The kids and I attended the Lake County Civil Wars days event at the beginning of July. I went on Saturday to bum around by myself. The three of us headed back on Sunday to let the kids look around and witness the “Big Battle.”
Speaking of the kids, I was surprised by how much fun the kids ended up having. I know my son would like the battle – he went with me last year and was excited the first time he saw a poster for the event. My daughter, well, I didn’t know how she’d like to whole thing. She ended up finding it fun and interesting. They found it funny when some of the re-enactors asked them about things they were carrying – like a ballpoint pen, blue Gatorade and a hat with Alaska embroidered on it. This made the experience more real for the kids – these weren’t just actors spending time on the weekend playing soldier. These were individuals living like the soldiers of the Civil War lived.
The encampment was large, filled with re-enactors portraying the Confederate and Federal forces. There were also poeple who represented the civilians of the time – those who would follow the armies in their campaigns. My son wanted to see the blacksmith, and once we found him, he seemed interested but not too interested. This was my daughter’s first visit to the event and she was interested to see Mr. Lincoln and his wife. In addition to the encampments, there is a sutlery area where all types of items are for sale. Uniforms for re-enactors are available as well as other items. I didn’t get out cheap. The boy got a toy Civil War rifle and a Union cap. The girl got a handcarved Maple fife.
Saturday, I bummed around the camps and asked some questions. Talked with the gentlemen from Grant, Lee, Custer & Co. for a while. These guys are a living history troupe that bring the Civil War generals to life. I talked with “Custer” for a while and also with the other gentlemen. I saw how they interacted with the other visitors, especially the children – and they were great. Mr. Lincoln and Harriet Tubman were also there on Saturday. The culmination of the day was the skirmish that took place. That was fun and less formal than the Sunday battle. You can see a couple videos of the Union cannons firing on this page.
The men and women of the 8th Illinois Cavalry, the 10th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, the 154th Tennesee Infantry, Taylor’s battery, Battery G, the Lexington Rifles and other units put on a great show. (If your unit was there and it’s not listed, drop me a line or leave a comment below with a link to your site and I’ll add you on.) The weather was nice – sunny, not overly warm or humid with no threat of rain. We did have to have water bottles with us, but you need to do that in any kind of heat.
Well – enough of my rambling for now. Take a look at the pictures here. Check out the sites I’ve linked above and make plans to come out to Civil War Days next year. You’ll have fun and might even learn a thing or two.