Thursday, May 7, 2015

Battle of Monday's Hollow, A Civil War Reenactment Weekend


Experience history as it comes to life May 30-31 with two reenactments of the Battle of Monday's Hollow at a Living History and Civil War Reenactment Weekend, held at the Missouri Trapshooters Association Grounds located at 51 Trapshooters Road off of State Road A near Linn Creek.

This event, sponsored by the Camden County Historical Society & Museum, will feature a full-scale, historically accurate reenactment of the battle on both Saturday and Sunday to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, 1861-1865. 

Although Missouri was the third bloodiest state during the war, its role in the conflict is often overshadowed by the major battles of Virginia and Tennessee. Missouri was home to several large scale engagements, but much of the bloodshed resulted from ambushes and skirmishes. 

"The Battle of Monday's Hollow is a perfect example of what happened in Missouri throughout the Civil War because it was a skirmish," says Valerie Thomas, event coordinator and Camden County Historical Society & Museum archivist. "In October 1861, a wagon train left Rolla, Mo. for Linn Creek loaded with wintertime supplies for the troops stationed in the area. As the wagons entered Camden County, 40 Union infantry men accompanying the wagons were ambushed by rebel soldiers. As the Union troops gave chase, they quickly realized they were riding into a trap as they found themselves surrounded by hundreds of Confederate soldiers. Word spread to the nearby Union calvary, who came to their rescue and in the end, 62 Confederates were killed in the fight with only one Union casualty."

The event runs from 9 am to 5 pm Saturday and 8 am to 3 pm Sunday and will feature many period-specific activities throughout the weekend. The reenactment of the Battle of Monday's Hollow will start at 1 p.m. each day. Afterwards, according to Thomas, "the 'dead will rise' and we will reenact a more 'generic' Civil War battle with cannons, calvaries, and the whole works."

Battle reenactments of this scale generally attract an average of about 400-600 reenactors and spectators can often number in the thousands. Thomas is expecting around 6,000 attendees this year.

"It's the only reenactment of its kind in the central portion of Missouri," Thomas continues. "It's like having a front row seat to a live-action Civil War battle movie. It's quite a spectacle - Union and Confederate soldiers with sabers drawn, cannons firing, infantries shooting and the cavalry charging. Adults are absolutely fascinated by it, and kids love it, too. It's really a spectacular two-day event."

Each day visitors to the grounds can walk through Confederate and Union military camps and interact with the soldiers on both sides. Throughout the weekend, strolling minstrels will be on the grounds entertaining visitors with Civil War-period music and songs and there will be interpretative reenactment speakers talking about the effects of the war and the life of slaves. On Saturday, from 7-9 p.m., there will be a Civil War dance where soldiers in full regalia and women in period dresses will join arms and step and swing to the authentic sounds of the Gum Springs Serenaders. The dance is free and open to the public, and anyone wishing to join in the fun is welcome. Following the dance, 11 cannons will make an "announcement" using multi-colored powdered flares to close out the evening. A Civil War-era worship service is also scheduled at 8 a.m. Sunday.

Attendees can complete the historical experience by visiting the "sutler village," consisting of period vendors, craftsmen, laundresses, woodworkers and soap makers peddling their wares, all of which will be for sale to the public. There also will be traveling museums and a Civil War-era medical tent. Inside the medical tent, visitors can learn how surgery was performed and how illnesses were treated in the 1860s, as well as observe a demonstration of how wounded soldiers would have been treated in the heat of battle.

A variety of food vendors are scheduled to be at the site, featuring pulled pork, chicken and ribeye sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, nachos, funnel cakes, kettle corn, ice cream and more.

Admission is free to this maximum-effort reenactment of the only Civil War battle fought in Camden County. Parking is available for suggested donations of $10 per car and $5 per motorcycle. Handicap parking is available and shuttles to and from the battle field will be free of charge.

For more information, including an event schedule or for details on how to get involved with the reenactment, call the museum at 573-346-7191 or visit CamdenCountyMuseum.com. The Camden County Historical Society & Museum is located at the corner of U.S. 54 and Route V in Linn Creek and is open from 10 am to 4 pm five days a week (when volunteers are available).