Civil War To Come To Life At Fredericksburg And Spotsylvania Military Park - Labtor Day Weekend


Civil War To Come To Life At Fredericksburg And Spotsylvania Military Park
By National Park Traveler Staff

The smell of campfires and the sound of marching feet will once again fill the air at the Sunken Road and Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in Virginia on Labor Day weekend.

Civil War reenactors will be on hand to show the weapons, uniforms, and equipment carried by soldiers 157 years ago. You'll be able to watch as troops march in formation, and hear about the fighting techniques used by the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. There also will be camps set up so you can learn how the troops lived "in the field."

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. August 31 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. September 1.

Musket firing demonstrations will occur at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday (may not be suitable for people or animals sensitive to loud noises).

On Saturday evening, an interactive campfire program will begin at 7:30 p.m. to examine the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of battle.

Parking is available at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center at 1013 Lafayette Boulevard.

Saturday, September 21, 2019 Camp William Penn and Historic La Mott Day

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Join us in Honoring our Heritage

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Camp William Penn* and Historic La Mott Day

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

        Opening ceremony: 10:00 at Camp William Penn Gate 7322 Sycamore Ave., La Mott, 19027

          *Visit encampments: USCT and PA. 53rd Infantry Re-enactors

         *Visit Camp William Penn Museum

         *Living History Demonstrations including ammunition making

         *Civil War Medical and Surgical instrument ‘show and tell’ 

         *Book signings, Lectures, Period Music, Films

         *La Mott History display

         *Civil War baseball as demonstrated by the E.P. 6th graders

         *Local history organizations with tabletop displays and information

  Closing ceremony: 3:45 at Flagpole (corner Sycamore and Willow)

*Camp William Penn, located in what is now modern day La Mott, was the first and largest Federal training site for colored soldiers during the Civil War.

 Citizens for the Restoration of Historical La Mott

Great Commanders at Laurel Hill "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way" ~ August 11

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Sunday, August 11, 2019 at 10:00 AM

Leadership in war has had a profound effect on individual battles on both sides of the conflict, thus heavily influencing the final outcome of the conflict. Approximately fifty Generals and countless officers and enlisted men who played an important role in war are now laid to rest in the ‘Valhalla of Philadelphia’ that is Historic Laurel Hill. This walking tour will examine the triumphs and failures that made some men household names, and others lost to history. While their bodies may be gone, the final impact of their leadership—or lack thereof—is still realized today.

The walking tour will take place on Sunday, August 11 at 10:00 am. Enter at Laurel Hill Cemetery’s Gatehouse entrance at 3822 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19132. Free parking is located in the lot across the street from the Gatehouse and within the cemetery.

Ticket pricing is $15/General Admission, $13/Seniors (65 & Up), $13/Students with ID, $10/Members, $7.50/Youth (6-12), and $0/Child (5 & Under). Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

Please note - youth and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Tour Guide: Historian Andy Waskie

Gettysburg Music Muster takes place August 9 and 10

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Gettysburg Music Muster takes place August 9 and 10  

Free musical performances will reveal and express the feelings Americans held during the Civil War at Gettysburg National Military Park’s 24th annual Gettysburg Music Muster on August 9 and 10.

 Throughout both days, park visitors can hear ballads, folk songs, field music, and marches that were popular during the Civil War era. On Saturday, Civil War dance will also be featured by the Victorian Dance Ensemble.

 Performers this year include: Libby Prison Minstrels, Susquehanna Travellers; Hudson and Clark; Fort Delaware Cornet Band; Steve and Lisa Ball; Jeff Greenawalt; Camptown Shakers, and the 46th Pennsylvania Band.


Music will begin Friday, August 9, at noon, under the tents behind the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. Friday’s schedule is:

 Tents behind Museum and Visitor Center (Friday Aug. 9)
12:00 - 12:45 pm Jeff Greenawalt
1:00 - 1:45 pm Libby Prison Minstrels
2:00 - 2:45 pm Steve and Lisa Ball
3:00 - 3:45 pm Hudson and Clark
4:00 - 4:45 pm Camptown Shakers

Saturday performances begin at 10:00 am and take place at various locations. Saturday’s schedule is:

 Tents behind Museum and Visitor Center (Saturday Aug. 10)
10:00 am - 10:45 am Libby Prison Minstrels
11:00 am - 11:45 am 46th Pennsylvania
12:00 pm - 12:45 pm Susquehanna Travellers
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm Steve and Lisa Ball
2:00 pm - 2:45 pm Hudson and Clark
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm Jeff Greenawalt
4:15 pm - 5:00 pm Ft. Delaware Cornet Band
5:00 pm - 5:45 pm Camptown Shakers

Group Lobby at Museum and Visitor Center (Saturday Aug. 10)
10:00 am - 10:45 am Steve and Lisa Ball
11:00 am - 11:45 am Jeff Greenawalt
12:00 pm - 12:45 pm Camptown Shakers
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm Ft. Delaware Cornet Band
2:00 pm - 2:45 pm Victorian Dance & Susquehanna Travellers
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm Libby Prison Minstrels
4:15 pm - 5:00 pm Hudson and Clark

