Civil War soldiers to pitch
their tents at Historic Forestville
Tuesday, July 09, 2013 3:18 AM
Get your muskets, boys - it's the "Days of '63."
Soldiers will pitch their tents on Historic Forestville's lawn Saturday, July 27, and Sunday, July 28, as part of "Days of '63," the vintage village's observation of the commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg's sesquicentennial.
"We'll have four military re-enactment units that will be here - the Minnesota Third Infantry Regiment, the 5th Volunteer Infantry Company, Company C South Carolina Confederate Infantry, and if the Confederates give our Union boys for a run, we have the New Ulm Light Infantry Battery," said Historic Forestville Site Supervisor John Grabko.
It's not a re-enactment - it's an encampment. The difference, explained Grabko, is it's an encampment of Civil War soldiers of 1863 and how they camped, because this year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address. Throughout the camp, there'll be music, cookery, medical interpretation and entertainment, and people will have a chance to wander through the camps and visit one to one with the soldiers and officers in the camp, talk about their daily lives.
The groups will bring their own music - Civil War-era music will be played throughout the camp, including banjo and harmonica - so visitors can enjoy the music of the time. President Lincoln will be there to review the troops and deliver the address. There'll be a timed program of events that includes close ordered drills and Civil War musket drills and firing.
Grabko related that tiny Forestville's history does include the mustering of Civil War soldiers.
"What we believe is that in 1864, Forestville was the site of a Union muster camp," he explained. "They stayed in the camp for about three weeks - they did this because by 1864, the Union forces had been decimated and they were taking recruits at Forestville after Gettysburg. The Minnesota First Regiment lost 80 percent of its men at Gettysburg."
The site supervisor is thrilled to be able to welcome the regiments to the village. "It's exciting that in this small way, we can also take part in the national commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg and how it affected Minnesota's soldiers. Here at Forestville, we recognize the events of 1863 in an appropriate way, like people are doing all over the country."
The encampment opens its tent flaps to the public at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, and ties them shut after 8 p.m., then at noon until 4 p.m. Sunday, July 28. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children 6 to 17, and those 5 and under are admitted free of charge. MHS members receive a $1 discount, and the price of admission includes the regular historic site tour. A $5 daily state park permit is required.
Coming up this weekend at Historic Forestville is "New Shoes for Horses," a new program that features farrier Jarred Lund, who will demonstrate how horses were shod. The program is slated for this Saturday, July 13, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Historic Forestville is located inside Forestville-Mystery Cave State Park. For more information call (507) 765-2785.