History to Remember DuPage County Groups Helpcommemorate Anniversary of Start of Civil War with Special Events

Article excerpt

The American Civil War was a blow to the gut for a young struggling country. Pitting the North against the South was a divisive concern for a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to equality.

On April 12, 1861, a single attack by the Confederates on Union forces at Fort Sumter sprawled into a four-year battle. History records the War between the States as the costliest conflict on U.S. soil, with a death toll of more than 600,000.

Hostility followed a series of southern states' secession from the Union and their choice of Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederate States. A month later, Abraham Lincoln took his oath of office as president of the United States. He felt an obligation to hold the nation together as debates over slavery and states' rights caused it to splinter.

On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln issued a call to state governors to supply troops to suppress the rebellion against the U.S. government. His home state asked men to volunteer for national service and six regiments of infantry were sent to Cairo, Ill., which became an important military encampment at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

To mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, events all over the country will commemorate the sesquicentennial through the next four years. Listed below are some of the early local and statewide offerings.

Illinois HistoricPreservation Agency

The IHPA and Save Illinois History collaborated on a wonderful website with infinite details thanks, in part, to a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois General Assembly.

A year in the making, the site features a statewide calendar of events related to the sesquicentennial, a timeline of Illinois and the Civil War, images of the era and educational materials, said IHPA spokeswoman Karen Everingham, who plans to keep the calendar of events and feature stories updated. There were 60,000 hits on the site in its first month at illinoiscivilwar150.org.

Northern IllinoisHistorical Coalition

Lisle resident Doug Cunningham, chairman of the Northern Illinois Historical Coalition, said the group promotes the history of Northern Illinois through program development.

The group, along with the Friends of the Lisle Library, welcomes author Michael Weeks speaking on "Finding

Hallowed Ground: America's Civil War Sites Today" at 2 p.m. July 24 at the Lisle Library, 777 Front St., Lisle.

Weeks will share his experiences of driving across the United States in search of historical Civil War locations. His website is CivilWarRoadTrip.com.

Salt Creek Civil War Round Table

Formed in 1962, the Salt Creek Civil War Round Table is a group of Civil War historians, enthusiasts and re-enactors who share a common interest in the Civil War and preservation of historical sites. The 100-member group meets regularly in Downers Grove and provides speakers on Civil War topics.

On June 17, the Salt Creek Civil War Round Table will have its annual banquet starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilton-Lisle/Naperville, 3003 Corporate West Drive, Lisle. Historian and author Robert Girardi will present "Illinois Fights the Civil War." His website is robertgirardi.com.

The event is open to anyone interested in the Civil War, spokesman Rick Zarr said. Tickets are $40. For details, visit saltcreekcwrt. …