This weekend we were honored to participate in a tombstone rededication ceremony at Forest Lawn Cemetery for Medal of Honor recipient Charles Orr. He earned the Medal of Honor at the battle of Hatcher's Run, VA on October 27, 1864 for rescuing several wounded and helpless comrades while under enemy fire. He is a true American Hero. See the gallery "Forest Lawn - Orr Tombstone" for more images from the event.
The Hull House located at the intersection of Genesee Street and Pavement Road in the town of Lancaster is the oldest stone dwelling in Erie County, New York. It was built in 1810 by Warren Hull for his family. It is a unique piece of local history. The Farmstead includes the house and a barn, animal pens and the family cemetery which resides deep in the woods.
The Hull House Foundation sponsored a Civil War Twilight Tour which had visitors escorted through the house and grounds by candlelight. The grounds were illuminated by lanterns and several stops along the path showcased events from that time in history.
The historical incident that our group was part of involved a young William McKinley bringing rations to his famished troops. He was commander of the 23rd Ohio Infantry who's men were exhausted and hungry after days of heavy fighting during the Battle of Antietam. "Billy" McKinley risked his life to bring his men rations consisting of coffee and hardtack (crackers).
See the "Hull House" gallery for more images.
The Little Red Schoolhouse in Lancaster hosted a living history event which showcased displays and demonstrations of what life was like back in the time of the American Civil War.
Sounds of fife and drum filled the air!
A Confederate Artillery Battalion demonstrated what everyday life was like for a Rebel soldier including rifle firing and how to load the mortar unit.
A Union Surgeon showed spectators the crude medical instruments of the time including a bullet probe and bone saw. Discussions included common soldier illnesses and ailments including Scurvy and malnutrition, Dysentery, and infections, Gangrene and amputation.
Union Engineers discussed the importance of road-building, field obstacles, mapping and surveying and how each of effected the life of the infantry soldier especially in combat scenarios. Loading and firing the Enfield Rifle was shown.
There was a bayonet drill and talk of the design and effectiveness of the bayonet as a deadly and gruesome weapon.
President Lincoln, Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General Robert E. Lee were present as well.
From the "History | Town of Lancaster website" - The “little red schoolhouse” on Bowen Road and William Street was constructed in 1868. The one room schoolhouse was built of locally-made brick and was heated by a pot-bellied stove in the center of the room. Each desk has its own ink bottle hole. The school was in operation until 1948. A fire in 1968 destroyed the roof and building interior. With a goal of restoring the building and preserving its history, the Lancaster Historical Society was formed in 1973. Work was completed in 1978 and the school continues to be open to the public to date.
See the "Little Red Schoolhouse" gallery for more images.
Forest Lawn Cemetery - Company A Engineers along with several other Civil War reenactor groups were privileged to participate in an event to honor the legacy of General Daniel Bidwell and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his death. A Buffalo native, General Bidwell led the 49th New York Infantry and saw action in a number of key Civil War battles, including Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Chancelorsville, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.
On October 19, 1864 during the Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, General Bidwell was mortally wounded. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery. A statue in this honor is located at Colonial Circle in Buffalo.
See "General Bidwell" gallery for more images from the event.
Historically railroads have been very important during war time. Whoever controls the rail can move troops and supplies around as needed. If you're unfortunate enough to be on the other side it's much more difficult to get food to starving soldiers and reinforcements, equipment and munitions where they are needed quickly.
Last weekend the Attica/Arcade Railroad hosted The Civil War Days Event in which Union and Confederate troops battled for control of the rail line. There were Union and Confederate camps where visitors could mingle and see what life was like for soldiers in the field. The event started with a parade of the participants to the rail station.
Initially Union troops guarded the train as passengers boarded for an hour ride full of interaction between soldiers and passengers and music provided by a squeezebox player and a guitarist. Passengers were able to move car to car during the route and were encouraged to visit the snack car and the open car where the prisoners were being held. Soldiers were responsible for security questioning passengers, checking the contents of ladies' bags and arresting several Rebel sympathizers along the way.
During the trip the train made a brief stop as a battle had broken out near the Union encampment and was raging by the time we came upon it. Soldiers fired from the train to keep passengers safe from the threat from the would-be boarders. As the train moved on, Confederate soldiers fired upon the train from a grassy field but were unsuccessful in getting the train to stop.
Reaching the end of the line provided visitors with a chance to visit with soldiers, railroad engineers and grab a bite to eat. It didn't take long, however, before the Rebels attacked the station from three sides and took control of the train. Union troops fought bravely but were overrun. The surprise attack was a success for the Confederates. Union casualties lay throughout the field and station grounds as the Rebels boarded the train for the return trip with a few Union prisoners.
Eventually the Union forces would take back the train although we did not stay for this portion of the event.
This was one of my favorite reenactment events so far. Highly recommended!
See the gallery "Railroad Skirmish" for more images...
What a perfect night!
We were proud to share this special night with our good friends Megan and Luke as they celebrated their love and began their new life together as husband and wife. There was much fun to be had and some silliness as well which I hope comes through in the images. Precious moments shared with great people!
My son and the other members of his Civil War reenactment regiment were honored to be part of the ceremony. Megan and Luke are loved members of the Company A US Engineers Battalion.
Thank you for including us in your special day!
See the gallery "Eames Wedding" for more images...
Just fooling around with a piece of glass, some water and a single off-camera flash. Thanks Jeri for saving the flower for me! Hope you enjoy!
Spent a relaxing week at Conesus Lake.