Dobbin House Courtyard, 89 Steinwehr Ave., Gettysburg (Saturday Aug. 10)
10:00 am - 10:45 am Victorian Dance & Susquehanna Travellers
11:00 am - 11:45 am Hudson and Clark
12:00 pm - 12:45 pm Libby Prison Minstrels
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm Jeff Greenawalt
2:00 pm - 2:45 pm 46th Pennsylvania
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm Camptown Shakers
4:15 pm - 5:00 pm Steve and Lisa Ball

Pennsylvania Memorial (Aug. 10)
Hancock Avenue, Tour Stop #12
6:30 pm - 7:15 pm – 46th Pennsylvania Band
7:30 pm - 8:15 pm – Fort Delaware Cornet Band

For more information, email Matt Atkinson or call 717-338-4428. The Music Muster is part of the final weekend of the Gettysburg National Military Park summer programs season, which offered more than 115 programs a week. Fall programs begin August 12.


Gettysburg National Military Park preserves, protects and interprets for this and future generations the resources associated with the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, during the American Civil War, the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and their commemorations. Learn more at

Register Now for Civil War Roundtable Congress

The 2019 CWRT Congress is just weeks away, and you won’t want to miss attending. We have arranged for attendees to enjoy staying at the Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis SW at the great rate of $109.99 per night. This property is located at 5 Lambert Drury Place and is roughly 14 miles from the Missouri Civil War Museum on the grounds of Jefferson Barracks.

For information about all of the amenities of this Drury Inn, you should go to the CWRT Congress Website. I’m sure you will be more than satisfied with your accommodations. Be sure to make your reservation before the cutoff date, August 18, 2019. And, use the reservation GROUP NUMBER 2369307

If you haven’t already registered for the 2019 Congress, please consider doing so by clicking the button below. And, don’t forget to take our breakout sessions survey so we'll know which you are most interested in attending. Finally, if you require lodging, get a discounted rate, too.

See you in St. Louis!




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156th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg


156th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg

July 1-3, 2019 - The three day Battle of Gettysburg marked a turning point not only in the course of the American Civil War, but also for the future of the United States of America. Join Park Rangers and Licensed Battlefield Guides during the 156th Anniversary for a series of free guided walks and talks that discuss, explore, and reflect on this important chapter in our nation’s history.

Click here for complete details

History's Headlines - Civil War Piano Man



History's Headlines - Civil War Piano Man
by Frank Walen - CRWT Board Member

It was at roughly 4:00 p.m. on June 15, 1863 when the Williamsport, Pennsylvania telegraph in the local telegraph office began to pound wildly. The words it tapped out were clear. Confederate General Robert E. Lee had crossed into Maryland where it was assumed he would quickly take Hagerstown. But the three columns of troops were clearly headed for bigger game: Harrisburg. The state capital was in the sights of the invading army. Confusion gripped the crowd that gathered in the streets. A placard of the news quickly gathered folks around it. Among them was a tall, slender man with a high forehead and bushy mustache. That he was not a local was clear but many in the crowd must have recognized him as Louis Moreau Gottschalk, the pianist who was set to give a performance that night in the town of 5,000.

Known for his flamboyant piano pieces that mixed Black, Latin and Caribbean rhythms with patriotic airs, the New Orleans native was sometimes attacked for his performances for lacking dignity. But by and large the public loved them. And an artist who had been praised by no less a figure than Frederic Chopin could not lack confidence.

Despite his Southern roots- he had cousins in the Confederate Army- Gottschalk, who had grown up with and seen up close what he called "the horrors of slavery," was a strong supporter of the Union cause. The spirit of national movements in 19th century Europe was progressive, he wrote, but the South's movement only offered the regressive force of slavery for its existence. Gottschalk played several concerts in Washington where President Lincoln and his wife, along with General Grant, were in the front row. Gottschalk noted that at first glance Lincoln was not a handsome man. But something in his eyes suggested "the expression of goodness and something of honesty in his countenance… that caused the exterior to be forgotten."

But on that June day Gottschalk had one thing in his mind, get his manager to cancel the concert set for Harrisburg. "It is evident, " he wrote in his journal "that people who expect every moment to be bombarded are not in the state of mind to listen to music…to say nothing of the…
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Millions in Economic Benefits Generated by Tourism at Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS


Tourism to Gettysburg NMP and Eisenhower NHS creates $87.5 Million in Economic Benefits

Gettysburg, PA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 992,025 visitors to Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site in 2018 spent $64 million in communities near the two parks. That spending supported 812 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $87.5 million.

 “Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Acting Superintendent Kristina Heister. “We are delighted to share the story of these places and the experiences they provide.”

“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service. The report shows $20.2 billion of direct spending by more than 318 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 329,000 jobs nationally; 268,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $40.1 billion.

Lodging expenses account for the largest share of visitor spending, about $6.8 billion in 2018. Food expenses are the second largest spending area and visitors spent $4 billion in restaurants and bars and another $1.4 billion at grocery and convenience stores.

Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 58,000 jobs and more than 61,000 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 28,000 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 20,000 jobs.

