News Release 265

Re-enactment event Aug. 5-7 marks 150th anniversary of Civil War at Battle of Athens State Historic Site

Volume 39-265 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., JULY 29, 2011 -- One hundred and fifty years ago, the turmoil of the Civil War erupted in the small town of Athens in northeast Missouri. On Aug. 5-7, this historic event will be remembered during the battle's 150th anniversary at Battle of Athens State Historic Site in Revere. All events are free and open to the public.

The Battle of Athens pitted Union Home Guardsmen against the pro-Southern Missouri State Guard on Aug. 5, 1861. Union Home Guardsmen considered the battle a victory but the once-thriving town of Athens suffered from its own defeat as bitter feelings between neighbors continued for decades followed by a shift from river to railroad transportation. Today, the remaining town of Athens is preserved in Battle of Athens State Historic Site.

"The sesquicentennial of this battle marks a time for all of us to reflect on this important time in the history of our state and nation. This re-enactment provides a window into what that time would have been like for the everyday residents of Athens," said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks, a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The public can experience this historic Civil War battle through activities Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The battle itself will be re-enacted both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Other activities throughout the weekend include Civil War camps, demonstrations by artisans, period musicians, drill exercises and sutlers selling historically accurate reproductions of clothing and equipment to the re-enactors and public. Medical and civilian scenarios on the battlefield will bring the Civil War period to life for visitors. Tours will be available of the Thome-Benning House, which still exhibits two holes made through the kitchen walls by a cannonball during the battle.

Before the battle in 1861, residents of Athens brought the two sides together in an attempt to avoid potential conflict but the effort was unsuccessful. This attempted peace treaty will be re-enacted on Saturday as part of the anniversary event.

Visitors will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a special symbol of the 1861 battle. The original flag flown by the Missouri State Guard during the battle was captured by the Home Guardsman and taken across the river to Iowa. The State Historical Society of Iowa is allowing the flag to return to its native soil of Missouri for the first time since 1861 and be on display on Saturday for the re-enactment. Following the re-enactment, the flag will be returned to the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Battle of Athens State Historic Site, mainly known for its preservation and interpretation of the town of Athens, also includes a campground, a lake for fishing, hiking trails and 1.5 miles of Des Moines River frontage. The site is located 10 miles north of Kahoka on Highway 81 and four miles east on Highway CC in Clark County.

For more information on the site and the event, call the site at 660-877-3871 or 800-334-6946, or visit mostateparks.com.

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