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Troops to Reenact Camp Douglas for 140th Anniversary

October 17, 2002 — Just as they did in 1862, during the heat of the Civil War, Union troops will set up an encampment at Fort Douglas and prepare to replace Federal troops recalled to the East. The reenactment takes place Saturday, October 26 as part of the 140th anniversary commemoration of the founding of Camp Douglas, later to become Fort Douglas.

Activities begin at 9 a.m. and will include the living history Civil War encampment on the grounds of the fort, Gatling gun demonstrations, a lecture symposium on “Utah and the Military,” tours of the historic buildings, vintage vehicles, films, and a retreat parade.

Events will culminate with dinner and dancing at the Officers Club. The dinner program will feature noted historian Dr. Brigham Madsen speaking on “Patrick E. Conner, Father of Utah Mining.” The Utah National Guard’s 23rd Army Band will be playing Glen Miller era dance music from the 40’s.

Fort Douglas, located on the University of Utah campus, was named in honor of Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The 3rd California Volunteers under the command of Colonel Patrick E. Conner established it October 26, 1862. The troops were ordered to Utah Territory to guard the overland mail route and telegraph lines and assert federal authority in the area.

The public is invited to attend all events surrounding the celebration of the fort’s birthday. Most featured demonstrations and performances are free of charge, including the encampment, viewing the military vehicles, Gatling gun demonstrations and self guided tours of the historic buildings. The lecture symposium costs $10 for an all day pass and will feature presentations by amateur and professional historians. The prime rib dinner and dance costs $30 a seat.