Friday, December 12, 2014

Prospects of Peace: Harpers Ferry

Over the first weekend in December I participated in an event I have wanted to experience for some time: an event at Harpers Ferry National Park. It was amazing being in the town in period dress, visiting the different exhibits and occupying one of the historic buildings. The event was Captain Flagg's 1864 US Quartermaster City. It was an AGSAS sanctioned event and since I am a candidate for membership in the group, I decided to attend.

Since I just started a new job I couldn't head out until around 4:30 and arrived in Harpers Ferry about 8:00 pm. Polly Steenhagen had arranged for several of us to stay in the Master Armorer's House. It is located just down the street from John Brown's fort.

This structure includes a visitor's center downstairs and a four bedroom apartment upstairs used to house interns and volunteers.

The apartment has a living room, one bathroom and small kitchen.

Period graffiti has been preserved under glass in the bathroom and kitchen section of the house.
I shared a room with Sherri and Sami. Our bedroom included two wardrobes and two chest of drawers. The room was huge.

Through the door in the above picture is the porch. 

As you can see, Saturday was not the best weather for an event or for public visitation. Sunday was much better. But we were inside the Confectionery and out of the weather. 

Saturday started with a reenactor meeting, including Santa Claus. Thank goodness they had a huge tent to stay out of the rain. 


For the last few years, Faith Mark Hintzen makes goodies to "sell" in the Confectionery. She prints script to give the soldiers who then use it to "buy" sweets. She had pies, cookies, breads, and candies. 

The other part of the house was the living quarters for the Roeders who originally owned the Confectionery. (You're not seeing double, the photos were taken on different days)

The are four rooms upstairs but they are not open to the public. It is reached by the stairs behind the orange colored door in this picture. I did sneak a peek at the stairs. 
In an ironic twist, the Confectionery has a Hopewell furnace; the Hopewell site doesn't have a Hopewell furnace. 

Since the weather was so bad, we had few visitors which gave me a chance to get out and look around town and the other exhibits. 


The Confectionery also has a basement, which housed the kitchen.

During the event the basement was used for a candy making workshop. 

Saturday concluded with a catered turkey dinner. After dinner we went back to the apartment, warmed up and relaxed.

Sunday was a much better day, bright and sunny but a bit cold. 

We had more visitors because of the more pleasant weather and one of the rangers joined us. I still got out and roamed a bit. 


Two of our visitors were soldiers, female soldiers. Their impression was great! They really tried to hide that they were women. It was really difficult to tell until up close or talking to them, but even then they looked and sounded like young men.

We started cleaning up about 4:00 and left about 5:00. I really had a great time. Being able to stay in a historic building and populate the town in period dress was really great. I with the weather had been better, but I still had a great time. 


Additional photos can be found here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Post Remembrance Day Gettysburg Roamings

With the Remembrance Day activities over for me, I had a chance to visit some friends and take a nice leisurely trip through the battlefield and environs. My first stop was at Maggie's to say hi. She had to work Saturday so wasn't able to enjoy the festivities. On the way to Maggie's from Chambersburg I went down a little road and passed by a really old cemetery. So after my visit I went back for a closer look.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to read any of the stones. I was told it dated back to Revolutionary times and there are also some Confederates buried there.

I headed over to the battlefield and as always stopped at the visitors' center. It was hoppin'. Several authors were in the bookstore signing copies of their books, none civilian centered. But Ed Bearss was there signing his book on Petersburg. It's kind of cool when you see someone in person you know from TV programs. But I had met him before several years ago when I worked at the Texas Historical Commission. He was visiting with one of our historians and happened to be in the building in which I worked. I did buy a book, Don't Hurry Me Down to Hades. Would really like to see the bookstore carry more civilian memoirs and such.

I took a drive over to the Pennsylvania monument.

 I went up to the top for the first time.

At the time I was the only one up there and I started to hear military drums in the distance; it was pretty eerie. It was a jam session over at Devil's Den, but still pretty cool.

I then went back to town and had lunch at Cafe Saint-Amand, one of my favorite eating places in Gettysburg. It was then time to go home. I had a great weekend, always enjoy visiting "the 'Burg", especially dressed up. Hopefully, next year I'll be able to stay in town, either on the square or on Baltimore; I would love to stay closer to the action.

Remembrance Day 2014

Another Remembrance Day. I wasn't sure I was going to go, so my room reservations were a bit last minute. For those of you in the know, know this is not a good idea. Almost all rooms in Gettysburg were booked and those that weren't came close or exceeded the $200 mark. Couldn't do that, so ended up at the Days Inn in Chambersburg. It was a bit of a drive to Gettysburg but the price was right. One year I will get a room downtown (if I don't live there first.)

I arrived Friday afternoon and went straight to Chambersburg. I realized as I was packing that I had some mending to do. I wore my wool conference dress and paletot as the weather was forecasted to be just a bit chilly. (This photo is from a different event). You can see the construction and the full dress at this post.

I left for Gettysburg early. Not knowing for sure what parking was going to be I first planned to park at the battlefield visitors' center and taking the bus in. However, since I was so early I parked at the college and walked to the square. I stopped at a little cafe on the square for something to eat.

It was then time to shop. I started at the Gettysburg Hotel on the square. Several vendors were there selling everything a reenactor might need including books. Believe it or not, I did not buy any books. But Lucy's Hairworks was there. She is usually one of the vendors at the Civilian Symposium in Harrisburg and I have admired her work for years but had never purchased any of her work. This time I did. 

These earrings are two in one. The hair bobbles at the bottom can be removed and just the stones worn or with the two together. Had to have them. 

I then headed to the 1863 Inn. I took the back way and wondered around back neighborhoods and checked out the architecture. After visiting the vendors I went out to Steinwehr and people watched. The street was crowded with reenactors at all levels of authenticity. 


When it was time to gather for the parade I headed over to find the 97th PVI. I decided not to walk in the parade so I could take pictures. 

Spectators crowded the street. 

I walked up Baltimore and stopped to watch the parade with Carolann Schmitt and her husband, Don, from in front of her office. I have posted a few photos and videos here but you can find more photos and videos on my Facebook wall. 

During the parade I found out I missed some of the vendors at the Gettysburg Hotel, so after the parade I headed back over to see what I missed. And I did miss this great belt buckle the first time but not the second. 

It's gutta percha and I think it will go well with several of my dresses. Following my purchase I went over to the Ragged Edge coffee shop to attend a post parade gathering. However, only four of us showed up; even the person that suggested the gathering didn't show. But we had some great conversation and warm drinks. While at the coffee shop I found out about a dedication at the Daniel Lady farm, so decided to head out there to see it. 


When I arrived the two bands representing the Union and Confederate were playing. These bands were made up of Scouts. 

During the ceremony flags from the 1860s US, the Confederacy and today's US flag were raised and a stone marker revealed. Also the ashes of several retired flags were spread over the memorial garden next to the barn. 

Dinner with the Schmitts at Hickory Bridge Farm ended the living history for the weekend. I'll post about my rambling on Sunday in the another post.