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Civil War Encampment returns to Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2014 at 12:00 am

More than 100 re-enactors at GCC campus for programs

File photos by Tom Rivers – Re-enactors march down Main Street in Medina during a parade last April. They will be back for another parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The parade ends at Boxwood Cemetery.

MEDINA – The re-enactors have returned, more than 100 of them and they will put on demonstrations about the Civil War, everything from cooking to mock battling with canons and guns.

They are in town from today until Sunday. The group will march down Medina’s Main Street in parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The parade starts at the fire hall and will end at Boxwood Cemetery, where there will be a memorial ceremony honoring Medina’s Civil War soldiers.

GCC had a Civil War Encampment at its Lima campus in 2012 and moved it to Medina last year. The big community turn out and participation from the Medina Sandstone Society, Orleans Renaissance Group, Medina Historical Society and other groups impressed Derek Maxfield, a GCC professor and coordinator of the encampment.

“I was struck by the response in Medina,” Maxfield told Orleans County legislators in a presentation on Wednesday. “We were overwhelmed with support from the community. There is something special about Orleans County.”

Maxfield met many community members who have worked to preserve buildings and local heritage. That prompted him to push for the creation of a Heritage Heroes award. The first five honorees will be recognized at 7 p.m. at GCC in Medina today. The public is welcome to that event.

“It’s a way to say, ‘Thank you,’ to these people who have worked incredibly hard,” Maxfield said. “You don’t see that level of concern in other communities for old buildings and cemeteries.”

Re-enactors will stage mock battles at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the GCC campus in Medina.

Here is a press release from GCC about the lineup of events over the next three days:

Several new activities, awards and events are part of this year’s program, including a visit by acclaimed Civil War filmmaker Ron Maxwell and a screening of his film “Copperhead.”

Friday has been designated as Education Day at the Encampment. Open exclusively to students from local school districts, a series of exhibits will help the students learn about life during the Civil War, including medical tools, military artifacts and a live demonstration of the cooking from that era. The students will have an opportunity to recite Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address to their peers.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Encampment organizers will present the first Orleans County Heritage Heroes Awards. These awards will recognize Orleans County residents who are tireless advocates in preserving local history.

The public is invited to Breakfast with the Generals at 9 a.m. Saturday. Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet, and Union General Ulysses S. Grant will meander through downtown Medina restaurants, meeting and shaking hands with the local residents as they stroll about. Abraham Lincoln is also expected to make an appearance just in time for the start of the Medina Parade which begins at 10 a.m.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors can attend a Genealogy Workshop, listen to a Fife and Drum concert, tour Union and Confederate Camps or meet Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Grant.

From 1 to 2 p.m., author Bill Kauffman of Elba will appear in the Central Tent with filmmaker Ron Maxwell. Kauffman wrote the screenplay for Maxwell’s film “Copperhead,” the third of his Civil War films, which also include “Gettysburg” and “Gods and Generals.” The film “Copperhead” will be shown inside the Medina Campus Center from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

Both Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. re-enactors will engage in mock combat battle for approximately an hour.

“These battles are truly representative of those that occurred during the Civil War,” said Encampment coordinator and GCC assistant history professor Derek Maxfield. “Re-enactors go to great lengths to be authentic in their dress, their weapons as well as their actions. It’s definitely something to see.”

David Kreutz, an Abraham Lincoln presenter from Depew, shows over-sized pennies to people at the Civil War encampment in Medina last April.

Visitors can also enjoy seeing more formal attire when Donna LaValle gives a presentation on Victorian fashion Saturday afternoon. The public is welcome to don late 19th century dress and enjoy the Victorian Cotillion in the Central Tent from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. City Fiddle, a Buffalo group, will be performing period music in costume.

“This group is particularly good and always a favorite among the re-enactors,” said Maxfield. Saturday’s events close at 10 p.m.

Confederate chaplain Sava Toufexis will lead a Civil War era religious service Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in the Central Tent. Additional talks and demonstrations are planned throughout the day including:

Tom Schobert portraying General Robert E. Lee

Adam Tabelski “Col. Edwin Franklin Brown: A Life of Service”

Prof. Garth Swanson “Pirates or Patriots: The Confederate Navy and the American Naval Tradition”

Dr. Spencer Annabel “Battlefield Medical Practices”

The Encampment closes at 4 p.m. Sunday.

“We have a really exciting schedule of activities again this year and we look forward to the same great crowds we enjoyed last year,” said Maxfield.

GCC’s Medina Campus Center is located at 11470 Maple Ridge Rd., Medina, New York 14103.