Monday, Aug. 6 marks the 150th anniversary of the infamous Battle of Kirksville. To commemorate the occasion, a committee along with the City of Kirksville and Kirksville Tourism joined forces to organize a weekend full of events.
The highlight was the battle reenactment, held at Rotary Park. Hundreds were lined up, waiting for the battle to start. The cannons were so powerful that you could hear them blasting away from as far as Hy-Vee. According to retired history teacher Dennis Daniels, the actual battle took place during the Civil War on Aug. 6, 1862 , in the same spot as where the Adair County Courthouse sits today.
The Confederate troops were led by Col. Joseph Porter and the Union troops were led by Col. John McNeil. The Union troops chased the Confederates to the Kirksville town square and it was there that they battled it out. The Union won the fight.
Spectators said the reenactment was very informative.
"I thought it was great," said Randy Hagerty, of Kirksville. "I love history and the fact that so many people put an effort in commemorating this important battle in this part of the state, I think was just a wonderful community event. Everyone here seemed to enjoy it and it's one of the those things that can make history come alive."
"I really enjoyed it," said Annie Lecaque, who now lives in Tennessee but was in town visiting family. "Growing up in Kirksville, we learned about the Civil War battle in history classes especially in the 8th grade and my AP US History class in high school so it was really enjoyable to come and be apart of it and be able to watch the reenactment is something I really enjoyed."
"I thought it really struck home- the historical aspect of it," said Logan Yardley. "It was kind of surreal that this happened at our home."
The second half of the re-enactment involved executions. Daniels said that once the Union won the battle, Col. John McNeil led the killing of paroled confederate soldiers. There were 14 shot on the spot. They were executed because they had previously made a pledge to never bear arms against the United States.
If you missed the re-enactment, you can see it Sunday, Aug. 5 at 1 p.m. in Rotary Park.
Here's a schedule of events.