The days before Gettysburg being re-enacted this weekend

June 17, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Visitors to the Union Mills Homestead this weekend can walk into the Civil War.

The 26th Volunteer Infantry, a Civil War re-enactment group, will live in history during a two-day encampment to mark the 131st anniversary of the days preceding the Battle of Gettysburg.

"I am hoping that people's fascination with the past will draw them here," said Ted Shellenberger, organizer of the event. "This is an out-of-the-ordinary, unique event that allows people to sample a lifestyle.

"We explain in detail how the military acted and what happened on the home front."

Infantry, artillery and cavalry units are setting up camp tonight. The 2nd Main Cavalry arrives this afternoon on horseback from Hanover, Pa. The horse soldiers will demonstrate several cavalry tactics, including a mounted saber charge, throughout the weekend.

"This is a wonderful hobby and a great stress-reliever," said Lester H. Schumacher, cavalry member.

Both soldiers and civilians -- in period costumes -- will participate in the encampment.

"A lot of families traveled in wagons with the soldiers and did the laundry and cooking," said Esther Shriver, director of the Homestead. "The encampment and demonstrations will explain just what the people had to do."

Although the weekend promises to be a scorcher, the re-enactors will remain in uniform, Mr. Shellenberger said."The wool and cotton layers keep the wearer cool," he said.

Craft artists will show how to make many items, from banjos to shampoo. A blacksmith, gunsmith and knitters will also demonstrate their crafts.

In the Homestead building, guests will find exhibits of Victorian clothing, jewelry and millinery, as well as china and pottery.

Mimes will act out a narrator's description of several historical events drawn from regional history.

The 28th Pennsylvania -- an 11-piece brass band -- will play tunes popular during the war. The soldiers will also set up telegraph stations.

"This is not just entertainment," said Mr. Shellenberger. "It is a learning experience, which we hope will interest more people in preserving our historic sites.

"We want the next generations to have these sites through the next century."

In keeping with the authentic atmosphere, cars must be parked outside the complex. There will be a charge of $3 per vehicle.

The encampment runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and 1 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Information: 848-2288.

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