SANDWICH – The Civil War re-enactment group that portrays the Union Army's 10th Illinois Infantry, Company H has set up camp at James Knights Park in Sandwich this past weekend. Each of the members of the re-enactment company, that had the nickname of the Sandwich Guards during the Civil War, play the part of the actual individuals who served in the unit.
The Sandwich Guards were known as the first full Illinois company that answered the call from President Abraham Lincoln when it formed on April 19, 1861. The 112 volunteers left Sandwich on April 22, wearing uniforms made by the women of Sandwich in just three days, using blue fabric from local stores.
Because the 10th Illinois, Company H formed in Sandwich during April, the re-enactment and Living History Weekend is held in the same location, the same month as a tribute. Re-enactment members pointed out that the weekend event sometimes is earlier in the month and sometimes later because of the Easter holiday and members' other responsibilities.
The encampment’s setting features woodsmoke from outdoor cooking and campfires, the crack of weapons, officers giving marching orders, men outside canvas tents, seated on folding chairs while whittling and talking with Sandwich Guards dressed in blue and other visitors.
The event is sponsored annually by the 10th Illinois, Company H, Sandwich Guards, the Sandwich Historical Society and the Sandwich Park District. It’s free and open to the public.
During the year, the Sandwich Guards takes part in many other scheduled activities, including battle and camp re-enactments, parades and memorial services throughout Illinois and other locations.