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Washington Township historian shares knowledge of Civil War at Allison-Antrim Museum

June 15, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Marshall Miller, 16; his mother, Alicia; and his brother, Dalton, 9, shared their knowledge of Civil War life Saturday when the Allison-Antrim Museum in Greencastle, Pa., commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
By Roxann Miller

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — As part of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the Allison-Antrim Museum in Greencastle hosted five nationally recognized Civil War speakers on Saturday.

Ted Alexander, chief historian at Antietam National Battlefield, presented “Military Units of Franklin County in the Civil War.”

Diseases such as measles and chickenpox could kill you back then, Alexander told those who assembled in the barn behind the museum to listen to his talk.

“Diseases quickly whittled down a regiment,” he said.

A typical Civil War regiment was typically 900 to 1,000 men, but because of disease, desertion and other factors, was down to 500 to 600 men by the time the regiment hit the field, Alexander said.

Bonnie Shockey, president of the board of directors of the Allison-Antrim Museum, said this year is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Campaign.

Civil War veterans didn’t meet every five or 10 years after the war, she said.

“They had a reunion every single year from the close of the Civil War until the last Civil War veteran died,” Shockey said. “They wanted the nation to remember what they fought for, what their comrades gave their lives for, to preserve the union.”

Washington Township historian John Miller shared his knowledge of the Civil War with visitors. 

“The Civil War is what defined America as we see it today,” Miller said.

He gave one of the lectures, “Fire on the Mountain: The Battle of Monterey Pass.”

“I’ve heard several Gettysburg park rangers say that in order to understand the whole Pennsylvania campaign and the retreat from Gettysburg, one has to go to Monterey Pass in order to get the complete story, and I completely agree with them,” Miller said.

Rex Henry of Greencastle listened to the Civil War speakers on Saturday.

“It’s a nice way to spend a day in town,” Henry said while carrying away a Civil War book and a CD.

“I’m not obsessed yet,” he joked.

Bringing this into town is a great thing, he said.

“You’d have to travel to Fredericksburg (Va.) or (Washington) D.C. to see this many speakers brought into one location for such a short period of time,” Henry said.

Loueda Aiken of Florida was in town visiting family. She heard about the Civil War lectures and stopped to listen.

“I like history, especially Civil War history, and I’m a teacher,” Aiken said. “I wanted to see if I could learn anything new.”

She walked away with quite a bit of new information from Alexander’s talk.

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