Company K “School Day” Comes to Evansville The Civil War reenactors of Company K, 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, will be bringing their “School Day” event to Evansville as part of this year’s annual “Rally ‘Round the Flag” Civil War Living History Weekend. The “School Day” will take place in Evansville’s historic Lake Leota Park on Friday, May 18, and the living history event will continue on May 19 and 20.
More than 1600 middle school students from throughout south central Wisconsin are registered to attend. Docents will lead them through as many as 24 different instruction stations staffed by uniformed or costumed Civil War reenactors. The students will receive up-close-and-personal demonstrations of many aspects of Civil War camp life, the instruction of new recruits in the “manual of arms” and the firing of musket volleys, live-fire of artillery, the care of cavalry horses, and the treatment of sickness and wounds by surgeons. Direct participation will be provided in Victorian dance and in infantry drill, among other activities.
The original Company K was part of the famous Iron Brigade, and participated in numerous battles from the First Battle of Bull Run through the Wilderness Campaign of 1864. The Iron Brigade’s soldiers were the “shock troops” of the Army of the Potomac. They were the first infantry unit sent into the Battle of Gettysburg on the Union side, and their bravery and sacrifice on the first day of the battle allowed General Meade to bring up the additional Union forces that turned the Southern tide and won the largest battle of the war.
Today’s Company K will be joined by many other groups of Civil War reenactors for the “School Day” and the remainder of the weekend, including the Historical Timekeepers, Battery B of the 4th U. S. Light Artillery, the 2nd and 3rd Iowa Cavalry Regiments, and the crew of the ironclad Carondelet.
Attendance and participation in the “School Day” is by invitation.
Living History Theater and Civil War Memorial Program at Evansville’s Maple Hill Cemetery On Friday, May 18, Evansville Grove Society and Evansville Community Partnership will present theatrical performances and a ceremony honoring the Civil War veterans interred at Evansville’s Maple Hill Cemetery. The programs will be conducted by lantern light, starting at 8:00 that evening.
Bus transportation will be provided between Lake Leota Park and the cemetery, with an additional pick up/drop off at the corner of East Main and Union Streets. The bus will depart from the park at 7:30 pm, and return after conclusion of the memorial program. The program is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome.
Four mini-plays, each running about 7 to 8 minutes will be presented, interpreting the lives of Civil War veterans at their grave sites. Docents will divide the audience into four groups and circulate the groups through the site for intimate presentation of all four plays. Illumination will be by lumenaria and kerosene lantern.
Dr. John M. Evans (namesake and first postmaster of the community) and his wife, Emma, will be portrayed reminiscing about their wartime experiences. Dr. Evans was Regimental Surgeon for the 13th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment (nicknamed “the Unlucky 13th”) and he had a heavy caseload of sick soldiers throughout the war. John and Emma exchanged voluminous correspondence during the war, so their stories are told in their own words. Emma had to raise two small children and manage the family farm in John’s absence, and John found military life disagreeable, and their lives were stressful.
“Captain” Caleb Lee and Mary “Belle” Lee will be portrayed in another performance. Caleb grew up on a farm just outside Evansville, but his adventurous spirit took him to a career on the Mississippi River and on the ocean. When his maritime days ended, he returned to Evansville, where he met and married “Belle” Shurrum, the most popular and elegant lady in town. The Lees will entertain visitors to their fashionable new Victorian home on First Street, and Caleb will be unable to resist the urge to spin some tales about his adventures in the Navy during the Civil War.
In the third of the plays, Beaman Snow will take the stage at McGee’s Opera House to relate an interesting experience he and others from Evansville had on Sherman’s March to the Sea as part of the original First Brigade Band. Beaman is a last-minute substitute for the notorious Confederate spy Belle Boyd, who has been living in Evansville and touring in Wisconsin with her dramatic recounting of her life of espionage.
The remaining performance features Allen S. Baker (founder and namesake of the manufacturing company that has been Evansville’s largest private enterprise since the 1880s) and his wife Margaret. As a private in Company H of the 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment – a part of the famous Iron Brigade – John meets Margaret while he is recuperating from wounds. He returns to duty with the Regiment in time to be wounded again at Gettysburg.
Following presentation of the mini-plays, the audience will gather in the natural amphitheater before the flagpole for this year’s Civil War memorial program, which extends honors to Maple Hill Cemetery’s 140 Civil War veterans. Madison’s Frank Medina will perform fitting selections on the violin. In the “Last Mustering Out” the names, and regiments or vessels, of the veterans will be listed, and the moving letter of Jacob West, expressing his family’s gratitude to the comrades of their departed son, will be read.
The program will conclude with some short and appropriate remarks by President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by George Buss, of Freeport, Illinois, and the sounding of “Taps.”
Schedule of Events 2nd Annual “Rally ‘Round the Flag” Civil War Event
May 18-20, 2012, Evansville, Wisconsin Except as otherwise noted, all events take place in the “Lower Park” portion of Lake Leota Park. The HQ Tent and vendor area are located at the north end of the footbridge over Allen Creek. Reenactor registration will take place at the HQ tent during the hours noted. Also, except as noted, all events are free and open to the public. (Events subject to change.)
