Exploring the Civil War 150 years ago

SYCAMORE – Throughout the country, museums and historic sites are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The Sycamore History Museum will host “1863,” featuring generals Grant, Lee, Stuart, Thomas and Custer and Secretary of War Stanton, on Saturday, Nov. 9.

The actors portraying these historic figures will talk about what was happening in 1863, the second year of the Civil War, a war many at the time thought would end quickly.

Last year, the museum featured 1862. In this production, each figure will describe how the war has changed in character and the impact of the war. They will also explore how the strategies and tactics changed in response to new technologies. 

“We are fortunate to have such talented reenactors in this area,” museum executive director Michelle Donahoe said. “Larry Werline, who lived in Sycamore for many years,  performs numerous times a year throughout the country, including appearances nearly every week in the summer at Lincoln historic sites in Springfield. We are very excited that Werline, along with the other reenactors in his group, are available to share this first-person performance for our community.”

The living history troupe, Grant, Lee, Custer & Co. presents a series of Civil War-related programs. The troupe will continue to visit Sycamore once a year to present the next year in the war – “1864,” “1865” and “1866.” The performances portray what was going on in the North and South in that year based on letters and other primary research.

Information about life in Sycamore at the time will also be incorporated into the evening’s events. For instance, Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery was formed in Sycamore in 1861 and served all four years of the war, including in the Vicksburg and Nashville campaigns. DeKalb County’s only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient came from this unit.

Tickets for “1863” are available at the Sycamore History Museum and the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce for $10 per person, and $5 for students. The program is at the DeKalb County Community Foundation’s Freight Room, 475 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore, and begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call 815-895-5762 or visit

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