Though this area now plays host to athletes and picnickers, it once served as a training ground for soldiers during the Civil War. The camp, which extended from the river to 7th Avenue, was where soldiers of the 8th and 17th cavalry regiments trained.
One local resident, John Farnsworth, played a particularly significant role in the establishment of both the regiments and the camp. He gained authorization from President Lincoln to form a volunteer cavalry regiment soon after the war began in 1861, and had no problem in fulfilling the 1,200 man quota. Approximately one in six men from St. Charles served in the regiments. Recruits also came from as far as Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan.
the period that the new recruits trained, they captured
the attention of many local residents. Children and adults
alike came to the camp and watched the men training and
drilling. On October 14, 1861, the regiments marched to
Geneva. There they took a train to Washington, D.C., where
they received their horses and joined the Army of the Potomac.
President Abraham Lincoln dubbed the 8th Cavalry "Farnsworth's
Big Abolition Regiment."
8th Regiment participated in the bloody battle of Gettysburg
in July 1863. The 17th Regiment fought in Kansas.
the war, men of the 8th Cavalry continued to serve their
country. In April 1865, they took part in the search for
Abraham Lincoln's assasin, John Wilkes Booth, and also guarded
the President's body.
a plaque, erected in Langum Park in 1982, commemorates the
significance of Camp Kane in both local and national history.
photographs, see these sources,
more fully described in the Bibliography.
Charles Illinois p 60, 61, 62, 63
St. Charles on Parade p 46, 47
Alice. The Settlement and Growth of St. Charles.
Ceremonies, Camp Kane. 13 June 1982.
Charles Historical Society Bus Tour of Historical Homes.
St. Charles: St. Charles Historical Society, 22 Oct. 1978.