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Ohio Civil War group plans Victorian wake
By Eric C. Rodenberg

LEBANON, Ohio — After fighting in the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862, Second Lt. John A. Koogle was 24 years old when he returned to his father’s house on April 18, 1862. Expected to fully recover from injuries suffered during the battle, Koogle died three days later.

On Sept. 28-29, the Glendower Historic Mansion will be the site of a Victorian mourning with Civil War re-enactors encamped on the front lawn. The re-enactors will perform close order drills, in addition to loading and firing cannon throughout the two days.

“It’s a really an up close and personal look,” said Warren County Historian John Zimkus. “You can learn how they lived, what they wore and ate, and how they fought.”

The Glendower Historic Mansion is located within a historic part of town, where most of the homes were built in the 1840s and 1850s – all of which lends more authenticity to the outing, according to Zimkus.

All the participants will adhere to mourning rituals performed during the Victorian Age.

“Visitors will travel 150 years back in time to explore Victorian mourning rituals and the culture of death during the Civil War,” said Jenny Gauche, Glendower’s textile curator. “Guests will ’attend’ the wake and witness a household preparing for a funeral and period of mourning.”

The exact nature of Koogle’s wounds is not known, Zimkus reported. He had returned to his father’s home 11 days after the battle, and was expected to make a full recovery. The battle, early in the Civil War, gave both sides the first taste of what “modern” warfare would be like.

At the Battle of Shiloh, also called the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, in southwestern Tennessee, the Union army suffered 13,000 casualties. The Confederate Army reported 10,000 casualties. Until that time, it was the largest battle on American soil.

“Basically, the technology changed faster than war tactics,” Zimkus said. “Firing at each other at close range with powerful weapons each side was blowing the other side to pieces.”

Koogle, who served in the 12th Illinois Infantry, was one of the 109 in his regiment who were either killed or wounded. Wearing rakish Scottish berets, the regiment was in the thick of the fighting.

Koogle worked as a harness and saddle maker with his father until enlisting in the Union Army on April 18, 1861 for a three-month hitch as a private.

After fulfilling that obligation, Koogle re-enlisted at the rank of sergeant for three years on Aug. 1, 1861. In March 1862, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant nearly a month before fighting at Shiloh.

The battle was won by the Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, but at a great cost.

Contact: (513) 932-1817

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