OTTAWA — “Lincoln and his Generals: LaSalle County at War,” three days of Civil War Living History, will be presented April 19-21 throughout Ottawa.
Several new events have been added this year including a military battle and parade, a performance by the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band, a display of Civil War era clothing and the keynote address by Rob Girardi, Civil War historian and author.
Friday evening will feature the presentation of “Shiloh: The Devil’s Own Day,” a 30-minute video by the Tennessee Renaissance Center about the Battle of Shiloh and the last days of Gen. W. H. L. Wallace. In the video, Ottawa historian, Mollie Perrott, reads several of the love letters written between Wallace and his wife, Ann. People who attend the movie are then invited to the Reddick Mansion for a reception complete with Abraham Lincoln, Gens. Grant and Wallace, and several other historical and local dignitaries. Also, on Friday evening, 810 luminaries will be lit in Washington Park, at the Civil War Memorial monument, dedicated to the 810 LaSalle County soldiers who paid the ultimate price.
Saturday’s events will include the opportunity to have breakfast with the soldiers, Civil War flag and artifact display at the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily), Union and Confederate military drills and encampments, a display of Civil War era clothing, demonstrations and vendors in Washington Park (including a Civil War era hospital, blacksmithing, coopering, wheat-weaving and wool demonstrations, as well as several food options), a “press conference” with Lincoln and his generals, self-guided Civil War Soldiers tours of the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery, and guided bus tours of the Dickey-Wallace cemetery. Saturday evening, the luminaries will again be lit and Rob Girardi, Civil War historian and author, will give the keynote presentation, “Lincoln and his Generals: LaSalle County at War,” followed by a reception at the Reddick Mansion.
Many of the events continue on Sunday including the historical displays at the museum and the mansion, the tours of the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery and Reddick Mansion, and the demonstrations in Washington Park. On Sunday at noon, the Union and Confederate soldiers will participate in an Infantry and Artillery Civil War battle — guns and cannons included. After the military victory parade, the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band will perform at 2 p.m. in Washington Park.
Several events are free, and some do have some entrance costs. All money raised throughout the weekend will be used for the maintenance and upkeep of the Dickey-Wallace Cemetery.