Huge Civil War Road Show comes to Ephrata library

By on September 7, 2011

By: ANDREA GILLHOOLLEY Review Correspondent, Staff Writer



The Civil War will come to life at the Ephrata Public Library, Sept. 17-19. (Review file photo)The Civil War will come to life at the Ephrata Public Library, Sept. 17-19. (Review file photo)

How many men fought in the Civil War? Where did the first battle take place? How many men died in the war?

If you don’t know the answers, the Ephrata Public Library will help you brush up on your American history.

The library will host the traveling Civil War Road Show Sept. 17-19 enriched with re-enactments, lectures and book discussions and author signings to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the war and highlight Pennsylvania’s history in it.

"This is the largest event we’ve ever tried to pull off," said Ephrata Public Library Executive Director Penny Talbert, adding that she even rented a shuttle for patrons and will be serving food. "We are very lucky. The borough is really excited about getting it. They’ve been helpful as far as us getting what we needed so we can handle such a large event coming to Ephrata."

The program began with a small grant awarded to the library and the Historical Society of the Cocalico Valley for the program to be held over three days, but, Talbert says, other grants were received from the Pennsylvania Heritage Society and Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and the history society received a cultural arts grant from the borough to actually help turn it into a month-long event.

The road show itself is a museum that expands out of a tractor trailer and will be on display from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day on library grounds. The show will feature hands-on, interactive displays to tell stories, from the original "3-D experience" of stereoscopes, to the voices of individual Pennsylvanians, to the scenes of camp and home life.

Coinciding with the road show is another national traveling exhibit that will be featured at the library through Oct. 1 in the lobby.

"Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war — the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties. It was developed by the National Constitution Center, the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Many Civil War organizations, such as The Lancaster Fencibles, 1st North Carolina Artillery, Battery C, Patriot Daughters of Lancaster, Pennsylvania Past Players and the Lancaster Civil War Roundtable, will be on hand throughout the weekend educating patrons about aspects of the war.

"I hope they will take away a desire to learn more," said Mickey Kraft, president and program coordinator of Lancaster Civil War Roundtable, of patrons visiting the road show. "It’s so important to know American history. There’s that saying ‘If you don’t know the past you’re condemned to repeat it.’ And it’s so, so true. Too many people ignore American history and they should be studying it and being very proud of where they came from."

Kraft knows where she came from. Originally from West Virginia, she grew up in a small down just eight miles away from the birthplace of Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Four of her own ancestors fought in the Civil War, and one, a cousin, Gen. Carnot Posey of Mississippi, died in November 1863 when he was hit by shrapnel.

Kraft, among others from the roundtable organization, look forward to talking to people about the 16-year-old Lancaster organization that often features speakers or offers fieldtrips. One of the re-enactors she is excited to hear is Patrick Falci, best known for his portrayal of Confederate General A. P. Hill in the film "Gettysburg."

During the filming of the movie, Patrick served as director Ron Maxwell’s historical advisor. He assisted casting director Joy Todd and the principal actors in preparing for their roles, advised music supervisor David Franco in his selection of period music, and, of course, portrayed Lt. General A.P. Hill.

"Everybody is going to put on a great presentation of some sort, so take advantage of it, Kraft said. " It’s free, so come on out."

The schedule of events includes:

?Meet General George G. Meade, Victor of the Battle of Gettysburg, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 6:30 p.m. Using Meade’s own words and extensive background research, Dr. Andy Waskie will bring Meade ‘back to life’ to speak of his career and services to the nation.

?Catherine F. Reynolds on John F. Reynolds: Courage, Honor, Sacrifice, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2 p.m. Join Arlene D. Harris, who speaks in the first person as Catherine F. Reynolds, the sister that John F. Reynolds was closest to throughout his life.

?The 1863 Gettysburg Civilians, Monday, Sept. 12, 6 p.m. While much is known about the Battle of Gettysburg, relatively little attention has been paid to the 2,400 civilians who were caught in the crossfire. They were mothers like Catherine Garlach, who sat in her basement armed with an ax. They were teenagers like Daniel Skelly, who climbed a tree to watch the battle and later saw Robert E. Lee ride down Middle Street on his way to a council of war. These people assisted Union soldiers, fed hungry rebels and protected their African American neighbors from capture. Dressed in Civil War-era garb, storyteller Patricia Anschuetz theatrically communicates the experiences of the 1863 Gettysburg civilians.

?"Unlikely Allies: Fort Delaware’s Prison Community in the Civil War" with author Bruce Mowday, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m. Fort Delaware had a reputation for being the "Andersonville of the North" before Bruce Mowday and co-author Dale Fetzer spent six years researching and writing their book on the Union’s prison located on Pea Patch Island in the middle of the Delaware River. More than 30,000 Confederate prisoners spent time at Fort Delaware. Many of the prisoners taken at Gettysburg were taken to Fort Delaware.

