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Civil War Living Historians Gather in Gettysburg to Celebrate Fourth of July

Updated on July 6, 2011

Civil War Heritage Foundation

The Civil War Heritage Foundation, an organization of members who portray specific and/or generic individuals, set up camp in front of the American Civil War Wax Museum in Gettysburg, Pa., over the Fourth of July weekend. Living historians were also celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Civil War at Fort Sumter.

The purpose of the foundation is to educate the public on the history of the American Civil War as featured in the photographs below:


Image of Hetty Cary as portrayed by Stephanie Merson of Westminster, Md., with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston as portrayed by Ted Mikolaski of Long Island, N.Y.  Both are members of the Civil War Heritage Foundation.
Image of Hetty Cary as portrayed by Stephanie Merson of Westminster, Md., with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston as portrayed by Ted Mikolaski of Long Island, N.Y. Both are members of the Civil War Heritage Foundation. | Source

Hetty Cary and Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston

Hetty Cary, originally from Baltimore, Md., helped to smuggle supplies into Virginia. Eventually, she moved to Richmond where she met Confederate Gen. John Pegram. They were engaged for two years, but were only married for two weeks before he was killed.

Hetty was related to two of Virginia's most influential families, the Jeffersons and the Randolphs. She is also a descendant of Rebecca Rolfe (Pocahontas), and was described by many as "the most beautiful woman of her day and generation."

Hetty is best remembered for making the first three battle flags of the Confederacy (along with her sister and cousin). Hetty's flag was presented to Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston as portrayed above.


Image of Rose O'Neale Greenhow as portrayed by E. L. "Eddy" O'Malley of Cape May, N.J.  Ms. O'Malley  is a living historian, educator, seminar/conference speaker, and re-enactor.  She is also a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation.
Image of Rose O'Neale Greenhow as portrayed by E. L. "Eddy" O'Malley of Cape May, N.J. Ms. O'Malley is a living historian, educator, seminar/conference speaker, and re-enactor. She is also a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation. | Source

Rose O'Neale Greenhow

Rose O'Neale Greenhow, "Wild Rose," as she was called from a young age, was born in Port Tobacco, Md. She was a Washington socialite, a passionate secessionist, and one of the most well-known spies in Civil War. She was credited for the first Confederate victory of the battle of Bull Run. Jefferson Davis also credited her with winning the battle of Manassas.

Rose was imprisoned for her efforts several times; first in her own home; then in Old Capitol Prison with her 8-year-old daughter, who was permitted to stay with her. However, she continued to pass messages to the Confederacy via a woman's hair bun. After her second prison term, she was exiled to the Confederate states.

Rose toured abroad as a propagandist for the Confederate cause in Britain and France. While in London, she published her memoir with widespread sales in the British Isles.

After a year abroad, Rose decided to return to the states. She boarded the Condor, a British blockade-runner, but the vessel ran aground at the mouth of the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, N.C. In order to avoid the Union gunboat that pursued her ship, she fled in a rowboat. Unfortunately, Rose never made it to shore. Her small boat capsized, and she drown as a result of being weighted down by the gold she received in royalties for her book.

Rose died in 1864, and was buried with full military honors. She is buried in Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, Del.


Image of McGuffey Readers and authentic child's shawl worn during the Civil War.
Image of McGuffey Readers and authentic child's shawl worn during the Civil War. | Source

The McGuffey Readers

The McGuffey Readers would have been typically used in a one-room school house. Children would have been given lessons from the reader, which were very Christian based. The books included Biblical passages and character building stories based on morals and values.

According to an article published by the National Park Service: "It is estimated that at least 120 million copies of McGuffey's Readers were sold between 1836 and 1960, placing its sales in a category with the Bible and Webster's Dictionary. McGuffey Readers have continued to sell at a rate of some 30,000 copies per year. No other textbook bearing a single person's name has come close to that mark. Today, they are still used in some school systems, and by parents for the purpose of home schooling."


Maj. John Hill Brinton, M.D. as portrayed by Doug Decker of Hollidaysburg, Pa.  He is examining his eye surgical kit.
Maj. John Hill Brinton, M.D. as portrayed by Doug Decker of Hollidaysburg, Pa. He is examining his eye surgical kit. | Source

Civil War Medicine

Civil War medicine was quite primitive. Probably the most recognizable and well known piece of medical equipment was the bone saw. This instrument resembles a hacksaw and only had one purpose--to cut off arms, legs, feet and hands. About 75 percent of surgeries in the field were amputations. Further, Civil War medicine was years behind the greatly improved weapon technology that caused so many deaths. Doctors during that time simply did not possess much medical knowledge at all, which also resulted in a huge death toll.


Image of dolls typical of the mid 1800's
Image of dolls typical of the mid 1800's | Source

Period Dolls

Cloth dolls would have been for a younger girl. Mothers would have used these dolls to have taught their daughters to sew. For example, helping them to sew on the eyes. Porcelain dolls would have been for older girls between the ages of 8 to 12 years.

It is also believed that some dolls may have been sent over from Europe for the purpose of smuggling medical supplies past Union blockades. Once the dolls reached a port, the powdered quinine would be pressed into pills for Southern troops. The quinine was used to treat malaria.

