War of 1812 at Villa Louis this weekend

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After formally surrendering to the British, the American troops vacated the premises of Fort Shelby in Prairie du Chien, leaving by boat for St. Louis. Shortly after marked the end of the War of 1812. The annual Battle of Prairie du Chien reenactment will be this weekend on the Villa Louis grounds, near where the original Fort Shelby once stood. (Courier Press file photo)

On July 13-14, the ground at the Villa Louis Historic Site will once again shake from the roar of cannons and rifle volley fire at the War of 1812: Battle of Prairie du Chien event.

“This annual event highlights an important turning point in Wisconsin’s history as the battle is re-enacted on the very grounds it took place on in 1814, over 200 years ago,” said Susan Caya-Slusser, southwest sites regional director for the Wisconsin Historical Society “Guests of all ages will be able to experience the true-to-life event through a variety of hands-on activities and re-creations.”

The event occurs on the beautifully landscaped grounds of the Villa Louis Mansion and guests will observe War of 1812 living history enthusiasts set up American and British-Canadian encampments on the west lawn.  Learn about the British assault on U.S. Fort Shelby in a battle scenario at 2:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.  This narrated battle re-enactment will also include rifle and cannon fire.  Following the battle, tour the camps, learn more about military life in 1814, and enjoy hands-on activities for all ages.

The Villa Louis Mansion will be open for tours throughout the event, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.  Admission is $15.00 for adults, $6.00 for children 5-17, and under four years are free. Tickets can also be purchased ahead of time here. 

In addition to the battle and the encampments, admission includes a tour of the Villa Louis mansion, gardens, grounds and the Fur Trade Museum.  For more information, call 608-326-2721 or visit www.villalouis.org.

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