Shelbyville Daily Union

Local News

March 25, 2014

Charleston to commemorate 1864 Riot

The city of Charleston is putting on the 150th commemoration of the “Charleston Riot Days” this weekend starting Friday, March 28-30 in the downtown Charleston square.

The event is in remembrance of a riot between union soldiers’ home on military leave and the people who were against the war in place at the time. These people were also known as copperheads.

Copperheads were democrats that were from the North, but they opposed the idea of the Civil War. They wanted peace with the southern states.

The riot actually took place on March 28, 1864, a time when the United States was divided by the Civil War. After the riot had settled there were nine dead and 12 wounded from the incident.

At the time, the people of Charleston were divided. The town had just over 3,000 people and was populated by a lot of migrating southerners from Kentucky mainly. With that said, it brought a lot of the South’s way of life to the north.

This started a buildup of what the riot became. Copperheads harassing union soldiers and union soldiers shoving copperheads to the ground forcing them to be on Lincoln’s side were just a few violent actions that took place.

On the day of the riot, there was a democratic rally in downtown Charleston. It attracted lots of copperheads and union soldiers to the location. The rally would eventually be cancelled due to the amount of tension there. Democrats asked people to go home but it was too late, the riot was set to happen at that point.

The activities for the 3-day event in Charleston include Civil War encampment, house tours, riot reenactment, music from different bands from the area and different food vendors.

The event is set to kick off at 3 p.m. on Friday with a wreath lying on the site of the Charleston Riot marker.

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