Visitors to the Old State Capitol on April 20, May 4 and May 25 can
talk with a historic interpreter in full military uniform. The
interpreters will discuss a key battle from the war and explain the
uniform, weapons, equipment and lifestyle of Civil War soldiers.
Programs start at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Presentations are in
the Senate chamber unless otherwise noted on the day of the event.
"Meet a Boy in Blue" is part of the Old State Capitol State
Historic Site's commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil
The April 20 event is devoted to the Battle of Chancellorsville,
in which Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee managed to defeat a much
larger Union Army. It was one of the bloodiest battles of the war,
with more than 30,000 casualties.
May 4 brings information on the Siege of Vicksburg. Ulysses S.
Grant laid siege to the Confederate bastion for 40 days as Southern
troops and Vicksburg residents starved. Finally, after a chain of
bloody assaults, Grant was able to force this last Confederate
stronghold to surrender on July 4, 1863.
The "Boy in Blue" heads to sea on May 25 with a program entitled
"War of the High Seas." The Civil War included sea battles not only
along the Southern coast of the United States but across the globe
as well. Union warships fought against Confederate raiders in
France, Japan and the Bering Strait. The Confederate fleet was no
match against the Union navy and proved little hindrance to Northern
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"Meet a Boy in Blue" will be followed this summer by the larger
"History Comes Alive" program.
During the 1840s and 1850s, the Old State Capitol was the scene
of debate over issues that led the nation to war in 1861. During the
Civil War, as the seat of government, the building was the center of
the state's wartime mobilization. The Capitol also provided space
for local events aiding the needs of local residents as well as
soldier relief efforts.
The Old State Capitol State Historic Site, administered by the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday through Saturday during the month of April. It will be open
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week beginning May 1.
[Text from file received from the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]