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Civil War Days Provides a Blast

Weekend crowds gather to watch battle re-enactment.

The attack came without notice.

Hundreds of people sat around the village green at the Naper Settlement waiting for the start of a Civil War re-enactment Sunday afternoon. As they listened to an announcer, the Confederate army began its attack.

For more than 30 minutes the two sides exchanged gun and cannon fire.

Chris Lesueur, of Chicago, said he came to see the battle because it sounded fun. He had a prime location to watch the fight, as he stood near some of the Union cannons.

“This is louder than I thought it was going to be,” Lesueur said of the cannon fire. “That one I felt.”

Eddie Gershman, 45, of Chicago brought his 6-year-old son, Alex, to the event. Both were attending their first Civil War re-enactment. Gershman said he found the Civil War Days on the Internet and thought the experience would be fun, since his son has been learning about the War Between the States in school.

Before the first shot rang out, Gershman said he was concerned about the sound level. Earlier in the day a cannon went off as a part of a demonstration and he said the level of noise was surprising.

Once the battle was under way, a number of children, and some adults, tried to dampen the sound of the black powder cannons, covering their ears with their hands, or plugging their fingers into their ears.

Alex didn’t seem worried about the noise.

“I really like seeing the battle,” Alex Gershman said. “I’m interested in the Civil War. I wanted to meet General Lee.”

Like many attending the event, the Gershman’s took advantage of a number of activities at the Naper Settlement including presentations from actors portraying Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd and Jefferson Davis. The father and son also saw a blacksmith, ate lunch, explored the army camps and even bought a wooden sword.

resident Luciana Rodriguez, 35, said she enjoyed the medicine tent exhibit the most. Rodriguez said she recently watched a program about Civil War medicine and was interested in seeing some of the amputations tools in person.

A new Naperville resident, Rodriguez said the opportunity to attend Civil War Days provided a good time that was both entertaining and educational.

“This is a living history museum,” Rodriguez said. “This is my first time at Civil War Days, and it’s been great.”

Ben Gross May 23, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Local photographer Hunter Byington spent some time visiting Civil War Days with his camera. Check out his additional photos of the event at http://gallery.me.com/willbyington#101335

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