Soldiers to re-enact Retreat through Williamsport

July 08, 2010|By LUCIA TAYO
  • Civil War re-enactors representing 8th Maryland Volunteer Infantry Company B drill together. These re-enactors will join others representing Union and Confederate troops at a recreation of Gen. Lee's retreat through Williamsport on his way back to the South after the Battle of Gettysburg.
Courtesy of Scott Bragunier,

WILLIAMSPORT --History will be repeated in Williamsport this weekend.

Confederates and Union soldiers have returned for Retreat Through Williamsport.

The three-day event commemorates Gen. Robert E. Lee and his Confederate army's retreat through Williamsport following the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., in 1863.

This year's celebration will be from Friday, July 9, to Sunday, July 11.

Scott Bragunier, coordinator for the Civil War re-enactors, said there would be a small-scale battle scene on Saturday morning, which will include the firing of a cannon. That event starts at 10 a.m. He said this would be a re-enactment of the Union soldiers fighting against the Confederate Army.

Bragunier also said there will be several artillery demonstration on Saturday where spectators will be able to see the cannon up close, see how to load the cannon and how to fire the cannon.

He said there would be chances for spectators to see camp life in 1863, giving visitors a chance to see re-enactors speaking and dressing the part of a Civil War soldier.


A Williamsport Civil War site tour will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, according to Joan Knode, town council member for the Town of Williamsport.

During the walk, Bragunier said, the people playing the parts of soldiers would be sharing history about important places during the war.

Knode said another walk will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday and follow the same route the soldiers took to a battle site at Falling Waters, W.Va.

Other events Knode highlighted are performances of Civil War music and storytelling by historian Matthew Dodd, who will be playing the part of a soldier. He will perform at 1 p.m. Saturday, and also at 8 p.m. Author and historian Steve French will hold a book signing at 2 p.m. Saturday. He will have copies of his book, "Imbroden's Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign," for sale.

There will also be $2 wagon rides for spectators, Knode said. The ride will take people from Springfield Farm Barn to Doubleday Hill. There will also be opportunity to buy food and drinks at the events.

Bragunier said there are bigger plans for the 2013 celebration, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. He said organizers plan on having a pontoon bridge on the Potomac River, so they can recreate the Battle at Falling Waters, W.Va.

"Most re-enactors don't get a chance to cross the river the way the soldiers did, so the pontoon (bridge) will be major," he said.

Knode said each anniversary is important to celebrate.

"This is something of our town's history," she said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Retreat through Williamsport. Following the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1863, the Confederate Army retreated through Williamsport. This weekend interprets the events of the Confederate and Union Armies in and around Williamsport from July 5 to 14, 1863.

WHEN: Friday, July 9, through Sunday, July 11

WHERE: Various locations in Williamsport

COST: Free; fee for wagon rides


Retreat through Williamsport schedule

Friday, July 9

Springfield Farm Barn, 14 Springfield Lane, off U.S. 11, Williamsport

7 p.m. -- music by The Susquehannah Travellers

7:30 p.m. -- Premiere of "Ten Days and Still They Come: The Battle of Monterey Pass"

8:30 p.m. -- music by The Susquehannah Travellers

9 p.m. -- night firing demonstration

Saturday, July 10

Springfield Farm Barn, off U.S. 11, Williamsport

Ongoing --Horse-drawn wagon rides provided from Springfield Farm Barn to Doubleday Hill. Fee.

9 a.m. -- Union encampment open, Springfield Farm Barn, 14 Springfield Lane, off U.S. 11, Williamsport

9:30 a.m. -- Union firing demonstration

10 a.m. -- Union and Confederate skirmish

11:30 a.m. -- Museum of Civil War Medicine talk and demonstration

12:30 p.m. -- "The Williamsport Cavalry" talk by Dick Ebersole

1 p.m. -- Civil War music and storytelling by historian Matthew Dodd

2 p.m. -- "Imboden's Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign" by Steve French, historian and author. Book available for purchase.

3 p.m. -- Union firing demonstration

River Bottom Park, West Salisbury Street, Williamsport

9 a.m. -- Confederate encampment open

5:30 p.m. -- Confederate infantry and artillery demonstration

Cushwa Basin, West Potomac Street, C&O Canal, National Park Service, Williamsport

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. -- Kids programs, earn a Junior Ranger and Town of Williamsport badge

4 p.m. -- "Civil War Along the C&O Canal" talk by Park Ranger Justin Work

4:30p.m. -- Civil War medicine demonstration by Park Ranger Karlton Smith

6 p.m. --Williamsport Civil War site tours. Tours begin outside the Visitor Center at Cushwa Basin.

River Bottom Park, West Salisbury Street, Williamsport

8 p.m. -- Bonfire, Civil War music and story telling by historian Matthew Dodd, and night firing demonstration. Bring a chair for comfort.

Sunday, July 11

March from Cushwa Basin to Falling Waters, W.Va., on the C&O Canal towpath

10 a.m. to noon --Follow the retreat of the Confederate Army to their crossing on the Potomac as told through letters and diaries of Southern and Northern soldiers. Five-mile one-way walk. Bring plenty of water, bug spray and wear sturdy shoes. Transportation available for those not wishing to walk.

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