Living History Weekend: A Civil War Ball

Colorful.

The final, and perhaps most unique, event of the day was a Civil War Ball where most participants dressed in period clothing, or pretty close to it.

Traditional music was performed by the Susquehanna Travelers and dancers were instructed by a professional “caller”. Even though many participants had been to such balls before, the complexity of the dances required someone to explain and guide the dancers through.

The most interesting element of the dance was its contrast to dances of today. Partners didn’t dance in couples. In this era, they split into small groups and the entire room danced together, partners splitting and moving on to dance with every other partner in the room, all the dancers working together to make the dance a success as they moved in patterned steps through reels and trots. When everyone finally has the steps it’s amazing to watch the entire room move as one, lovely hoop-skirted dresses swirling, gentlemen stepping lively.

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Living History Weekend: the Encampment

Four reenactment groups camped at Carnegie Park from a frosty 38-degree Friday night, April 29, through a misty, drizzly Sunday morning, May 1. Both Union and Confederate reenactors participated, pitching their tents among the trees and turning the familiar park into a convincing scene from 150 years ago, only the occasional anachronism like a car or the mowed grass or tennis shoes jarring your attention back to the future.

Their realistic setups showed us how Civil War camps were organized and what they actually carried around with them before the days of easy communications and even carbon copies. In addition to setting up and hanging around in period clothing, reenactors also participated in Artillery Demonstrations and a reenactment of skirmishes at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.

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The drummer boy in the Confederate camp practices his cadences.

Confederate reenactors in "butternut" and salvaged uniforms.

Washing the dishes in enamel pans with water heated on the wood stove.

The camp's "office" with the "kitchen" in the background.

Firing the cannon was a complicated and dangerous process.

The team preparing the cannon for the artillery demonstration.

At another camp, stirring the chicken and dumplings cooking over the fire.

The camp looks authentic, even on a day when more than a hundred visitors were around.

This drummer was getting serious lessons the entire weekend.

Three ladies in day dresses visit the park.

Tents under the spreading trees.

Having a little fun.

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Sixth Annual Civil War Living History Weekend

image of post card for civil war reenactment event

Saturday, April 30, 2011

  • Reenactments of the Battle of Gettysburg and Fredericksburg,
  • Union and Confederate Infantry & Artillery Encampments,
  • Exhibits, Lecture, Civil War Book Sale, Documentary Film and more.

Click here for program details
Read more about our Annual Civil War Event
Purchase tickets online for Victorian Tea
Purchase tickets online for Civil War Ball
For more information on Civil War programming or the Thomas Espy Post, call Diane Klinefelter 412-276-3456, x5,

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Capt. Thomas Espy Post Open Saturdays, 11:00 to 3:00

capt. thos. espy post no. 153

The Capt. Thos. Espy Post No. 153

Visit the meticulously restored Capt. Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic
Open Saturdays, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
National Treasure restored!

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