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Also, some info on a July 3rd event--just in time for the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg
As a rare prelude to the Gettysburg 145TH Anniversary Battle Reenactment, both visitors and local citizens will have an opportunity to experience a unique living history event in Gettysburg on Thursday July 3rd at 11AM along Baltimore Street and in front of the historic Adams County Courthouse. The 1,000+ civil war reenactor participants will have traveled 1,500 miles and two days from Texas making the pilgrimage to Gettysburg for the National 145TH anniversary celebration. Although the reenactors normally portray CSA General Hood’s Texas Division, on July 3rd they will change their colors and replicate Confederate Jubal Early’s pre-engagement forage march into Gettysburg which occurred on June 26, 1863.
On a rainy Friday afternoon in 1863, Confederate General Jubal Early and his division of 5,000 men approached Gettysburg on their way to support Lee’s pending northern invasion by cutting off the railroad at York and destroying the bridge across the Susquehanna at Wrightsville. The 2400 residents of Gettysburg were aware the Confederates were close by and had taken precautions by fleeing with or hiding merchandise, livestock and supplies. Attempts to raise militia for Pennsylvania’s defense were largely unsuccessful. Among the members of the 743 member 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia, were young men from Pennsylvania (Gettysburg) College and the Lutheran Theological Seminary. The Pennsylvania militia attempted futilely to defend Gettysburg, but were quickly overwhelmed and retreated toward Harrisburg. Early rode into Gettysburg and wrote a requisition for 1,200 pounds of sugar, 600 pounds of coffee, 60 barrels of flour, 1,000 pounds of salt, 7,000 pounds of bacon, 10 barrels of whiskey, 10 barrels of onions, 1,000 pairs of shoes, and 500 hats…..or, in lieu thereof, $5,000 cash. Following a meeting of borough council, President David Kendlehart composed his reply and sent it back with Constable John Burns as the town representative. In summation, the response stated that the supplies were far beyond that in the town’s possession and that the stores would be opened and the citizens would furnish whatever they could. Early’s men found that little had been left behind. They paid for some merchandise with Confederate money and took 2,000 army rations from a train intended for the militia. A Confederate band played Dixie in the square that night causing concern and annoying many residents. Before starting for York the next morning, Early paroled the members of the hapless 26th Pennsylvania Militia. This raid was a mild preview of the war that would come to Gettysburg one week later.
Last fall, Texas reenactors and local organizers met and agreed that Early’s March Into Gettysburg would provide a novel experience for the Texas participants after they had traveled several thousand miles to attend the reenactment. It was determined Early’s March would also add a new historic dimension to the reenactment, be an excellent prelude to Independence Day and be an historically appropriate and interesting community event. Event organizers put their heads together with local officials to figure out how all the parties could reasonably make it work.
The Texans will assemble and form for parade march at the Gettysburg Middle School complex at approximately 10AM on July 3rd. Their ranks will include infantry, cavalry, artillery and reenactors portraying civilians in period dress along Baltimore Street. At 10:45am, they will march north on Baltimore Street to the historic courthouse. The troops will form on Baltimore Street between High Street and the town square in review for the ceremony. General Early (Jack King) and his senior staff will ceremonially make demands and receive a drafted reply from the town officials. Visitors and community members are encouraged to view the March and ceremony. PA State Senator Terry Punt (portraying Senator Mc Sherry), Adams County President Judge John D. Kuhn (portraying Attorney David Wills) and Adams County Sheriff James Mueller (portraying Sheriff John Burns) are three public officials that have already agreed to participate in the historic ceremony at the courthouse. Participation by several other local officials is anticipated. After the ceremony the troops will then march via East Middle Street back to the middle school complex. Immediately following the ceremony there will be an event press conference with General King and his senior staff, “local elected officials”, Federal and overall event commander Allen Baldwin, and Confederate event commander Dave Cornett.
In addition to Early’s March Into Gettysburg on Thursday June 3rd, there will be six major battles and significant living history activities during the Independence Day weekend event on July 4, 5 & 6. Spectators will be thrilled with extensive pyrotechnics during all the major battles and particularly on Sunday during the massive Pickett’s Charge. The Gettysburg 145TH National Civil War Battle Reenactment is an all-day family event. It will stimulate the senses and make those dusty old history books come alive. Gates open at 8:30 each day. Complete event information and tickets are available at www.gettysburgreenactment/com or by calling the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee at 717-338-1525. Tickets should be ordered in advance as grandstand seating normally sells out prior to the event and tickets are priced higher at the gate. For information on accommodations and visiting Gettysburg, please contact the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-337-5015 or online at www.gettysburg.travel