By Larry S. Weatherford
The organizer of an event at the Historic David Stewart Farm June 29th and 30th, and July 1st said that the 155th Battle of Gettysburg “A Living History” will focus on education and historical accuracy.
According to Harry Sonntag, “This event is being held because we have heard so many people ask for a participant planned event. They don’t want something presented by promoters. Visitors and participants have envisioned an event based on education. As a long-time reenactor and living historian, I listened, and I heard them.”
Sonntag said that visitors will find a unique historical experience, as they interact with Federals and Confederates. Along with the Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry, there will be Generals from both sides, Presidents Lincoln and Davis, spies, medical presentations, and civilians. An activities area will be set aside for young people, along with a Speaker’s Tent with presentations and programs focusing on various aspects of the Gettysburg campaign. A battle will be staged each day, planned by participants. A Sutlers’ village will be on site along with local food vendors. For the reenactors and living history presenters, there will be a Saturday night dance, and other activities coordinated by the participants themselves. Reenactors who are also planning to attend the GAC the following weekend may stay at the Stewart Farm until the opening of the other event.
The event hosts are Civil War Historical Impressions, the 2nd Corps Field Hospital CSA and the Dixie Rose Relief Society. Information on the event for visitors, and a registration form for participants can be found online at www.CWHI.org and the Civil War Historical Impressions Facebook page.
Sonntag said, “With education and accuracy in mind, we want to enable families to learn about our country’s history in a fair and unbiased manner, and at an affordable price. Admission will be only $20.00 per car load.” The event will be open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. The organizers say that secure and ample parking for visitors and participants will be available.
The David Stewart Farm is located about four miles from the center of Gettysburg on Fairfield Road (PA Route 116) near the Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church. The Stewart Farm served as a Confederate Field Hospital from July 4th until early August of 1863.
Civil War Historical Impressions, Inc. was formed in 2014 to teach America’s History from the perspectives of the North and South through first person impressions, living history demonstrations and battlefield reenactments. In addition, CWHI raises funding for the preservation of historical sites and cemeteries, National Park Service locations and independent educational programs. The funds from this Gettysburg Anniversary event will go toward those purposes.
Sonntag, who is the founder and president of CWHI, has presented in hundreds of venues, including National Park programs, historical sites, memorial services and most of the 150th Anniversary events also visits Veterans’ Hospitals and regional events. CWHI conducts programs in several NPS sites including Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Antietam, Fort Sumter, Chancellorsville and the Wilderness. First person portrayals and individual unit demonstrations are presented at those locations.
The organizers said that in an effort to provide a secure venue, and to keep participants and visitors safe, no backpacks or coolers will be permitted inside the event, and security will be in place.