Peterboro Prepares for Annual Civil War Weekend


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CWW 2013 Grant & Aide CourtesyofRoberts cmrpPeterboro community organizations are finalizing program plans for the 22nd Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend on Saturday, June 14 from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday, June 15 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The educational event is also a fundraiser for the Smithfield Community Association, a not-for-profit that preserves and promotes historic sites in the Town of Smithfield.

The Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department barbeques chicken on Saturday and provides street security for the event that sprawls across the hamlet roadways. The Deli on the Green will be open extended hours to provide more food, drinks, and supplies. The Peterboro United Methodist church starts flipping pancakes for breakfast at 7 am on Sunday.

The Peterboro Area Museum is open both days and its president Beth Spokowsky and her sister Donna Burdick, Smithfield Town Historian, will be guiding the popular walking tour of the Hamlet of Peterboro at 12:30 both days. The Peterboro Mercantile, a community heritage shop, will be open at the Visitor Center and in a tent on the green.

The building sites at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark will be open with exhibits on the Underground Railroad, African-Americans in Peterboro and Gerrit Smith, an introductory video, and photo collections of the last two decades of Civil War Weekend. Exhibit panels from the NYS Museum exhibit The Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War arrived in Peterboro this week in time to join other exhibits at the Abolition Museum.

John Brown’s great great great granddaughter Alice Keesey Mecoy will speak at the museum at 11:30 on Saturday and Sunday, followed by Harriet Tubman’s great great grandniece reading about her Aunt Harriet during the Civil War.

The 12th Regiment, United States Infantry, Company A, and the Civil War Heritage Foundation will once again host the encampment on the green. These re-enactors live at the encampment for the entire weekend providing, and encouraging observations and questions as they go about their military and civilian days, scheduled programs, and a  two o’clock skirmish. The 12th will also provide a Reader’s Theatre session for Emmeline, a book about a young woman of the same name who lived in Gettysburg after the battle.

The 2014 Civil War Weekend programs pay particular attention to the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War highlighting Peterboro connections to 1864 war events. The Saturday Opening Ceremony brings attention to the beginning of Andersonville prison in 1864 and of the Battle of the Crater in July of that year. The action of local unit the 157th at Honey Hill will be described, as will the action of the 146th NYS Zoaves at the Battle of the Wilderness and the Siege at Petersburg.

Each afternoon the young, yet experienced, Fiddle De Divas will provide lively and sad music from the Civil War Era with a brief description of each selection. The weekend event ends with Taps following a program explaining the hamlet of Siloam’s connection to this military music. Children have the opportunity to play nineteenth century games and to participate in a children’s military drill.

Demonstrations, exhibits, and sales by historical organizations, Civil War Round Tables, crafters, sutlers and vendors provide more activities in a full day for adult admission of $8, child 6-12 $3, and free for under six. Sponsors help offset the expenses of the weekend. The event is an all-volunteer effort.

Persons interested in participating as volunteers, demonstrators,  or vendors call 315-280-8828. For more information: civilwarweekend.sca-peterboro.org, mail@sca-peterboro.org, 315-280-8828

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