?Jeb Stuart’s Horse Artillery, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 6:30 p.m. Like the infantry, the cavalry arm of Civil War armies needed artillery to bolster its offensive and defensive capabilities, but not just any artillery would do. The artillery that rode with the cavalry would have to be highly mobile and capable of going places and fighting in ways that other artillery could not. Early in the war, Stuart recognized this need and took steps to form what became known as the Stuart Horse Artillery Battalion – one of the most celebrated of Civil War commands.

?Judith Giesberg, Author of "The Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front", Thursday, Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m. Judith Giesberg, an assistant professor of history at Villanova University, examines the lives of working-class women in the North. Black and white women managed farms that had been left without a male head of household, worked in munitions factories, made uniforms and located and cared for injured or dead soldiers. As they became more active in their new roles, women became visible as political actors, writing letters, signing petitions, moving – or refusing to move – from their homes and confronting civilian and military officials.

Official Opening of the Civil War Road Show with Senator Mike Brubaker, Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m.The Road Show features hands-on, interactive displays. Through a "Share Your Story" recording booth, visitors are invited to share their own Civil War-era family photographs, artifacts and other material and stories. These are then uploaded to the Pennsylvania Civil War 150 website, a public repository that grows as the Road Show travels the Commonwealth.

?Civil War Minstrel and His Lady, Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m. Jeff Trace dances with the Victorian Dance Ensemble where Jeff serves as one of the Dance Masters. He has taught music for over 35 years and loves to share his affection for music of the Civil War era with others.

?Civil War Tableaux, Saturday, Sept. 17, 11 a.m. The Civil War Explorers Post 1863, a group comprised of history enthusiasts of the Civil War, ages 14-20, will present a living history presentation. The tableau was a popular form of parlor entertainment and the highlight of many social events. It is a living picture composed of living persons that, when skillfully arranged, produces the effect of a real picture. Tableaux primarily depict famous historical events and paintings and are accompanied by a brief explanation.

?The Battle Between North and South with Patrick Falci, Saturday, Sept.17, 12:30 p.m.

?Demonstration by the Civil War Dance Foundation, Saturday, Sept. 17, 1:30 p.m. Members of The Civil War Dance Foundation, a group of living historians, will demonstrate various mid-nineteenth century dances.

?Susquehanna Travellers, Saturday, Sept. 17, 3 p.m. Susquehanna Travellers perform the music of 19th Century America, focusing on the Civil War era and Irish music. The musicians are Civil War re-enactors and members of the 87th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

?Ghosts of Gettysburg, Saturday, Sept. 17, 6 p.m. Join Johnny Reb and Billy Yank for an evening of ghost storytelling and exploration of strange phenomena connected with the Gettysburg Battlefield. Estimated casualties of 51,000 make Gettysburg one of the bloodiest battles on U.S. soil. Learn how the after effects of the massive slaughter still linger in the buildings and battlefields around Gettysburg. Recommended for adults. Children 12 and up may accompany family members.

?George Washington Sandoe, The First to Fall at Gettysburg, Sunday, Sept. 18, noon. Private George Washington Sandoe was the first Union soldier killed at Gettysburg. Private Sandoe emerged as one of over 20,000 Union casualties incurred during the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest battle ever on the North American continent. Debra Sandoe McCauslin, descended from George Washington Sandoe, tells the story of his life.

?The Battle of Gettysburg in Sight and Sound, Sunday, Sept. 18, 1 p.m. This is a multimedia program incorporating over 150 pieces of historic art work with music and sound effects to give the viewer an eye-popping look at the battle. The show is presented by Joseph E. Mieczkowski, a Civil War living historian and educator.

?General James Longstreet, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2 p.m. Come get to know General James Longstreet, as portrayed by Ronald Hawkins. Mr. Hawkins has portrayed General Longstreet in several Civil War-related episodes for the History Channel, Discovery Channel, A&E, as well as several documentaries.

?American Girl Tea Party, Monday, Sept. 19, 4 p.m. A Civil War Tea Party based on the life and times of American Girl, Addy Walker. Enjoy tea party food, play games of the period, make a craft from Civil War times, and hear stories from Addy’s life. Activities are planned for girls grades 2 through 5. Registration required.

?Underground Railroad in Lancaster County and Southeastern Pennsylvania, Monday, Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m. Randolph J. Harris has been doing work in the field of Underground Railroad research for quite some time. His efforts have yielded valuable results in the discovery, recognition, and ultimately the protection, of sites. These include recognition of Zercher’s Hotel as the only surviving historical site associated with the Christiana Rebellion and the Concord-Shreiner Cemetery, final resting place of Thaddeus Stevens. More CIVIL WAR, page A6

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