Blue Mountain Lake The Adirondack Museum will host an interactive Civil War program July 20-22.
The event will feature the 118th New York Volunteer Infantry re-enactors and Abraham Lincoln impersonator John R. Baylis, bringing a slice of Civil War life into the present. North Creek resident Glenn Pearsall will give a special presentation at 7 p.m. July 21 highlighting the many links between the Adirondack region and Civil War history.
The re-enactment will be a thoroughly immersive experience. Over the course of the weekend, visitors can watch the 118th, also known as the “Adirondack Regiment,” participate in skits and military drills. They can also view artillery displays and listen to Baylis’ Lincoln describe his life and presidency. Visitors will be able to speak directly with the actors, both soldiers and civilians, and children may participate in a drill of their own.
“We teach through interaction,” said Peter Gilbert Jr., commander of the 118th.
Pearsall’s Saturday presentation is the product of two years’ worth of research into Civil War and Adirondack history. Though the war was fought in the South, many of the Union army’s soldiers came from New York. Pearsall’s presentation will include photographs and firsthand accounts from the men who served in New York regiments. Members of the 118th Volunteer Infantry will read their diary entries and letters out loud.
Pearsall first presented “The Adirondacks Go To War: 1861-1865” at the Tannery Pond Community Center in September 2011. It focused on 175 men connected to Johnsburg who fought in the war. The 118th Regiment was also present at that event. Pearsall expanded the presentation for the Adirondack Museum. While much of the information will be the same, he’s included stories about soldiers and units from other areas of the Adirondacks, including the 22nd, 93rd, 96th, and 115th regiments.
The entire weekend is the product of much passion and dedication on the parts of Pearsall and the 118th Regiment. Not only are many of the actors veterans, several are descended from Civil War soldiers. 1st Corporal Daniel Reandeau’s ancestor, Lewis Benware, was one of the first 500 prisoners of war held at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.
Pearsall’s interest has been cultivated for nearly a lifetime.
“I’ve been researching and reading about the Civil War since 3rd grade, when I was 8,” Pearsall said. “I’m 63 now.”
For more information about the event, contact the Adirondack Museum at 352-7311 or visit www.adkmuseum.org.