War and life as it was during that time.

“We set up stations where they visited and learned about the Civil War,” Anna Quealey said.

The Quealeys and the rest of the Civil War Reenactment participants set up camps around the Knights Ferry covered bridge area in canvas tents reminiscent of how it was during those war years.

Members of the Civil War Association, like the Quealeys, take part in several of these reenactment events scheduled throughout the year.

“The next big one will be in Mariposa,” Quealey said. That will be held on April 11-12.

Others coming up will be held at Gibson Ranch on May 3-4, at Roaring Camp on May 24-26, and at Virginia City during Virginia City Days on Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in the summer.