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Civil War Day at St. Francois State Park

On Saturday, July 18, staff at St. Francois State Park will host a variety of Civil War-related activities. These activities, held throughout the day, will take visitors back to an era unlike our country has seen since. Try on a soldier’s uniform, fire a real Civil War era cannon, and go on a bushwhacking adventure!

Missouri had a very defining role in the outcome of the Civil War, and St. Francois County was not without its players.  The families of this area suffered the same separations,  hardships and tragedies that much of the nation felt — except that Missouri was much more divided than any other state. Not only were brothers fighting brothers and fathers fighting sons, but there were also bushwhackers who roamed Missouri. Bushwhacking was a type of warfare used during the Civil War, particularly in rural areas where there were very sharp divisions between those favoring the Union and those favoring the Confederacy.  They were not part of the regular military, and Missouri was the center of most of the bushwhacking activities during the war. Some called them patriotic, others called them thieves, bandits and murderers.   Visitors can decide for themselves as we divide into the Militia and the bushwhackers and bushwhack our way throughout the campground, collecting supplies and avoiding skirmishes.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

2:00 p.m. —  Clothes of the Civil War. Try on a soldier’s uniform or a typical woman’s dress from the time period.  Meet at the amphitheater.

3:30 p.m. —  Civil War Cannon program. The Missouri State Museum has brought an authentic Civil War era cannon to demonstrate. Visitors will learn about how many people it took just to fire the cannon, and then get the chance to actually fire it! Meet in the campground.

6:30 p.m. —  Bushwhacked! Program will begin with first person interpretation of real people from St. Francois County. Group will then be divided into bushwhackers and militia, and will work together to move through the campground undetected in search of vital supplies like food and money. Bring good shoes and bug protection. Long pants are recommended. Meet at the amphitheater.

As always, activities are free and open to the public. No registration is required. All activities will take place in the park’s campground.  For more information about scheduled activities, please call the park office at (573) 358-2173.

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