Civil War lecture series

The Anoka County Historical Society will present a Civil War lecture series starting in September.

These lectures range from a living history presentation about how Christmas may have been celebrated in Minnesota in the 1840s to a discussion about the Gettysburg Address and the lasting impact of that battle to a display, “Women of the Civil War,” and discussion on Civil War small arms.

• Thursday, Sept. 5, 7 p.m. – Soldiers Aid Society.

This living history presentation shares stories of the work of the Soldiers Aid Society and the results of what these determined women accomplished. This program also includes several artifacts from soldiers’ aid fairs that highlight the creative ways women of the 1860’s supported their cause.

According to Elaine Koehn, historical society volunteer coordinator, restricted by convention and society, the ladies of the north soon created a way they could support the war effort in a new and highly organized system, the U.S. Sanitary Commission.

The root of this vast network of women was the soldier’s aid societies and nearly every community had one, Koehn said.

• Saturday, Oct. 5, 2 p.m. – Civil War tour of Anoka’s oldest cemetery, Oakwood.

There will be a guided walk through Anoka’s Oakwood Cemetery to see the graves and hear the stories of men who served in the Civil War. One man buried in Oakwood has three tombstones in two different locations in Oakwood and a third stone in Iowa, according to Koehn.

“The first man to volunteer for the Union from Wisconsin is buried in Oakwood, as is a veteran from the U.S. Colored Infantry, a murder/suicide case, a former drummer boy and so many more stories,” Koehn said.

The walk will last about a hour over the hilly terrain of this cemetery.

• Thursday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m.– The Gettysburg Address and the lasting impacts of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The speech given by President Abraham Lincoln in November 1863, as the cemetery at Gettysburg was dedicated, is probably one of the most memorized speeches ever given, Koehn said.

Former certified Gettysburg Battlefield Guide John Cox will share stories and background about the speech and one of the most ironic battles of the entire Civil War.

All the lectures are free and most will be held at the Anoka County History Center, 2135 Third Avenue N, Anoka. For more information, call the historical society at 763-421-0600 or see the webpage at AnokaCountyHistory.org.

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