Thursday, May 17.
Participants in the Company K School Day may begin setting up camp any time after noon. Camps will be set up, and remain, in the Lower Park area, on either side of Antes Drive. The infantry and cavalry camps will be set up on the south of the drive, and the civilian camps on the north side of the drive (which is more level). The artillery will set up on the north side of the drive, at the east end of the park (opposite the Museum building). Firewood will be available in camp throughout the weekend, beginning Thursday.
Friday, May 18.
8:30 AM. Lower Park. Company K School Day programs begin. Please note that, for safety reasons, Antes Drive between the Park Drive Intersection and the bell tower will be closed to all traffic from 8:30 AM to the time of departure of the last school bus (around 4:00 PM).
1:00 PM. HQ Tent. News Conference with President Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by George Buss. All media invited.
4:00 PM – 7:30 PM. HQ Tent. Reenactor registration.
7:30 PM. Antes Drive. Coach departs for program at Maple Hill Cemetery. Will also pick up/drop off passengers en route at East Main Street and Union Street.
8:00 PM. Maple Hill Cemetery, Cemetery Road, Evansville. Living History Theater and Civil War Memorial Program by lantern light. Theatrical presentations at grave sites of four Civil War veterans followed by memorial for the 140 Civil War veterans buried here. Music by Frank Medina. Presidential address by George Buss as Abraham Lincoln. Coach returns on completion of program. In the event of rain, the Living History Theater and Memorial Program will be held at the HQ Tent at Lake Leota Park.
Saturday, May 19.
8:00 AM – 11:00 AM. HQ Tent. Reenactor registration, with final cut-off at 11:00.
9:00 AM. Lake Leota Park. Camps open to the public. All reenactor vehicles must be removed from the camps by this time, and non-period items must be kept from public view until camps close at 5:00 PM. For safety and security reasons, Antes Drive from the Park Drive intersection to the bell tower will be closed to all vehicular traffic from 9:00 AM on Saturday through 3:00 PM on Sunday. All other drives and parking areas will remain open to reenactors and the public throughout the weekend.
9:30 AM. HQ Tent. Welcome and program. “Evansville in the Civil War.”
10:45 AM. HQ Tent. Program. Invited speaker: Michael Stevens, Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Officer, on “As if it were Glory: Robert Beecham’s Civil War from the Iron Brigade to the Black Regiments.”
12:30 PM. Evansville Manor, 470 Garfield Ave., Evansville. Parade assembly and Serenade by the 1st Brigade Band. (Weather permitting.)
1:00 PM. West Main and North First Streets. Parade to the Park from Evansville Manor with the 1st Brigade Band. Note: In the event of rain, the Band will perform its concert at the HQ Tent at Lake Leota Park at 1:30 PM.
1:30 PM. Lake Leota Park. Free outdoor concert and historical program with the 1st Brigade Band. (In the HQ Tent in the event of rain.)
3:15 PM. HQ Tent. Program. Civil War Fashion Show with the Historical Timekeepers.
4:30 PM. Evansville Museum, 15 Antes Drive. Storefront Decorating Contest awards.
5:00 PM. Lake Leota Park. Camps closed to the public, except for “Supper with the Troops” and vendor sales.
5:15 PM. HQ Tent. “Supper with the Troops.” Free for registered reenactors, $7.50 for others. Menu: Hearty Beef Stew, Cornbread, dessert, water, milk, and coffee.
7:30 PM. Antes Drive. Coach departs for Ball at Creekside Place (will return after Ball).
8:00 PM. Creekside Place, 102 Maple Street, Evansville. 2nd Annual Military Ball in Honor of Armed Forces Day, with the 1st Brigade Band. $25 per person, including free refreshments. Cash bar available. Period attire suggested but not required. Advance tickets available at Creekside Place.
Sunday, May 20.
9:00 AM. HQ Tent. Religious Services in period style, with fiddle and Uillean (Irish) pipes accompaniment.
9:00 AM. Lake Leota Park. Camps open to the public. Non-period items to be kept from public view until camps close at 3:00 PM.
10:15 AM. HQ Tent. Program. Invited speaker: Lance Herdegen, Chairman of the Wisconsin Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, on “The Iron Brigade from the Brawner Farm to Gettysburg.”
11:15 AM. Artillery Area. Artillery demonstrations and firings.
1:00 PM. HQ Tent. Ladies Tea, with Jessica Michna appearing as Cordelia Harvey. $5 per person.
1:30 PM. Artillery Area. Artillery demonstrations and firings.
3:00 PM. Lake Leota Park. Camps close to the public.
Schedules and participants subject to change.
“Rally ‘Round the Flag” is produced by
Evansville Grove Society, Inc.
PO Box 234
Evansville, WI 53536
Find us on Facebook at Evansville-Grove-Society-Inc
Evansville Grove Society, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization; all contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Plan to join us again on May 17-19, 2013 for our 3rd annual weekend event.