Monday, July 16, 2012

The Adirondacks Go To War: 1861-1865

Adirondacks in the Civil WarOne hundred fifty years ago this country was torn apart by a great civil war. The Adirondack Museum will host a weekend dedicated to remembering the Civil War in the Adirondacks, the men who fought it and their loved ones at home, this Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22.  Visitors will be able to meet the members of the 118th Volunteer Infantry (the “Adirondack” Regiment”) and President Lincoln at a Civil War Encampment and learn the fate of Adirondack Civil War soldiers of the 118th themselves at a specially produced  presentation by author Glenn Pearsall on Saturday (7:00 p.m.) entitled “The Adirondacks Go To War: 1861 – 1865.”

In the Adirondacks many young men, boys really, left their hard scrabble farms and small towns for the first time in their lives to enlist. Learn what their thoughts were as they marched off to war and how they reacted to the horrors of war. Hear what it was like for the wives, children, mothers and father that they left behind, as well as the lasting impact of the war on the small towns in the Adirondacks following the war.

Pearsall spent two years researching the Civil War veterans from Johnsburg in the southeastern Adirondacks before preparing this special program based on letters and journals (which will be read by a Civil War re-enactors in uniform). The presentation will also include over 100 historic photographs of soldiers and battlefield scenes. “Each member of the audience will be given a name of a soldier from the Adirondacks who fought in the war and will ultimately find out if they survived the war,”  he told the Almanack.

Pearsall’s presentation will focus on men serving with the 22nd New York (one of the first to respond to President Lincoln’s call to arms and recruited in Warren and Saratoga Counties), the 93rd (recruited from Essex, Fulton, Hamilton and Warren Counties who suffered horrific losses in the contest between U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee), the 96th or “Plattsburgh Regiment” (recruited primarily from Clinton County), the 115th (recruited from Hamilton and Fulton Counties) and the 118th or “Adirondack Regiment” (recruited from Clinton, Essex and Warren Counties, the first regiment to enter the Confederate capital in Richmond on its fall). Pearsall will also explain a special Adirondack link to the capture of John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.

The “Adirondack Regiment” will also be the focus of the weekend-long encampment at the Museum.  Mustered into service in August 1862, over one thousand North Country men served in the unit. Re-enactors will camp at the museum and share stories of camp life, and what it was like to be a soldier in the Civil War. Visitors will learn about the 118th assignments and movements, the battles they fought in, and the historic moment when General Robert E. Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Court House.

President Lincoln will be portrayed by John R. Baylis, who has appeared as the 16th President of the United States at Gettysburg, Antietam, Cedar Creek, Ottawa, and as far south as Key West.

Pearsall’s presentation will be held in the Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. The program will be offered at no charge to museum members; the fee for non-members is $5.00. For additional information, please visit www.adirondackmuseum.org or call (518) 352-7311.

Photo: A volunteer infantry soldier of the  118th “Adirondack Regiment” (circa 1863, courtesy Adirondack Museum). 

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at editor@adirondackalmanack.com.




2 Responses

  1. Bruce Robbins Sr. says:

    I am sorry I missed this presentation. Will you be doing it again? My Great Grand Father was part of the Adirondack Regiment and also a blacksmith in the Graphite mines in Graphite NY. I have a signed book by John L.Cunningham that was given to me by his Grand Daughter(Marion Brown) it is “3 years with the Adirondack Regiment”that I would loan to the museum if they would like.
    Thank you, Bruce Robbins

  2. Bruce Robbins Sr. says:

    As for your “Week Law Hurts Shorelines” I do agree. From large docks with lights all around them in little Lake Luzerne to boat houses built on Friends lake. From fences that extend into the water, bubblers that should not exist.Shorelines are altered, trees are taken down just for a view, if a tree falls in the water it is quickly removed, after all it doesn’t look good. All for the sake of “CAMP”.
    There was a time when we protected the Adirondacks but now we allow it to be exploited. Our local governments have fought the APA to no end and now it does little. My family has lived hear for 7 generations and it saddens me to see one of the last natural areas be ruined for generations to come. If our president changes you haven’t seen anything yet!