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'The Fiery Trial: Civil War Stories by Candlelight' to be presented at 5 Springfield sites

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[September 13, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD -- The public is invited to come and experience several Springfield historic sites by candlelight on Sept. 28 from 5 until 9 p.m.:

  • Edwards Place at the Springfield Art Association

  • Illinois State Military Museum

  • Lincoln Tomb and War Memorial State Historic Site

  • Elijah Iles House

  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Each site will offer a candlelight program based upon a quote from the Emancipation Proclamation, which Abraham Lincoln signed into effect Jan. 1, 1863: "I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free." The issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation was the first step of many that led to the eventual end of slavery in the United States.

Visitors can visit the sites in any order and are encouraged to walk between the Lincoln Home and the Iles House. Below is each site's program description. All programs are free.

Edwards Place at the Springfield Art Association

Visitors will step back in time to 1863 and witness the Edwards family preparing for a Civil War-era reception. Benjamin and Helen Edwards will greet their guests and discuss the local and national issues of the day, including the recent battle of Gettysburg, the Emancipation Proclamation, the work of the Soldiers' Aid Society and President Lincoln's recent dismissal of Benjamin's brother Ninian as commissary of subsistence of the Army. "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Material Life of Early Springfield" will be on exhibit.

Illinois State Military Museum

Civil War re-enactors from the 114th Infantry Regiment Illinois Volunteers Reactivated will hold an encampment outside the museum. Visitors will learn about the day-to-day life of Civil War soldiers as well as discuss the events of 1863 with soldiers in the field. The museum will also be open for tours by the light of electric candles.

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Lincoln Tomb and War Memorial State Historic Site

Visitors will take a self-guided walk through the tomb and view a special exhibit explaining the iconography of sculptor Larkin Mead's ornamentation on the tomb's exterior. The exhibit will contain information about the bronze sculpture of Lincoln holding the Emancipation Proclamation and the four groups of bronze statutes that represent the Civil War infantry, artillery, cavalry and navy. Visitors will learn the meaning behind the levels of the upper deck and how they reflect Lincoln's ability to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

Elijah Iles House

Visitors will be transported to 1863 as Civil War soldiers discuss the anticipated effects of the Emancipation Proclamation recently put forward by President Lincoln. For example: "How will slaves in the Confederate states react?"; "How will this improve the Union's position?"; and "What can be done for slaves in the North?" These and other questions raised by the momentous document will be examined.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

The issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation affected the lives of African-Americans. A National Park Service ranger will discuss the response of many prominent African-Americans to this document, including how the document affected the Underground Railroad movement.

For further information on the "The Fiery Trial: Civil War Stories by Candlelight" programs, contact Pam VanAlstine at 217-741-9184 or Lincoln Home National Historic Site at 217-391-3221.

[Text from National Park Service news release received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]

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