Lincoln Log Cabin U.S. Grant portrayer

Curt Fields of Collierville, Tenn., is scheduled to portray Ulysses S. Grant during the "Civil War Weekend" at Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site on Saturday and Sunday.

LERNA — Civil War icons Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant will be part of what's now being called a "signature event" at Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site.

The site's "Civil War Weekend" that's set to take place Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16, is similar to past Civil War events at the site but will have additional features and activities, site Manager Matthew Mittelstaedt said.

It will be the first time a Grant portrayer has been part of the event and also the first time a Lincoln portrayer has been on hand both days, Mittelstaedt said. He added that work took place to make the Civil War event larger so it will have a similar impact as the popular Harvest Frolic that takes place each fall.

"We really are looking at another signature event," Mittelstaedt said.

The event's schedule includes a variety of activities taking place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Portraying Grant will be Curt Fields of Collierville, Tenn., who said he performs as Grant during "all phases of his life."

At Lincoln Log Cabin, his schedule includes a presentation in the site's visitors center at 1 p.m. Sunday. Fields said that will be a reminiscence of Grant's time in Mattoon in 1861, then with the rank of captain and mustering soldiers for the war.

Fields also said his Grant character will make an appearance at a Civil War ball set to take place outside the visitors center at 6 p.m. Saturday that's open to public participation. He will be on hand during other activities on Sunday, as well.

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Meanwhile, Lincoln will appear as the 16th president, rather than the traveling attorney who visited his family years before the war at the historic site, home of his father and stepmother, Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln.

George Buss of Freeport, who has also brought his Lincoln portrayal to other local events over the years, is scheduled to appear during the event.

Activities will also include demonstrations by the 5th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry re-enactment group, combat "skirmishes" and historical presentations.

The schedule of events is as follows:


  • 10 a.m., mounted and dismounted drills, 5th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry
  • 11:30 a.m., skirmish at the Lincoln Farm
  • 1 p.m., "Illinois in the Civil War" presentation by Tom Emery of Carlinville
  • 2 p.m., “Haversacks, Saddles, and Sabers… Oh My! A Tour of Soldier Effects and Accouterments” presentation
  • 3 p.m., “Civil War Era Music” presented by the Salt Creek String Band
  • 5 p.m., “Civil War Medicine and Surgery” presented by Ruben Boyajian of Effingham
  • 6 p.m., Civil War ball, open to the public


  • 9 a.m., 19th Century church service
  • 10 a.m., mounted and dismounted drills, 5th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry
  • Noon, “Haversacks, Saddles, and Sabers… Oh My! A Tour of Soldier Effects and Accouterments” presentation
  • 1 p.m.," A Word from General Grant," visitors center auditorium
  • 3 p.m., skirmish at the Lincoln Farm

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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