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Monument dedicated to Civil War battle at Monterey Pass in Blue Ridge Summit

July 05, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Mary Rae Cantwell of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., was on hand Friday for the dedication of a plaque marking the Civil War Battle of Monterey Pass. Cantwell sold the site of the marker to Washington Township in 2011.
By Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. — Before 2008, few people knew about the Battle of Monterey Pass in Blue Ridge Summit.

Washington Township, Pa., historian John Miller said the Gettysburg campaign has received all of the attention over the years, but the Battle of Monterey, fought on July 4 and 5, 1863, is no less important.

On Friday, Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield Inc. members, and state and local dignitaries dedicated a marker to commemorate the second-largest Civil War battle in Pennsylvania.

“This is a milestone in the community,” Miller said.

The marker pays tribute to Union Gen. George A. Custer’s Michigan Calvary, who engaged in battle with Confederate troops at Monterey Pass.

“The main thing is to honor the memories of those who fought here,” Miller said.

The Michigan marker is just one of many stories that deserves to be told, he said.

Brian James Egen, chairman of the Michigan Civil War Sesquicentennial and member of the Michigan Historical Committee, spoke at the dedication.

There are 1,700 Michigan historic markers, and this is the only one in the state of Pennsylvania, he said.

“This is hallowed ground,” he said.

The state of Michigan sent more than 90,000 soldiers during the Civil War, he said.

Nearly one quarter of the state’s male population defended the Union during the Civil War. Almost 15,000 did not return, Egen said.

“Their actions will live forever,” he said. “Our hearts must never forget and always appreciate their struggle, efforts and sacrifice, for they helped shape the nation we’ve inherited.”

In December 2011, Washington Township purchased the land where the marker was dedicated from Mary Rae Cantwell of Blue Ridge Summit.

Friday’s dedication is the beginning of a Monterey Pass Battlefield Plan.

“I’m thrilled,” Cantwell said about plans to bring historic preservation to Blue Ridge Summit. “I just want this to be a place for education so our children can learn about their history.”

Construction could start on the Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum/Interpretative Center by the end of this month, according to R. Lee Royer, member of the Friends of Monterey Pass Battlefield Inc.

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