To the editor,
There are many reasons to view the Pella Historical Society’s Civil War exhibit at the Scholte House. First of all, it represents the collaboration of Society members with a first-class scholar, Dr. Ron Rietveld, who specializes in both the Civil War and also the life of Pella’s founder, H. P. Scholte. Many of the artifacts on display are from Dr. Rietveld’s own collection. It also does an uncommonly successful job of conveying the human cost of the War right here in Iowa.
Among many worthwhile topics documented by the artifacts, documents, and photos, I would like to call attention to two.
The Ruckman brothers from nearby Red Rock are among the recruits from Central College who perished in the War. The Ruckman display includes copies and transcriptions of documents, photos, and a heart-rending audio report. For those who wish to pause and delve a bit deeper into this episode in our history, there is a handy booklet at the display station containing copies of the surviving documentation.
At another station is the typescript of William H. Allen’s harrowing experiences in the notorious prison at Andersonville, GA (now a National Historic Site). More than 12,000 of approximately 45,000 Union prisoners held at the camp died of disease, malnutrition, physical abuse and execution.
The exhibit runs through October 30.