Keokuk – The Confederate Civil War Camp

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Some may wonder… do Iowan’s remember the Civil War?  Do they have any sesquicentennial events?  The answer is – –  YES!  The city of Keokuk, named after a Sauk Chief, just finished their Civil War Reenactment (April 26-28).  This was their 26th year holding reenactments and it was a time to remember.  They are one of several Iowa cities that have reenactments and I had the good fortune to visit the fair city by the mighty Mississippi River and cover the Keokuk event.  I will have several blog posts to tell the story and show some photos.  So, here goes…

During the Civil War, Keokuk was a departure point for Union troops heading south.  It also had a number of hospitals and treated injured soldiers during the war.  I was in Keokuk Saturday and Sunday.  It drizzled much of the day Saturday while Sunday was sunny and very warm.  I think the most frequent observation I heard on Saturday was something like “Well, what do you expect?  It always rains when they have the Keokuk reenactment.”  Usually, the person chuckled while saying this.

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The weather may have been messy but it did not dampen spirits.  There was a familiar resolve in both the Confederate and Federal camps – you go to Keokuk and you get wet.

The Keokuk reenactment was held in Rand Park, a large wooded park next to the Mississippi River.  The Confederate camp was a scattered collection of tents plus men and women clustered around campfires.  Everywhere you turned, friends were sharing stories, stirring fires and cooking food.  Young and old all enjoyed their time at Keokuk.

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You may recall, a little over a month ago I visited the Pea Ridge reenactment and experienced temperatures near freezing.  A week ago I visited Keokuk where the weather was in the 50s and rainy on Saturday and reached 80 degrees on Sunday.  One thing has emerged, whether in Iowa or Arkansas or Missouri.  No matter how much the weather bounces around, the enthusiasm of the men in both Blue and Gray is GREAT.

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