The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Larry Werline and Paul Wood have been portraying Generals U.S. Grant and R.E. Lee respectively together for nearly 14 years.
They attend reenactments together, perform at museums, libraries and schools and are sometimes joined by others who do first person Civil War generals and major characters such as William Sherman, General George Armstrong Custer, JEB Stuart, among others. Both spent several years prior to that as Civil War reenactors in Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery.
Each retired from "real work" recently to pursue their passion for history and their characters. They believe it is most important to teach history as first person to bring alive the time and characters of this important time in the history of our country. Paul was a sales manager and Larry an educational consultant for major corporations, but they are now de facto history teachers. Paul resides in Wheaton, IL and Larry in Springfield, IL.
Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher, said, "This is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, so I thought it would be important to bring to life the two major Generals of the Civil War to inspire our students at West Central and La Harpe of our U.S. History." Rodeffer, is a member of the Southeast Iowa Civil War Roundtable of Burlington, Iowa.
"I was inspired with the work reenactors do after the first Heritage Trails Days took place in Henderson County and encampments were set up in Oquawka. From there I attended the Keokuk, Iowa reenactment with my grandson Drew Postle and we were very inspired by the details and work that was put into the presentation of the Battle of Pea Ridge at Rand Park.
"Last year, I was again at the Keokuk reenactment as a reporter but "disguised" as a Civil War woman. I was introduced to General Grant (Larry Werline) and began quizzing him about rumors of his heavy drinking in Vicksburg and of his disgruntled soldiers at his charge when he delayed charging into battle there, and I asked him about the newspaper man who President Lincoln had sent to spy on him after the continued rumors Lincoln received of him (Grant)."
"The General (Werline) just looked up at me with disgust , not knowing I was a newspaper reporter, and said, "Those darn newspapers never get anything right!'
"As for the newspaperman sent as a spy, he said, "I knew he was a spy. Everyone knew it!' So, Grant set him up in a tent next to him and let him in on all the meetings he held so he would return to Washington and report to Lincoln better news. He became one of his best supporters."
"I guess it's true, you keep your friends close, but your enemies closer," Rodeffer said. Rodeffer is hoping students will enjoy the presentations and be inspired and will ask some good questions of the two famous Generals Lee and Grant.
Werline who portrays Grant said, "This is a re-enactment of characters rather than of the war. People are usually shocked by the resemblance." He said, "We bring these characters to life. That's the rewarding part of it, when people say, "Wow, that was great; it's like I was really with the generals."
The Quill would like to thank all the generous sponsors who eagerly gave to pay the expenses for this event. They are:
Presentation Schedule: Open To The Public
FRIDAY, MARCH 14:
9:30 A.M. - LA HARPE SCHOOL GYMNASIUM
1:00 P.M. - WEST CENTRAL MIDDLE SCHOOL GYMNASIUM
2:20 P.M. - WEST CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM
SATURDAY, MARCH 15:
SOUTHEAST IOWA CIVIL WAR ROUNDTABLE
7:00 P.M. - PRESENTATION COMMUNITY OF CHRIST CHURCH
Locust & 901 S. 12th St., Burlington, Iowa.
(Locust Street is off South Main, opposite of the entrance of The Hawk Eye newspaper. Turn west uphill on Locust for 10 blocks and the church is on the left on 12th Street.