‘Civil War of Cape Girardeau’ Documentary to Air Aug. 22 on WDKA



Aug. 16, 2004 – “The Civil War of Cape Girardeau,” a 60-minute documentary on the Civil War and its impact on the Southeast Missouri area, will air at noon Aug. 22 on WDKA, channel 49.

The documentary is the result of research done by Morley Swingle, Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney, during work on his book, The Gold of Cape Girardeau, published in 2002 by the Southeast Missouri State University Press. Dr. Jim Dufek, professor of mass communication at Southeast Missouri State, said Swingle approached him in late 2002, asking if the Department of Communication might be interested in producing a documentary, using the extensive research he had done.

Swingle wrote the script for the piece, and Dufek began work on the project in earnest in January 2003 as the supervising producer with the assistance of Brian Heisserer of Scott City, Mo., and Stefanie Dallavis and Brandon Mitchell, both of St. Louis, all students who have since graduated from Southeast. The group spent time at Kent Library on the Southeast campus and at the Cape Girardeau Public Library, searching for images of people, events and places to be included in the video. Their work also took them to a Civil War reenactment, where they shot battle footage now incorporated into the piece. Dr. Frank Nickell, director of the Center for Regional History at Southeast Missouri State University, provides commentary and perspective during the documentary, and other students assisted with their voice, reading letters and passages included in the documentary. 

The documentary is reminiscent of producer Ken Burns documentaries aired in recent year on PBS, although Dufek modestly shuns any comparison. “The Civil War of Cape Girardeau” also will air in the coming months on cable channel 5, the City of Cape Girardeau’s public access station.