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Civil War 17th Corps Field Hospital

March 24, 2015
Children / Family
Older Adults / Seniors
Young Adult
Advance Planning

Area libraries and the Illinois and Michigan Canal Corridor Association agreed to cooperate on programs highlighting the Civil War and/or Abraham Lincoln, during 2013. Peru chose a re-enactor program as our offering. We started planning around October 2012 for the event, which was hosted on February 23, 2013.   


We marketed to traditional outlets, such as the radio, newspapers, flyers and bookmarks. We also contacted area history teachers and re-enactors with information and an invitation to the event. (Personally reaching out to local history teachers and re-enactors was successful, as one re-enactor attended in full Civil War era uniform.) Internally, we ran a Civil War photo montage on our digital picture frame for about three weeks prior to the event. These photos were given to us by the 17th Corps Field Hospital. They also included information about the event on their website. 

Budget Details

The costs associated with this event were the 17th Corps Field Hospital's fee, printing and postage. We did not need to purchase ad space or have professional printing. 

Day-of-event Activity

The field hospital was created in our reading area, so the only set-up library staff needed to do was move chairs and the mobile book shelves. We also set up a display of books about the civil war.

Program Execution

 The program was wonderful. People dropped by on their own schedule to talk with re-enactors and most stayed the entire day. Just over 100 people officially attended (because of the open layout, we are not sure how many attendees were uncounted).

The surgeries were showstoppers. They amputated a leg for an audience of 50! The undertaker was also popular, but he did not embalm anyone, to the sorrow of many. All the feedback we received was positive and we met our goal to highlight Illinois's involvement in the Civil War.


My advice is to do it. A re-enactment is an enthusiastic and self-contained program.

Short Title
Civil War 17th Corps Field Hospital

The 17th Corps Field Hospital re-enactors recreated a Civil War field hospital inside the library. Patrons experienced a prototype Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit, browsing medical supplies of the era and visiting with an undertaker, pharmacist, nurses and surgeons. Several operations highlighted the day, including a re-enactment of an amputation.

Program Date
February 23, 2013
Slideshow Images
  • 17th Corps Field Hospital Banner
  • Civil War Medical Booths Set-up
  • Civil War Medicine
  • Surgery Booth
  • Field Amputation
  • Post Amputation - Patient Lived
  • Embalmer Booth
  • Long View of Civil War Exhibit Space
  • Long View of Civil War Exhibit Space 2

Peru Public Library patrons visited with an undertaker and field nurse, browsed Civil War medical supplies, and watched an amputation.