A few photos of things starting to bloom around the Buffalo Historical Society. Images are in the "Historical Society - Spring" gallery.
Attended an event in Erie, PA on Father's Day to dedicate a Veteran's Memorial Marker for a Civil War soldier who was killed in action.
Private Frank J. Krug, Co. G., 53rd PVI
Private Frank Krug, a 21-year member of the 53rd Pennsylvania Infantry, was killed in action on May 12, 1864 at the Battle of Spotsylvania, during the horrific 22-hour struggle at the Bloody Angle. This is regarded as some of the most horrific fighting of the war. His death was documented, but in the chaos of the battle's aftermath his final resting place was never identified. It is believed his remains lie in one of the mass graves of unknown soldiers at Fredericksburg National Cemetery.
150 years after his death, the U.S. Dept. of Veteran's Affairs has provided an "In Memory Of" marker which has been installed at Trinity Cemetery in Erie, PA next to the graves of his sister and other family members.
It was an honor to attend this dedication ceremony for a soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice and to celebrate as his family finally "brought him home". The event was well-attended by fellow re-enactors and friends.
Prayers were offered and the gravestone was blessed with Holy Water. A certificate signed by Barack Obama recognizing Frank's sacrifice was given to the family. President Abraham Lincoln recited "The Gettysburg Address".
Tom Schobert, a relative of the deceased had traveled to the location where Frank Krug was killed in action and collected soil from the site to return to the Erie gravesite. He believed that blood was still in the soil and by carrying a sample of this dirt back with him, was as close as he could come to bringing his relative's remains home to lie with his family members for all eternity. The traditional 21-gun salute was offered as well and "Taps" was played on the bugle.
It was a very moving event.
More images are in the gallery "Veteran's Memorial Marker - Krug".
Yesterday Company A Engineers attended a Civil War Camp in Springville, New York as part of the WNY Dairy and Agricultural Festival. There were many events throughout the day which included a parade, games and rides and a Civil War camp. There was a blacksmith and Company A demonstrated loading and firing the Enfield rifle and the art of map-making. There was a short memorial service followed by a 21 gun salute. Re-enactors were camped throughout the main town circle. The BBQ chicken was especially delicious as well! See the "Springville Civil War Event" gallery for more images of the day's events.
The first Civil War encampment of the season was in Medina, New York.
The weekend was filled with constant rain and cold temperatures but these conditions did not dampen the spirits of the re-enactors or the visitors to the camp.
Events included a parade through downtown Medina to a cemetery a mile away for dedication ceremonies with President Lincoln, breakfast with Generals Grant and Lee, demonstrations on camp life, two battles including artillery batteries, cavalry, and infantry, and Civil War era medicine including a wounded soldier's leg amputation. There was hot food provided by the GCC college staff and food vendors.
It was a tough first-outing of the season but much fun was had by all.
Please visit the gallery "Medina Reenactment 2014" to view images of the event.
Memorial Day remembrance ceremonies were held on Saturday at Concordia Cemetery and on Sunday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo. Several Civil War Union reenactment groups participated in the events to honor those who gave their lives for their Country. We were honored to be part of these important events.
Please honor those soldiers by visiting the galleries - "Memorial Day - Concordia Cemetery" and "Memorial Day - Forest Lawn Cemetery" and taking a moment to remember that freedom is not "free".
Spring is here and the Civil War re-eanctors are gearing up for a busy season including trips to Gettysburg and Manassas. Company A Engineers began this season with activities at the event in Medina, NY. Over the course of the event it was cold and rainy causing conditions to be less than ideal with standing water throughout the camps. The lousy weather did not dampen the spirits of the participants and there was a good turnout for the battle. Here's a photo of the Battalion with more to come.
Sorry it's been a while since I've posted anything to this blog but I've been extremely busy. I will be posting again on a regular basis shortly. Please stay tuned...
What more could boys ask for than to get a chance to fire a gun? An opportunity to learn how to load and fire a replica of a historical weapon. The Company A US Battalion of Engineers did just that during a recent training day exercise. Captain Ray Ball bravely and safely instructed the recruits by running them through loading, reloading and firing exercises with the Enfield Rifle. It takes skill and attention to detail to load the muzzle-loader weapon. As Captain Ball says, "There's nothing like the taste of gunpowder in the morning!" See "Company A Training Day" gallery for more images.
Just a photo of our female cat, Oreo.
I went to see a friend's band last night. The band is called "New York Minute". They play a wide variety of music from 60's to recent, pop, country and everything in between. They play a very diverse set list and are a joy to watch. Very talented musicians from WNY. I highly recommend going to see them play live! Here are some images from the show.
Noah and I took the opportunity to get close to my favorite grain elevator to try and get some interesting images from the water while it's frozen. We saw several ice fishing huts and it's been VERY cold over the past few weeks. We walked up very close the nearest barge and I set up my tripod to take a panorama when we heard a VERY LOUD CRACK, which sounded like a gunshot. At first we thought the barge had struck against the rocks but then realized that the ice had cracked beneath our feet! We quickly made our way along the shoreline back to the rocks that we had climbed down from. YIKES!! I'm not sure how much of a close call that was, but our hearts we're pounding when we reached safety. Then we both laughed out loud about our adventure and good fortune. Here's a hand-held sweep panorama I took - this one from shore...
I love going to Niagara Falls to take pictures during the winter. It's so quiet and serene and there are very few people around. The ice can make for some beautiful images. The thermometer read 12 degrees, but I can honestly say that after about twenty minutes outside I was FROZEN to the bone! Here's a couple from the other day...