Battle brings crowds to Naper Settlement's Civil War Days

  • Union re-enactors practice lining up to fire during infantry drills Saturday to prepare for a battle as part of Civil War Days at the Naper Settlement.

      Union re-enactors practice lining up to fire during infantry drills Saturday to prepare for a battle as part of Civil War Days at the Naper Settlement. Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

  • Kurt Steffeter of Indiana points out the original 1856 barrel on a Civil War-era cannon to Naper Settlement visitors Saturday during the annual Civil War Days re-enactment event.

      Kurt Steffeter of Indiana points out the original 1856 barrel on a Civil War-era cannon to Naper Settlement visitors Saturday during the annual Civil War Days re-enactment event. Marie Wilson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/19/2012 11:08 PM

Some like the history. Others like the military technology. But for Jason Lavigne and Michael Amberg, both 11, of Naperville, it was all about the battle.

The boys were among hundreds who visited the Naper Settlement Saturday for the opening of this year's Civil War Days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The pair, along with Jason's 8-year-old sister Gwen and about a dozen other kids, scattered across the settlement's 12-acre grounds in an unorganized battle of their own before Civil War re-enactors staged a replica battle.

"They look forward to this every year. They like the battle," said Jason and Gwen's mother, Cathy Lavigne. "They do their own re-enactment, which is hilarious."

At one point, the group of kids looked to be lining up for battle with a group of Union re-enactors. But instead of engaging in a scrum, the kids broke into pairs and spread out across the settlement, while the Union re-enactors were only doing infantry drills to ready themselves for the big battle later in the day.

As the Union group practiced marching and firing procedures, Stanford's Mississippi Battery, a unit of Confederate re-enactors based in Lombard, was relaxing in the shade and teaching visitors about their artillery -- including an original 1856 smoothbore cannon mounted on a replica of a Civil War-era wooden carriage.

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"Everything is to size and how it was originally built," said re-enactor Stuart Sanko of Lombard.

The fiddler, flutist and drummer with Stanford's Battery also do their best imitation of the period's musical style and dress.

"It's all about the history and keeping it alive," Sanko said.

Civil War Days continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and also includes a row of vendors selling historical products, campfire cooking demonstrations, an Abe Lincoln impersonator and historical demonstrations about everyday life during the Civil War.

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