In The News

Sycamore history program explores Civil War music

This article appeared in The Midweek

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore History Museum will present a program of Civil War music on Wednesday, July 23.

Nancy Caldwell, a music instructor at Lake Land College and a member of the Illinois Humanities Council’s Road Scholars Speakers Program, will present “A Soundtrack for Wartime: Songs of the Civil War” at 7 p.m. Those who attend will hear examples of Civil War songs, and Caldwell will discuss their specific appeal to Americans during the war and beyond. The program will be held at the Sycamore History Museum, 1730 N. Main St., Sycamore, at the Engh Farm.

Caldwell will address how generals, soldiers in the field, and spouses and children at home were affected by the Civil War. The scars this war left behind were deep, and music was an important emotional outlet for all. Songs rallied the troops, passed the time for encamped soldiers, captured the drama of military campaigns, and created a feeling of inclusion for soldiers and their families at home.

This program is offered in conjunction with the Sycamore History Museum’s current exhibit, “General Dutton’s America,” a look at Sycamore through its early settlement, the Civil War, and the Gilded Age, all told in the words of Sycamore’s Civil War general, E.F. Dutton.

“This talk will be a great way to think about the Civil War in a new way,” history museum executive director Michelle Donahoe said. “Gen. Dutton was a musician, and this talk will help us better understand why music was such an important part of his life.”

This program is free and open to the public, and donations are welcome. For more information, call 815-895-5762 or