A Very Civil Gathering in Chicago

A replica 19th century Gatling Gun guarded the entrance of the DuPage County Fairgrounds for the Chicagoland's National Civil War & Military Extravaganza.

A replica 19th century Gatling Gun guarded the entrance of the DuPage County Fairgrounds for the Chicagoland’s National Civil War & Military Extravaganza.

By Peter Suciu

This year is notable for many milestones – the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. April 9 marked the 150th anniversary of General Lee’s surrender to General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, so it was fitting that just a week later Zurko’s Midwest Promotions held its one day Chicagoland’s National Civil War & Military Extravaganza at the DuPage County Fairgrounds.

The 100+ tables featured a 70 percent split of Civil War through Spanish American War items, and for collectors of this era it was a show that didn’t disappoint.

“We were totally sold out,” said Bob Zurko, promoter of the semi-annual event, who added that the show continued to be vetted for quality and authenticity and it was apparent in what was on display. “We’ve been doing this show for more than a decade and will do it as long as we can.”

Among some of the truly stand out items on display at the show was a 42mm Hotchkiss field gun, which was introduced as a modern replacement for the aging twelve-pound mountain howitzer. This particular gun was reportedly used at the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890, while the model Hotchkiss gun also saw use during the Spanish-American War – notably during the attack on San Juan Hill in Cuba.

Attendees could also take in headdress, uniforms and field gear from the Civil War through World War II. It was a special show, and Zurko reminded us that the next one will be held September 19th back at the DuPage County Fairgrounds.

Some highlights…

 

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Two Union re-enactors greeted those arriving for the show.

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A variety of 19th century headgear and some 21st century snacks to help get the dealer through the day.

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Old leather pouches are increasingly hard to find, but there were plenty to be found at the National Civil War show.

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A 42mm Hotchkiss field gun reportedly used at Wounded Knee.

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An example of soldier art on a World War II field jacket. The owner of this jacket showed his “Sea Bees” pride on his back.

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A very rare World War I American rain coat – a truly unique piece that is seldom seen outside museum.

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There was no shortage of old ordnance to be seen. This example includes a plethora of Civil War era shells and shot.

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Vintage headgear was on hand.

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A diverse collection of long guns was on hand for sale and trade at the show.

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The Chicagoland’s National Civil War & Military Extravaganza was well attended and had not an empty table in the hall.

 

 

 

 

 

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