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Lake Land College commemorates sesquicentennial of Civil War with weaponry and innovation presentation

Throughout the month of March, Lake Land College has been commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War with a variety of presentations. 

This week, Jake Hortenstine, antique firearms collector, discussed pieces from his extensive Civil War weaponry collection. Hortenstine, who has repaired and restored firearms for over 50 years, reviewed the specific technological advancements in firearms that helped lead the Union to victory.

“Because of the lack of arsenals and factories to produce guns, the Confederate Army was at a tremendous disadvantage,” explained Hortenstine. “It was that good old Yankee ingenuity that brought about quick change in firearms during that time.”

Some of those quick changes include rifling in the barrel of the gun, which increased accuracy, multi-round shooting for repeated firing, and the onset of smaller firearms for portability. 

Hortenstine brought with him an assortment of Civil War era firearms including the 1816 Musket, the 1841 Mississippi Rifle, the Civil War Calvary Carbine, the Henry Repeating Rifle, and the Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver.  

“The Henry Repeating Rifle is the most sought after heirloom of the Civil War because only 1,731 of these were made and it was the first 16-shooter gun, which certainly contributed to the Union’s success in the war,” said Hortenstine. “To get one of these in good, original condition would cost a collector about $150,000.” 

The college is hosting two more presentations to commemorate the Civil War. “Patriotism, Sentimentality, Yearning, and Loss: The Songs of the Civil War” will be presented by Nancy Caldwell, Lake Land College music instructor on Thursday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. in Neal Hall, room 109. 

On Wednesday, March 27 join LLC history and GIS instructors Matt Greider and Mike Rudibaugh for “Scoping the North and South—Evaluating Pre-Civil War Assets for Union & Confederate War Making” in Northeast, room 103.

Also, until March 31, an exhibit from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum entitled, “To Kill and To Heal: Weapons and Medicine of the Civil War” will be on display at the Learning Resource Center. 

These events are free and open to the public. 

For more information, contact Emily Ramage at (217) 234-5403or eramage@lakeland.cc.il.us. 



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Megan Nelson
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Jenny Osborn
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