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Descendants of 154th New York to hold annual reunion at Institution

July 3, 2013
Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

CHAUTAUQUA - Descendants of members of the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry, a Civil War regiment raised in Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties, will hold their 28th annual reunion on Saturday, July 6 at the Chautauqua Institution on Route 394 in Chautauqua.

Reunion attendees will gather at the Hall of Philosophy from noon to 12:30 p.m. At 12:30 p.m., Mark H. Dunkelman of Providence, R.I., will make a presentation on "The Hardtack Regiment at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg," followed by the roll call of descendants. From 2 to 2:45 p.m., the band Thursday Morning Brass will present a Civil War music concert at the Hall of Christ.

Attendees will have to purchase an afternoon gate pass for $13 valid from noon to 8 p.m. Parking is $8 for the day. Tickets can be purchased in person the day of the reunion or in advance by calling the ticket office at 357-6250 and mentioning code 154th.

Anyone descended from a member of the 154th New York is encouraged to attend the reunion. Descendants are asked to bring photographs and relics of their soldier ancestors to be copied and added to the regimental archives. The public is also invited to attend. Each attendee will receive a souvenir ribbon.

The 154th New York, known as the Hardtack Regiment, was raised in the summer of 1862 and participated in many of the great campaigns and battles of the war, including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, the Atlanta campaign and Gen. William T. Sherman's marches through Georgia and the Carolinas.

This year marks the sesquicentennial of the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, the 154th New York's first combats. At Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, the 154th suffered the fourth highest regimental casualty count in the Army of the Potomac. Of the 590 soldiers present, 240 of them became casualties - a 40 percent loss rate. At Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, the regiment lost 205 of 265 engaged - a 77 percent casualty rate. Many of the descendants who attend the reunion will be related to soldiers killed, wounded or captured in the two battles. In his talk, Dunkelman will describe the circumstances that resulted in such heavy losses.

Dunkelman is the great-grandson of John Langhans of Ellicottville, who served as a corporal in Company H of the 154th. Stories and relics of his ancestor inspired Dunkelman's interest and led to a life long work as a regimental historian. The author of five books and dozens of articles on various aspects of the 154th's history, Dunkelman will preside at the reunion as he has every year since their inception in 1986.To date, he has connect with 1,193 fellow descendants of members of the 154th scattered throughout the country and abroad.

For more information about the reunion, contact Dunkelman at (401) 369-0637 or nyvi154th@aol.com. More about his work can be found at www.hardtackregiment.com. Information about the Chautauqua Institution can be found at www.ciweb.org.

 
 

 

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