Report authors also produce an interactive tool that enables users to explore visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:

To learn more about national parks in Pennsylvania and how the National Park Service works with Pennsylvania communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go Pennsylvania. 

In Memoriam - Dr Richard Sommers


Dr Richard Sommers died May 14, a huge loss for Civil War historians everywhere. Dr Sommers spoke nine different times to our Round Table, most recently at the June 2016 meeting. What follows is his obituary...

Dr. Richard J. "Dick" Sommers (born, August 11, 1942; passed away, May 14) was the son of the late Walter J. and Harriett Ruth (Lewis) Sommers. He is survived by his wife Marilyn Tracy Sommers; brother, Walter A. Sommers (Robin); nephews, William L. Sommers (Vicky); Cameron Smeak, and niece, Amanda Scott (Cameron), and ten first cousins. He was born and raised in south-suburban Chicagoland and earned his B.A. from Carleton College and his Ph.D. from Rice University. Dick devoted his 44-year professional career to military history in the U.S. Army Military History Institute/U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center/U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks. Even in nominal "retirement," he taught one course each July. In 2015, the War College designated him a "Distinguished Fellow." Besides his official government service, Dick pursued his personal scholarship through his own books, articles, and presentations on military history, especially on the Civil War. His Richmond Redeemed: The Siege at Petersburg remains a classic which inspired a whole genre in that field. The expanded 150th anniversary of that book earned the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Writing Award as the best book of 2014. His most recent book, Challenges of Command in the Civil War, was published in 2018. Beyond writing, he welcomed opportunities to spread military history, both professional and lay, through teaching at the Army War College, through encouraging fellow researchers at the Institute, and through sharing such interest abroad. He addressed Civil War Round Tables and the Civil War Trust from Boston to Austin, from Atlanta to Seattle, and he was especially active in his home Harrisburg Civil War Round Table, where he served since 1971, including 32 years as Program Chairman. His more personal side was as Tracy's beloved husband. They married in 2011 and were seldom apart. He was the most perfect husband-loving, gracious, witty, thoughtful-a noble gentleman. He and Tracy shared many interests and after retirement travelled primarily in the west and mid-west sharing places from their growing up years. He resided in Carlisle. He was grateful for privilege of worshipping at the First Presbyterian Church of Carlisle, where he was a long-time member, ruling elder and clerk of session. The family will receive friends, 6:00-8:00 p.m., May 31, at the Hoffman Funeral Home, 2020 W. Trindle Rd., Carlisle, PA. Church services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, 2A N. Hanover St. Carlisle, PA 17013 on June 1 at 11:00 am. No flowers are requested. Memorial gifts may be given to the church or to the Army Heritage Center Foundation, 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Hoffman Funeral Home and Crematory, 2020 West Trindle Road, Carlisle, PA 17013. To sign the guestbook, please visit

Published on and in The Patriot-News from May 17 to May 26, 2019

Explore Four Battlefield Structures During “Doors Open Gettysburg” on May 4


Explore Four Battlefield Structures During “Doors Open Gettysburg” on May 4

 Gettysburg, Pa.  – The fourth annual Doors Open Gettysburg event offers an insider’s look at the preservation and history of four magnificent battlefield and farm structures at Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. This free event is held during National Historic Preservation Month in cities and towns throughout the United States and internationally.

On May 4, from 10 am to 2 pm, the National Park Service will open four historic structures on the Gettysburg battlefield and the Eisenhower farm to the public for a rare look at buildings ranging from newly restored to those in need of repair. Visitors will be able to explore the Edward McPherson Barn; the Josiah Benner Barn; Meade’s Headquarters – the Lydia Leister Home; and the Eisenhower Show Barn.

“Doors Open Gettysburg highlights the park’s important historic preservation mission and the stories these buildings can tell,” said Kristina Heister, Acting Superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park. “This event is a great opportunity for our community and park visitors to learn more about Gettysburg and how we take care of these resources.”

  •  Edward McPherson Barn: A landmark on the First Days Battlefield, the barn is the only surviving element of the Edward McPherson Farm. It was used as a field hospital and aide station during and after the fighting. Park along Stone and Meredith Avenue.

  •  Josiah Benner Barn: Recently rehabilitated by the National Park Service, this Pennsylvania Bank Barn was occupied by elements of both the Union and Confederate armies on July 1, 1863. Park in the gravel driveway between the Benner House and Barn, Old Harrisburg Road.

  •  Meade’s Headquarters - The Lydia Leister Home: Home of the widow Lydia Leister and her children, the two-room structure became the Headquarters of the Union Army of the Potomac. General George G. Meade held his famous “Council of War” here on the evening of July 2, 1863. Park in the National Cemetery Parking Lot, or along Hancock Avenue.

  •  Eisenhower Show Barn: Often the first stop for international dignitaries visiting the Farm, President Eisenhower used his award winning Black Angus cattle to create a friendly atmosphere for conversation with foreign leaders such as Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and French President Charles De Gaulle.  Enter from Red Rock Rd and park in the gravel parking lot. 

Please note that the buildings are not wheelchair accessible. No tickets or reservations are necessary for Doors Open Gettysburg. The event is free.

Click here for Web Version with map