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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Mine Creek's Heritage Day reflects on area's part in war

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

A Union re-enactor fires his rifle at advancing Confederate troops at Heritage Day sponsored by the Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation on Saturday, Aug.5 (Photos by Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

PLEASANTON – The Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation sponsored its annual Heritage Day on Saturday, Aug. 5 at the state historical site south of Pleasanton.

This year’s event had what recent visitors have come to expect: re-enactors, Civil War era craft displays, and modern-day hamburgers for lunch, an appearance of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and a skirmish between Union and Confederate troops.

However, there were a few things that were different this year.

“We had over a hundred people at Heritage Day this year,” said Tamara Neal, president of the foundation. “New demonstrators this year were the Prairie Sunflower Strings band. John Jehle gave an amazing weapons presentation. Andy Humble and Matthew Field came to represent the cavalry with their horses.

“And we had a group from Battery B, 3rd Kansas Light Artillery with their cannon. The visitors really love the skirmish and the cannons blowing.”

A Kansas artillery group fires off a 6-pound field cannon.

The hands-on demonstration of Civil War era firearms engaged visitors, who got to hold the weapons.

And while Daniel Seller with his mountain howitzer made a repeat appearance, this year his smaller and more portable gun (hence the “mountain”) was joined by the light artillery detail firing a 6-pound gun.

The gun, crew members explained, was used to fire canisters containing small shot that was designed to wound as many of the enemy as possible.

While the part of the horse-mounted re-enactors was brief in the skirmish between Union and Confederate troops, it was remarkable to see the horses remain seemingly unaffected as the cannons blasted not 50 yards away from them.

The Prairie Sunflower Strings band provided Civil War-period music for the event. Band members, from front, included Jack Hemphill, Sandy Hemphill, Marilyn Adcock, Jean Strader and, in photo below, Cassino Richardson.

The Fort Scott-based Prairie Sunflower Strings led by multi-instrumentalist Sandy Hemphill played inside the visitor center. The band included Hemphill on the violin and guitar, her husband Jack Hemphill on the bass and six-string guitar, Marilyn Adcock on the autoharp, Jean Strader on the mountain dulcimer, and Cassino Richardson on the washtub bass that she has played for more than two decades.

Also a change this year: Whether it was because there were more Confederate re-enactors or perhaps preordained by agreement among the troops, the Confederate detail prevailed over the Union soldiers in this years skirmish. After picking through the “deceased” Union soldiers clothes for usable items following the skirmish, the Confederate re-enactors joined together in a celebration of their victory by posing for a photo opportunity for visitors.

“We feel it is important to continue this event to help educate the public about the rich history that Kansas has,” said Neal. “Linn County has such a gem in the battlefield and we are so close to Kansas City for visitors to come and spend the day.

“The Foundation works hard to support the Battlefield, and bring awareness of the rich history it has with its part in the Civil War.”

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