Each day, the Civil War’s sound, images and cultural impact continue to haunt and enchant area residents, said one local history expert.
Proof of that part of American history’s popularity will be on display during the third annual Drennen-Scott Historic Site’s Civil War Events, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the site, 221 N. Third St. in Van Buren, said Tom Wing, director of the Drennen-Scott Historic Site.
Weapons demonstrations, historical stories and other living-history displays will entertain and educate those who attend the free, all-ages event, he said.
“This year, we are having this event as part of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and we’re hoping our event brings attention to the Drennen-Scott Historic Site,” said Wing, who also is a history professor at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. “We want to show that the Drennen-Scott home had a part in the Civil War.
“We have evidence now that federal troops were at the Drennen-Scott Historic Site during the Civil War,” he added. “We’ve dug up buttons and other pieces of evidence that show this, and that’s exciting. It shows that the Drennen-Scott house was right in the middle of the skirmish.”
The event will include the firing of a cannon and a demonstration of a reproduction of a three-inch ordinance rifle, Wing said. That type of rifle was used by the Union Army throughout the Civil War, he said.
“With the cannon, we’ll be firing blanks, naturally, and we’ll have an infantry program that talks about small arms and muskets,” Wing said.
In addition to the weapon displays, the event will focus on how civilian life was during 1862, he said. Following the Battle of Prairie Grove in northwest Arkansas in December 1862, Union soldiers entered the Crawford County area, forcing Confederate soldiers to take cover in Fort Smith, Wing said.
“The Drennen-Scott house was a witness to these events as they happened,” he said.
Wing also will make a presentation, “A Rapid Lapse to Barbarism: The Civil War in Crawford County and Western Arkansas,” at the site.
“For the first year we did this, we had about 500 people show up, so we’re hoping for good weather and a good crowd for this year’s event,” he said.
The activities were designed to attract history buffs and those who are new to area history to the site, which dates back to the 1800s and was acquired by UAFS in 2005, Wing said. The house was purchased from fifth-generation descendants of the home’s original owners, John Drennen and Charles Scott. Those descendants are Scott Bulloch of Van Buren, Caroline Bercher of Lavaca and Drenne Bulloch of Little Rock.
“We have people who won’t go to any other events at the Drennen-Scott Historic Site, but they are such Civil War buffs that they always come to this event,” Wing said. “The Civil War is an unbelievably popular topic. There’s a lot of interest here in the Civil War and its impact on Crawford County and the Fort Smith area.”