Galena Will have the Last Word

Galena Will Have The Last Word

Galena will have the last word in the American Civil War Sesquicentennial celebrations. The final act of this five-year struggle for the soul of America will be celebrated throughout America in April 2015 with the re-enactment of the surrender at Appomattox, Virginia. But there is one more event of interest not just to this community, but to the national community of fans of US history. And Galena will punctuate this history with a firm “exclamation point” in the form of the Triumphant Return of our Number-One citizen and American Hero: Ulysses S. Grant.  The triumphal arch that was erected on Main Street in his honor in August 1865, and reenacted in 1965, will see perhaps its most memorable incarnation in August of 2015. This news is starting to ripple across America through the civil war re-enacting community, the hospitality industry and word-of-mouth, likely bringing legions of new visitors from many parts of America, fans of Civil War History and dedicated admirers of the man who went from “Useless Grant” to “Unconditional Surrender Grant” in less than five years.

Plans are taking shape and are raising expectations. Most assuredly, parades will be held, speeches will be given, contests will be held, stories will be told, fashions will be displayed, music will be played, songs will be sung. The cry of freedom and pride will be on display as we rally once again. Most of the organizers of the 1965 Reenactment have passed on, but many of the youngsters appearing on program lists and in pictures from that event  will have a chance to relive those days, tell their stories and dust off those family pictures yet to be rediscovered in forgotten photo albums and shoe boxes. If you have a copy of the souvenir book titled RALLY ONCE MORE, be proud of your ownership and its tangible evidence of a magnificent historic event. If indeed you have such memories and/or pictures, the organizers of the Sesquicentennial are anxious to hear from you. Should anyone have memories or pictures of the original 1865 event, such an interview is guaranteed to be headlined in the planned Souvenir Book, and probably have international attention too. In the meantime, we will ask the public’s help in identifying individuals in pictures from the 1965 event.  Indeed, Tristate Historical Presentations (THP), a not-for-profit organization, is anxious to get this process started. Contact THP soon at:, or via Facebook or call and leave a message at 815-528-5402. The best memories and pictures will be awarded recognition and prizes. Soon, other specific contests will be announced for volunteers and contributors of this event. Among them are popular ones such as a beard contest, a best-dressed contest, best musical talent, period dance talent, etc…. Of course, military contests will be staged on the battlefield: musket and cannon firing, drill competition and much more…..So, be part of history; join in the fun, and experience the thrill as a volunteer and/or contributor. Tax-deductible contributions can be deposited in the Tristate Historical Presentations, Inc. checking account at the Galena State Bank. To be interviewed or to reveal exciting photographs, contact THP at the above email address or phone number. THP intends to live up to its name and connect the tristate region with events also in Dubuque (IA) and Grant County (WI). THP volunteers will be active in Dubuque at the River Museum’s Civil War display (beginning this April) and at the Mathias Ham House (September). The first public event of the year is on the calendar with a civil war “cantonment”, i.e. a temporary encampment and a battle re-enactment on April 26 and 27 on the river at Depot Park, Galena. The interaction between civil war re-enactors, the public and boy scouts will be novel and exciting in a town that ranks among the top ten best-cities in the country.  THP will announce shortly an informational meeting and a public Q & A opportunity.

679 words

M Didier – Founder/Treasurer

Tristate Historical Presentations, Inc.

Galena, IL


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