Civil War Demonstration Draws Crowd

Macomb, IL – It may not have been a battle re-enactment, but it sure drew a crowd. This past weekend members of the newly formed Western Illinois Civil War Roundtable presented a demonstration including authentic weapons, artifacts and pictures from the Civil War.

WIU Chemistry professor Don Bath is a self proclaimed history buff. He says he and the Civil War Roundtable hope to combat some of the misconceptions surrounding the war. He says many people equate the time of the Civil War to the "Dark Ages" in terms of strategy, weaponry and even intellect.

"They weren't total ignorant heathens during that period," says Bath. "There were a lot of things that were done that are still done in the sciences these days, some of the techniques. This was not an illiterate period in the history of this country. A lot of people knew about many things that many of us today don't know about."

Bath says he hopes to use the demonstration to generate interest not only in the Civil War, but also in the Western Illinois Civil War Roundtable itself. He says he hopes the demonstration would generate enough interest to start a sizable group.

There are currently Civil War roundtables in Burlington and Quincy, but none in West Central Illinois. Bath says there should be a good deal of interest in this period, because Macomb and McDonough County played a significant role in defending the Union. That part of this area's history, he says, should not be forgotten.

"There were a lot of heroes from this area," he says. "There are a lot of names that, at the time, were of some importance, but have been forgotten now. McDonough County was average in being very much committed and very much active."

Bath says McDonough County was almost entirely pro-Union, but he says many Union politicians were concerned about a southern Illinois secession.

Bath encourages anyone with an interest in Civil War period history to consider joining the Western Illinois Civil War Roundtable. The group's next meeting will be December 2nd at 7:00 p.m. at New Copperfield's Book Service in downtown Macomb.

To listen to a piece on the Civil War Roundtable's demonstration, click play on the audio link above.