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Annual 9th New York Cavalry encampment

Reading of letters home to highlight 2013 Civil War encampment in Westfield

June 12, 2013
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

WESTFIELD - The annual tradition of the 9th New York Cavalry encampment in Westfield is once again set to take place the second weekend of June.

Members of the 9th Cavalry will set up camp on June 7 in Westfield's Moore Park with majority of activities scheduled for Saturday, June 8. Among the highlights is a special appearance by confederates from the 64th Virginia, who will participate in a battle reenactment Saturday afternoon.

In addition to the regular schedule of events and activities, a new, special program will be taking place. On Saturday at 2 p.m., a letter-reading program will take place at St. Peter's Episcopal Church next to the park. David Brown, Historical Society Trustee and 9th NY Cavalry member, and his wife Sandy are coordinating the event. Together, they've put together a program featuring a series of letters from various Chautauqua County residents who served during the Civil War.

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Members of the New York 9th Cavalry will once again set up camp in Westfield’s Moore Park from Friday, June 7 to Sunday June 9, with a Civil War battle reenactment scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

"The program will include letters to home from local Civil War soldiers Alonzo Barton, Edward Skinner and Fred Barger," Brown said. "I will also read several entries from Barger's diary from 1862, focusing on his wounding and subsequent amputation at Fredericksburg."

Brown adds letters from other soldiers will also be shared during the presentation with other members of the 9th Cavalry taking part in the readings.

Besides the letter readings, another new event will take place during this year's encampment. Sandy Brown says several women involved with the reenactment will host a doll-making workshop at noon to give children an opportunity to learn how dolls were made during the 19th century. This was a time prior to mass production of dolls and toys for children and families would resort to making their own dolls for their little ones at home. For many little girls, a homemade doll would be the only type of doll they'd have.

Another event to take place at St. Peter's will be the 10 a.m. service of Holy Eucharist on Sunday conducted from the 1854 Book of Common Prayer. Those who think the church and its services have not changed before should come experience this service. Period costumes are optional and are welcomed.

The encampment weekend by the 9th New York Cavalry is a wonderful way to learn about and participate in an important part of our nation's history. Reenactors will give visitors an opportunity to learn about a soldier's daily life during the Civil War. The soldiers begin their encampment the evening of Friday, June 7 and continue through the weekend until Sunday morning, June 9. The event is free and a wonderful educational opportunity for people of all ages.

A complete schedule of encampment events can be found online at the Historical Society's website, at the events page.



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