According to the Medical and Surgical History of the Civil War, malaria was widespread among Union and Confederate troops. An estimated 900,000 Union troops contracted malaria during the war, leaving 4,700 dead.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1324499/Civil-War-ear-dolls-X-rayed-bid-prove-secret-role.html#ixzz1RC7iqNEZ


First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln as portrayed by Judee A. Synakowski of Coxsackie, N.Y.  She is also a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation and the Association of Lincoln Presenters.
First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln as portrayed by Judee A. Synakowski of Coxsackie, N.Y. She is also a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation and the Association of Lincoln Presenters. | Source

Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln was born December 13, 1818, in Lexington, Ky. Even though she was the daughter of a wealthy and prosperous family, the level of education she received was unusual. She learned to speak and write French, penmanship, dancing, and singing. She also studied a variety of subjects including the works of Victor Hugo, Shakespeare, and astronomy. From her father's affiliations with political leaders, she developed an interest in politics and political issues.

It is believed that Mary Todd's maternal grandmother aided slaves seeking freedom through the "Underground Railroad." Mary Todd's later support of abolition may have originated with the influence of this grandmother.

In 1842, Mary Todd married Abraham Lincoln, who went on to become the 16th President of the United States. They had four children: Robert Todd, Edward Baker, William Wallace, and Thomas. She was the First Lady from 1861 to 1865. She died July 16, 1882.

Image of women's straw hats
Image of women's straw hats | Source

Straw Hats

Straw hats were worn by women in the summer to protect their fair complexions and to deflect heat.


A civilian washer woman as portrayed by Cheri Gainor of Frederick, Md.  She is also a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation.
A civilian washer woman as portrayed by Cheri Gainor of Frederick, Md. She is also a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation. | Source

Washer Women

Laundresses, or "washer women" as they were called, went through a lot of trouble to clean the soldiers uniforms.

They had to be approved by the commander. They had to be in good standing, and usually had a husband or family member in camp. One of the main benefits to being a washer woman was the opportunity to stay with her husband rather than endure a long or permanent separation from her spouse. They were also the first women to get paid by the army for their services.

In addition, laundresses were not permitted to engage in romantic relationships with any of the soldiers.

For more information on washer women, visit: http://hubpages.com/hub/WasherWomanCivilWar

Image of cleaning chemicals used during the Civil War.
Image of cleaning chemicals used during the Civil War. | Source

Cleaning Chemicals

Lye, bluing, and starch products were used to clean clothes. Starch was usually derived from corn and potatoes.


Image of small irons
Image of small irons | Source

Irons

There were about 12 different irons used with various weights. The irons had to be constantly reheated in a cast iron frying pan. The tiny irons pictured above would have been used for smaller clothing items such as cuffs, collars and laces.


From left, image of Bill Clemens and Tom Anderson, both of Colombia, Pa., portraying blacksmiths from the Civil War era.
From left, image of Bill Clemens and Tom Anderson, both of Colombia, Pa., portraying blacksmiths from the Civil War era. | Source

Blacksmithing

The forge (pictured above) was used for heating metal and would reach temperatures in excess of 2,000 degrees. Blacksmiths during the Civil War would craft anything that pertained to metal from cooking utensils to hardware on wagon wheels.


Image of various iron works
Image of various iron works | Source
Image of handcrafted knives
Image of handcrafted knives | Source

Contact the Civil War Heritage Foundation

If you are interested in portraying Union and Confederate officers, enlisted personnel, or civilians and would like to become a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation, visit their website at: http://www.civilwarheritagefoundation.org


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    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 

      5 years ago from United States

      I love your pictures and your insight into the people that were being reenacted. It looks like a fantastic event to attend - something I'd like to see one day, for sure! Voted up.

    • Debra Charney profile imageAUTHOR

      Debra Charney 

      7 years ago from United States

      Kathy,

      Glad you enjoyed the photos and brief summaries. On average, there are about 10,000 re-enactors that come to relive the three-day Battle of Gettysburg every Fourth of July. It's impossible to cover it all in one weekend. I just picked a few of the highlights, but people travel from all over the world to partake in this event. It truly is remarkable.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 

      7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Debra; this article is packed with information, complete with photographs of the recreation to support your text! Amazing and extremely interesting. I've heard of this event and your hub has made it come to life for me, as I've never been fortunate enough to attend. A great event honoring/remembering our past which is so significant! Wonderful summaries of pertinent characters in our nation's history. UP and Awesome and Useful and Interesting ! I'm glad I found your sweet hubs about kitties which led me to read more. Kathy

    • Debra Charney profile imageAUTHOR

      Debra Charney 

      7 years ago from United States

      Wow! That's wonderful to have traced and preserved your family heritage like that. You would love Gettysburg. Very rich in history. There is actually a Lincoln impersonator, who is a carbon copy of Abraham Lincoln. He even has his mannerisms down pact. You would enjoy his speeches. He is at most of the major events.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      7 years ago from America

      Enjoyed this hub. I've been doing genealogy and have a story of my great-great-grandfather and his life during the civil war.

      I know everyone says their related to Abraham Lincoln but we actually are.

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