Experience the life and culture of Civil War-era Madison, Ind., during Lanier Civil War Days on June 15 and 16 at Lanier Mansion State Historic Site from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Watch re-enactors recreate Civil War battles, visit with Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, listen to period music; see Victorian-era artisans demonstrate their skills, and play historic games.
On Saturday at 7 p.m., enjoy a free Civil War music concert on the Lanier lawn featuring Dusty Fiddles. The local group will perform tunes popular during the Civil War era such as Dixie, The Yellow Rose of Texas, My Old Kentucky Home, The Battle Cry of Freedom and The Girl I Left Behind Me.
You won’t want to miss Krembo K the juggler and Freakshow Foley the sword swallower on Saturday at 12:30 and 2:15 p.m. “On Saturday only this year we will have sideshow performers from the Blue Monkey Group of Indianapolis performing,” said Anne Fairchild, Lanier program coordinator. “The juggler will get the crowds laughing, and the sword swallower can do amazing feats of strength as well sword swallowing,” she added.
Beside their encampment, the Civil War re-enactor groups — including the Vernon Greys, the Nelson Artillery Company, Freemans Battery and the 1st Wisconsin —will fire artillery on the hour. “One of the unique things about our event is the way the cannon blasts echo off the Kentucky hills,” said Gerry Reilly, Lanier site manager. “You hear the initial bang, followed by a long pause, then you hear the echoes which sound like thunder rolling down the valley,” he added.
Re-enactors will also explain the lives of Civil War soldiers, fire a Gatling gun, demonstrate medical techniques of the period and conduct mock battles at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. A remembrance ceremony to honor all those who served in the Civil War from Jefferson County will kick-off the event at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Jefferson County Civil War memorial on the Visitor Center Plaza.
Historic trade demonstrations such as woodworking, blacksmithing, basket weaving and cooking with a Dutch oven will take place on the mansion grounds. The family activity station includes knot tying, rope making, hand weaving, and cord making, along with traditional toys and other old fashioned fun. All children’s activities will take place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Historic presentations (both days) include Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by David Wolfe; period music, performed by Dusty Fiddles; Civil War medical demonstrations by William Kinsey, and General Robert E. Lee portrayed by Chuck Eberle.
“His Lordship’s Beef” will set-up a period outdoor tavern roasting meat over an open fire. They will serve roast beef with red beans and cornbread and period libations such as lemonade, switchel (a non-alcoholic period drink), hard cider from Thomas Family Winery and Steamboat Common, a lager beer classically brewed on the Ohio River.
Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 4 through 12. Children 3 years old and under are free. For more information, call 812.273.0556 or visit indianamuseum.org/lanier.