About a month ago on a Saturday morning, we left the confines of the city of Madison and headed west to the small town of Boscobel, Wisconsin to take in the event titled the “Reliving Our Heritage.” This 1st Annual event was billed as a way to bring out our history out of books and to make it come alive. While it was designed to be a reenactment of military camps from the 1800’s to the present it was primarily a reenactment of the War Between the States or more commonly known as the Civil War. Apparently, in the past Boscobel hosted one of the largest Civil War reenactment events in the Midwest but after the organizer “aged” out of running the event, it went into hiatus for a couple of years. We were told that this year’s event was about 1/10th the size of previous reenactments. It’s now trying to reestablish itself as a military living historical event.
After arriving at the site of the event, Kronshage Park in Boscobel, we paid our admission of $5.00 each with a $1.00 discount for military veterans. We found a lunch stand sponsored by a local church and gained the energy to walk the vast grounds. Here’s are a couple panoramas of the grounds.
First, before I go further, a little about Boscobel, located in Grant County, the southwestern most county in Wisconsin. It’s bordered on the west by the Mississippi River and Iowa and on the south by Illinois. Boscobel is located along the Wisconsin River, the northern border of the county. It’s population is about 3400 people. In addition to agriculture and tourism, it’s main source of jobs is the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, originally known as the Supermax prison for men. The town itself was founded in 1854 although there were earlier settlers and settlements in the area. The name Boscobel is said to come from the derivation from the words “bosc” that means wood and “belle” that means beautiful, or beautiful woods! In 1861, a call for volunteers went out for men to join the Union Army. Within a week, two companies of troops were organized for the war effort. Upon return, the survivors returned the town to its previous vitality. The population of the town has ebbed and flowed through the years most likely due to changes in both industry and agriculture, but Boscobel has continued to remain stable mostly due to it’s location along the Wisconsin River and aforementioned prison, a seemingly growth industry! As a point of trivia, the Boscobel High School mascot is the Bulldogs. Boscobel has one of those idyllic small town main streets with local businesses and professionals.
Now back to Reliving Our Heritage. Our first stop was at the event tent that featured presentations by some of the Civil War generals, Grant and Lee as well as a couple of others. They talked about their war time experiences and answered questions from the audience.
From the event tent, we headed up to the reenactment grandstand to watch the battle between the Union and Confederate armies. While both side had small contingents of troops, they both had cannons that provided loud sounds and a lot of smoke!
Then a small platoon of soldiers from each side advanced on each other, taking aim with their muskets, each firing one shot then retreating to reload.
The rebels also mustered up a calvary unit that would taunt the Union soldiers to tried to hit man or horse but today were missing the mark! At the end of the reenactment, the Rebs declared victory, they had three cannons (one an authentic Civil War cannon) to the Union’s one cannon. They also outmanned the Union today.
After the reenactment, we headed over to the medical tent where they demonstrated Civil War medical care, such as it was. The doctor (a person could become a doctor by attending two four month lectures and not having touched a patient!) administered battlefield aid to a couple of soldiers, one made it and the other didn’t that then requires the services of a Chaplin.
We also took a walk over to the Confederate camp to look at the cannons and talk to the reenactors. Had a nice chat with a couple of the soldiers and took some photos.
Here’s a few more photos from our pleasant visit to Reliving Our Heritage in Boscobel, Wisconsin.