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Civil War Days Draws Crowd

General John A. Logan, portrayed by historian Brian “Fox” Ellis, speaks to students during one of the breakout sessions Wednesday morning on campus. (Logan Media Services photo)

General John A. Logan, portrayed by historian Brian “Fox” Ellis, speaks to students during one of the breakout sessions Wednesday morning on campus. (Logan Media Services photo)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Hundreds of children from multiple school districts in the region descended upon the John A. Logan College campus Wednesday to take part in the Eighth Annual Civil War Days celebration.

Kids were treated to a living history of events and characters from the 1860s, including President Abraham Lincoln and the general himself, John A. Logan.

Barry Hancock, Associate Dean for Community Education at JALC, said he was pleased with the turnout.

“I hope the kids take away a much better understanding of our Civil War and its importance in history after their visit here today,” he said. “For instance, what we learn about history helps us to protect and deal with the future.”

Hancock said the nearly 500 students in attendance should retain more knowledge about the Civil War when seeing live demonstrations from actors.

“I think so,” he said. “Seeing things happen right in front of you always stick with you better.”

Re-enactors of the 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry prepare to fire the cannon Wednesday. The firing of the cannon is always the highlight of Civil War Days at Logan. (Logan Media Services photo)

Re-enactors of the 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry prepare to fire the cannon Wednesday. The firing of the cannon is always the highlight of Civil War Days at Logan. (Logan Media Services photo)

Pam Collins, representing the Adult Literacy Program at JALC, said five adults from the Du Quoin area were brought to the celebration Wednesday.

“This was a great life history lesson and our group was really excited about coming here today,” she said.

Travis Vickery, an instructor at Washington School in Marion, said Civil War Days is a “wonderful outdoor opportunity for the kids” as opposed to remaining in the classroom all day.

“The artifacts that these presenters bring with them, including the guns, have never been seen by these kids. They read about it, but to touch it and feel it and then hear the cannon going off, they enjoy it.”

Vickery said the Logan impersonator was particularly fascinating.

“You could throw any question at him and he had an instant response. I can’t imagine the number of hours he put in studying to be that articulate.”

The celebration got under way at 9 with storyteller and historian, Brian “Fox” Ellis, impersonating General Black Jack Logan inside the college’s conference center.

Not only was Logan known to be one of the Union’s favorite officers, but he would also become a powerful legislator and founder of Memorial Day as a national holiday.

Outdoors later in the morning, there were a handful of stations established for smaller groups of students, including the life of a Civil War soldier; life through a doctor’s eyes; life through President Lincoln’s eyes’ Southern flags; women in the Civil War; Illinois’ volunteer infantry; fiddle and banjo playing; and the firing of the cannon.