Man to portray ancestor at Gettysburg re-enactment


July 01, 1998|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THOUSANDS OF CIVIL War re-enactors will relive the three-day Battle of Gettysburg this weekend, and Roy Ashe, of Roy's Clock Shop in Hampstead, will be one of them.

It's planned as the largest re-enactment to be staged on the Gettysburg fields, with about 15,000 men in uniform for the 135th anniversary of the battle.

Ashe will portray his ancestor William Joynes, who served at age 19 as a private in the Confederate infantry, the 3rd Virginia volunteers known as the "Dismal Swamp Rangers."

In his portrayal, Ashe will be a member of the 4th Virginia Cavalry, Company A -- but considerably older, somewhat heavier and more fortunate than the typical soldier who rode a horse.

"Most re-enactors are older and heavier than they should be," Ashe explained. "Soldiers didn't eat well and marched 20 miles a day. They were lean and underfed. Mounted Confederates were given 30-day furloughs to get another [fresh] horse, or turn in saber and spurs and become infantry.

"Many marched while diseased. There were more casualties from sickness than from fighting. Back then, very few people of the North or the South didn't have someone who died or was injured in the Civil War," he said.

There were 650,000 casualties from a population of about 30 million.

About 25 men from Maryland and Virginia make up the Company A re-enactors, including Craig Dixon of Gamber and Hugh Sampson of Mount Airy.

They'll camp for three days in authentic 1860s style, with their own water and food and with their horses tied 10 yards ahead of each tent. But they won't re-enact the stragglers -- the soldiers who fell behind, who would demand food and shoes at gunpoint.

Ashe's great-great-grandfather met such a straggler at the Dixon homestead in Urbana (known in recent years as Peter Pan Inn) in Frederick County. The straggler demanded his great-great-grandfather's fancy knee-high boots in exchange for his own tattered canvas brogans. The exchange was made at gunpoint. Moments later, a second straggler arrived -- to negotiate at gunpoint for the broken-down brogans.

This weekend's event takes place at Bushey Farm, two miles southwest of the Gettysburg Battlefield along Pumping Station Road at Bullfrog Road. Bullfrog Road runs between Pennsylvania Route 116 and U.S. 15 at the Steinwehr Avenue exit.

The battle re-enactment will take place over an estimated three-quarter-mile viewing area, where spectators can spread blankets or lawn chairs.

During the day, Ashe will be a spokesman as his company demonstrates cavalry drills. He frequently gives middle school living history presentations. He's a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans and won't let heroes such as his ancestors be forgotten.

"If we forget about the greatness, we lose it," he says. "This battle happened only 135 years ago. Once it was decided we were one nation indivisible, we got on with building a great country. The hatred was gone. Our children should be proud of it."

Gates open at 8: 30 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. The re-enactment will feature talks, fashion shows, music, period craft demonstrations and more throughout each of the three days. For ticket information, call 717-337-9483 or 800-928-1863.

State Envirothon results

Carroll County's top Envirothon team, composed of North Carroll High students, found plenty of challenges at the state Envirothon match held June 18-20 at Isaac Walton Environmental Center in Montgomery County.

They returned not victorious, but with resolve to study more often and in greater depth before the next county contest in April. "Our team felt good, but we didn't win. We answered

questions as best as we could and placed 12th out of 21 teams," said Josh Spicer, 16.

Other members of the team are Bobby Niner, 18; Heather Graf, 16; and Stacey Hamlet, 15. Aaron Geiman, agricultural science teacher, accompanied the team and Tom Manger, agricultural engineering instructor, assisted.

Environmental subjects challenged the student teams in areas of soils, aquatic life, wildlife, watershed management and forestry.

Team members also had to prepare a presentation about Pfiesteria, a topic not previously studied. All teams received the same materials and had two nights to create a presentation. That's where the North Carroll team excelled, placing fourth of 21 teams.

"We didn't know what the subject would be. We had eight hours to get our facts straight and think of how to overcome the problem. Our team developed a news conference with three commercials," said Josh.

Between the contests, the teams enjoyed nightly campfires, naturalists' presentations and games.

"It was muddy, interesting and fun," Josh said.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 7/01/98

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