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Colfax Sesquicentennial: Civil War Time Travelers arriving in Colfax July 18

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Civil War — or at least a small part of it — will be coming to Colfax July 18 in honor of the Colfax Sesquicentennial.

Chuck and Ellen Lindvig, and their friend Harold Walters, will be setting up a Civil War living history presentation at the Colfax Fairgrounds.

The Lindvigs, who are from Eau Claire, do living history presentations in five historical time periods, including the Civil War.

Walters is an expert in Civil War artillery and will be setting up a cannon and a mortar at the Colfax Fairgrounds.

Walters and the Lindvigs are members of a group called The Time Travelers Club.

Although the Civil War (1861 to 1865) was not fought in Wisconsin, battles were being fought across the South in 1864 at the time the first settlers arrived in what would eventually become Colfax.

“Harold has a very nice display of the different types of Civil War projectiles, his uniform is correct, and his knowledge is extensive.  I believe he will be bringing a crew, so you can have a display of Civil War military.  He is also willing to fire the cannon if you wish — without a projectile, of course. It’s a big bang!” Chuck Lindvig said.

The Civil War living history display will be arriving in Colfax at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 18, to begin setting up at the fairgrounds.

Set-up, Lindvig said, takes about an hour and a half.

The Lindvigs are planning to camp overnight and will have their display set up until later in the afternoon on Saturday, July 19.

In honor of the Colfax Sesquicentennial, Walters will fire a blank charge from the cannon with a tentative schedule of noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

“The bang is loud, and it could rattle a few windows,” Lindvig said.

Although it is only one cannon, it will give people an idea of what it must have been like on a Civil War battlefield.

For their part of the living history presentation, the Lindvigs will be setting up a 10×12  wall tent and a 12×12 dining fly in front of the tent.

“We have been reenacting the mid-19th century since 1981. Our clothing is the correct material.  All clothing fasteners are correct. No zippers or plastic. And we like to actively engage the public when we do living history,” Lindvig said.

The Lindvigs have a variety of activities and artifacts available as part of their living history display.

Ellen Lindvig, for example, demonstrates making lace and then encourages visitors to give it a try.

“I like to have a table full of artifacts and engage folks by seeing how many objects they can identify, and in some cases use, such as flint-and-steel fire starting, or writing with a dip pen,” Lindvig explained.

“Ellen and I do five different time periods ranging from the French and Indian War, 1750s and up through and including World War I.  You ought to see Ellen run a WWI draft board,” he said.

The Lindvigs both have teaching degrees. Chuck Lindvig’s degree is in History, and Ellen Lindvig’s degree is in Elementary Education.

“We will have many things for kids to see and do, too,” Lindvig said.