HAMMOND | The century-and-a-half-old stories of Northwest Indiana's Civil War soldiers are getting new life in a Hammond exhibit opening today.
The Region United, Nation Divided: Civil War in the South Shore exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center uses hundreds of photos, narrative text, artifacts, battle flag reproductions and a Civil War re-enactor's encampment to retell the story of the region's involvement in our nation's bloodiest war.
The exhibit arrives during the 150th anniversary of the war's third year. Of all of the states in the Union, Indiana contributed the second-highest percentage of its male population to the 1861-1865 war, and hundreds of those men came from Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
Free-standing exhibit panels laden with photos and narrative text give insight into the region men who fought in the war's major battles of Shiloh, Stones River, Gettysburg and Sherman's March to the Sea — all spanning the 1861-1865 war.
Portions of the exhibit also are dedicated to Civil War battlefield surgery, medicine and disease, using the photos and stories of Valparaiso Army Surgeon John F. McCarthy and his wife, Army Nurse Mary McCarthy.
Another portion of the exhibit shows a to-scale model of the Lincoln funeral train that passed through Northwest Indiana after the Civil War, carrying the nation's 16th president to his grave in Illinois.
A special oak and steel exhibit donated by Crown Point's Ziese & Sons Excavating commemorates two years of local preservation work to replace about 80 worn, broken or missing Civil War veteran headstones with new granite markers at Lake and Porter county cemeteries.
The overall exhibit, which is free and incorporates artifacts loaned from region museums, runs daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., today through May 3 and will include live demonstrations by Civil War re-enactors on Saturdays during that time period.
A guest author and a local filmmaker also are scheduled to make presentations during the exhibit.
One of the presentations will be made at 1:30 p.m. April 27 by Florida author James Keir Baughman.
Baughman wrote the nonfiction work, "The Boys From Lake County," which chronicles the history of Northwest Indiana soldiers who served in Company A of the 73rd Indiana Infantry during the war.
Following a guest lecture on April 27, Baughman will sign copies of his book that will be available for sale at the Welcome Center.
See the full schedule published with this article for other "Region United, Nation Divided" exhibit events. The Times Media Co. is a key sponsor of the exhibit, which is a project of the South Shore Civil War Memorial Trail and the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.