Civil War heritage weekend at Shawnee Prairie Preserve


DARKE COUNTY — This weekend, April 29 and 30, the Ohio Valley Civil War Association will bring some of the best military living history presentations in the country to Shawnee Prairie Preserve. Daily military demonstrations at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. will include the 35th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Co. G, 66th Illinois Co. G also known as Birge’s Western Sharpshooters, and 1st Ohio Light Artillery Bat. C.

Between demonstrations camp visitors can observe daily life for a Union soldier, discuss the war effort with civilians, or marvel at visiting ladies’ latest fashions. The infantry demonstration features an in-depth look at uniforms, an explanation of the mechanics of black powder firearms, and a performance of basic drill maneuvers including a live black powder firing demonstration.

During the sharpshooter presentation, visitors will learn about target rifles, the mechanization process that made the Henry and Sharps repeating rifles possible, and witness an extremely telling speed demonstration comparing a repeating rifle to a standard issue musket.

Lastly artillery men will demonstrate each man’s specific tasks in the cannon firing process, show the tools and projectiles used during the war, and fire the smooth bore cannon.

Between the military demonstrations be sure to check out the civilians in camp. The OVCWA Civilians are dedicated men and women who take on first-person personas of real people during the American Civil War. The members portray a range of 1860s civilians: from prostitutes to nuns, farmers to business men, laundresses to telegraphers.

Come discuss the war effort, marvel at visiting ladies’ latest fashions, and find out how they kept our country running with the work force away fighting. Special for this event, Mrs. Adelicia Acklen of Nashville will regale visitors with stories from her life on a southern plantation, and the captain will demonstrate his beautiful calligraphy skills from his life before the army. The OVCWA has taught at Manassas, Kennesaw Mountain, Stones River, and Gettysburg National Battlefields. They have partnered with Darke County Parks in July of 2012, April of 2015 and 2016, and Darke County Parks is proud to welcome them back to Shawnee Prairie again.

This free, family-friendly event has something to interest everyone. From the military veteran to the seamstress, the cook to the doctor, and everything in between, come see how all these pursuits unfolded over 150 years ago.

For any questions or more information about this exciting and unique event, please call the nature center at 937-548-0165, or send an email to [email protected]

Staff report

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