An estimated 200 people were treated to a viewing of the finished documentary of “The Civil War Battle of Newtonia (Mo.),” held Saturday at Downstream Casino and Resort.


An estimated 200 people were treated to a viewing of the finished documentary of “The Civil War Battle of Newtonia (Mo.),” held Saturday at Downstream Casino and Resort.

The audience included members of the Newtonia Battlefields Protection Association, Newton County Tourism Council, numerous Civil War re-enactors, members of Wannenmacher Advertising of Springfield, Quapaw tribe members, and civic leaders.

The documentary was written and produced by Paul Wannenmacher of Wannenmacher Advertising, and dealt with the Sept. 30, 1862, battle of Newtonia. The Sept. 30 1862 battle saw an unprecedented number of Native American units fight on both sides.

“The documentary really starts by helping to set up the Civil War in the Ozarks,” said Wannenmacher. “I felt it very necessary to tell the history, which would include the Missouri history into what happened in Carthage, Springfield and Pea Ridge, Ark.”

The nearly 30-minute documentary – which will air on PBS stations 8:30 p.m. Thursday – included numerous historical photographs, Civil War maps, re-enactors fighting, and scenes from around Newtonia – including the famous hospital room called the black room, where surgeries were performed in the Ritchey Mansion.

“We had more than 200 hours just in editing,” Wannenmacher said. “That doesn’t include any of the videotaping, research. We were fortunate to have so many people that were willing to help and I would like to thank all of those individuals.”

The end of the documentary dealt with Newtonia’s second battle, Oct. 28, 1864.

The Quapaw Nation and Downstream Casino presented a $40,000 check to the Newton County Tourism Council in December 2009 to fund the documentary. John Berrey, the tribe’s chairman, spoke to the audience prior to the viewing.

“History is very important to Americans, it is the framework and the threads that define all of our lives together,” he said.

After the viewing of the documentary, a re-enactor, David Jackson of Oklahoma, commented on it.

“It was interesting, factual, there were a lot of things that I did not know. I thought that it was really good,” Jackson said.

Another re-enactor was Jim Robinson, a member of a Union Howitzer (cannon) crew.

“I think that it is a good representation of the history of the battle and it kind of shows what the area went through at that time,” said Robinson. “I think that they did a pretty good job with it.”

Newtonia Mayor George Philliber was also impressed with the documentary and how it was a tribute to the town.

“I am honored to see it, I thought that it was done real well,” he noted. “It was a real tribute to the town to have it reproduced in Newtonia.”

One of Philliber’s favorite scenes was the night scene, where troops carried torches inside Newtonia.

“I had the opportunity to watch them film that,” Philliber said.

NCTC’s president Steve Roark said the response they have received has just been incredible.

Larry James, president of the battlefields protection association, commented that he liked the way “that it tied all together, the whole history what went on before the battle of Newtonia in 1862.”

History
During the Civil War, Newtonia saw two battles. The first battle – which is depicted in the documentary – occurred on Sept. 30 1862. An unprecedented number of Native American units fought on both sides. The second battle, on Oct. 28, 1864, was the last one fought in Missouri, a state that had more Civil War clashes than any other beside Virginia and Tennessee. Approximately 350 soldiers were either killed or wounded in 1862, and 650 casualties were reported in the 1864 battle.