WATCH NOW: Civil War Technology Living History Day persists through rainy Kenosha weather | News

Despite a rainy morning, Civil War reenactors of the First Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Light Artillery Battery A reenactment group demonstrated cannon firings and other historic elements of warfare at the Civil War Museum Saturday.

The demonstration, which was part of the Kenosha Civil War Museum’s Civil War Technology Living History Day, included one cannon firing every hour and cannon firing drills.

“We’re excited we’re working with the civil war museum,” said Paul Hoffman, a reenactor with the group. “This is our first event coordinated with the museum, so we’re excited about that.”

Some reenactors said that although it was raining they were happy it was not a scorching day. That opinion was not shared universally among the uniformed troops, some of who would have been happy to do without the rain.

In addition to the cannon firing demonstrations, the First Michigan Engineers demonstrated gun firing drills.

“One of the appeals of doing this, whether we’ve served (in the armed forces) or not, this gives us a chance to experience the kind of camaraderie that people that do serve in the armed forces have,” said Steve Fratt, a former history professor and reenactor. “For those of us who haven’t had that (experience), this is similar to that.”

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Members of the reenactment group explained there are different colors on the uniforms to signify the role of those troops in battle; red for artillery, blue for infantry and yellow for cavalry.

Mary Levall, a Kenosha resident, said she has always had an interest in the Civil War. “I like things like this that make it feel real,” Levall said. “I love the rain too.”

First Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Light Artillery Battery A travels to other states to provide demonstrations and educate the public on the technology used at the time.

Explaining a very old war

Fratt said part of the education effort is explaining to people why the war was fought in ways that do not make sense to people today.

“Why are they fighting elbow-to-elbow?” Fratt said. “The most important reason why is rate of fire. They could only fire two shots a minute.”

The Illinois-themed troopers aim to preserve the Civil War’s history through participation in parades, battle reenactments and demonstrations of living history.

The group is dedicated to educating the public and has a mission to honor veterans with ceremonies held on holidays such as Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

The Civil War “is such a tragic part of our story, and it seems so unbelievable and so far away,” Levall said. “It’s hard to believe it all happened.”

Punx on the run

Although the rain could not dampen the Civil War reenactors, it did tamp down other events around the area. A car show at Holy Rosary Church was cancelled due to rain. And, the always loud and bombastic Punx on the Pier was moved to a private location due to rain.



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