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During the American Civil War, a stretch of the Ohio River from Cairo to Mound City on the Illinois shore played a strategic role second only to the nation's capitol. From there, union land and naval forces launched campaigns to clear the Mississippi River of Confederate strongholds. The goal was simple -- split the Confederacy and open the river. As the war moved south, the river communities of Cairo and Mound City continued to play a major role in the war effort. In Mound City, sick and wounded soldiers arrived from the battlefields for treatment and recovery in St. Edwards Hospital. A short wagon ride outside of Mound City was a small cemetery known originally as the Soldier's Cemetery. Eventually, the government would purchase the burial site and rename it the Mound City National Cemetery. Within four years, thousands of Union soldiers and sailors would be buried there. Today, everything associated with the region's Civil War past has disappeared -- except for the cemetery.
Quiet Acres: The Story of the Mound City National Cemetery recounts the Civil War heritage of Southern Illinois and how the tranquil and well-manicured burial site offers a visual testament of that history. The program features interviews with historians John Y. Simon, P. Michael Jones of the General John A. Logan Museum, and Terri Kionka whose book Key Command, U.S. Grant's District of Cairo offers a new perspective on the Civil War in Cairo. It also features excerpts from journals, newspapers, and other sources located at the National Archives to help tell the story about the cemetery and its historic beginnings. Also interviewed are local citizens who revere the site because it honors the lives of so many of their friends and family members buried there.
Quiet Acres was produced by the Mound City National Cemetery Preservation Commission, which was created more than a decade ago to save the Caretaker's Lodge located at the cemetery. The building has since been remodeled and houses a historical display. Richard Kuenneke of Oakview Road Media in Carbondale, Illinois wrote and directed the documentary.
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