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4/3/2013 8:00:00 AM
Presentation will focus on Northern Michigan's Civil War impact
Submitted to Harbor Light Newspaper

As the nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War this year, join Emmet County's "Essence of Emmet" group on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, for a special presentation about Michigan's role in this defining moment in American History.

The program, "Essence of Emmet: Northern Michigan's impact on the Civil War," is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Emmet County Fairgrounds' Community Building, on U.S. 31 in Petoskey.

Phil Porter, Director of the Mackinac State Historic Parks, and Eric Hemenway, Director of Repatriation, Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, will give historical presentations connecting Northern Michigan to the war.

Porter's presentation is titled "The Civil War at Mackinac." It will focus on the role of Fort Mackinac as a prison for Confederate prisoners during the summer of 1862, as well as the contribution of Mackinac Island residents who served in various Michigan volunteer units during the war.

Hemenway will discuss Company K, the largest all-Indian regiment in the Union Army east of the Mississippi River. Company K's members hailed from Michigan; it included 139 Michigan Anishnaabek from primarily the Lower Peninsula who fought in some of the most pivotal battles of the Civil War. Company K saw action at the siege of Petersburg, the battle of Wilderness and some men endured hardships at the infamous Rebel prison camp Andersonville. Odawa from Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix and Cross Village helped make up this historic unit of American Indian soldiers.

Emmet County staff will prepare "hardtack" food samples for event attendees. Hardtack is a simple type of cracker made from flour, water and sometimes salt. Inexpensive and long-lasting, it was used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods, commonly during wartime, including the Civil War.

The Essence of Emmet group is a collaborative of area historical entities and organizations who work together to promote the history of Northwest Lower Michigan. The group holds regular meetings and puts together numerous projects each year that feature unique facets of this area's rich historical past. For more information about the group or the program, call (231) 348-1704.

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