Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If You're Into the Civil War...Right Here in Lake County

This past Saturday and Sunday, an annual event called Civil War Days took place at the Lake County Discovery Museum at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda, Illinois.

I attend most years, at least the Saturday offering. Free parking and $8 admission for adults and $4 for ages 4-18. For that, you get to experience life 150 years ago (after all, it is the sesquicentennial of the war).

Along with both Union and Confederate troops (infantry, artillery and cavalry), there is an 1863 agricultural fair, skits and speakers. Many characters from the war also are ion the grounds, including Abraham Lincoln and wife Mary. Mr. Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address from memory.

There are many sutler stores as well where you can buy all sorts of Civil War items. It is always refreshing to see all the young kids, especially boys, running around with military hats and toy guns. How many of them will become the next generation of Civil War nuts?


Each day caps off with a full-fledged skirmish featuring all branches of both military units. It is also narrated for those close enough to hear it, but usually novices are near buffs who can do some explaining, such as the case of the Union soldiers with green uniforms. A couple near me wanted to know why they weren't wearing blue. I explained that they were Berdan's sharpshooters.

You haven't lived until you experience the shock wave produced by cannons firing. Even though we were off to the side, that hot blast of air on your face was very evident.

Note to folks with alarm systems in their cars. The battlefield here is near the parking lot and each cannon blast is followed by a whole lot of beeping and sirens from the lot. You might want to disable the system.

And, the South Still Lost. --RoadDog

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