Civil War event on tap at Fort Indiantown Gap

By BRAD RHEN | Lebanon Daily News, Pa. | Published: August 20, 2013

Union and Confederate soldiers will do battle once again this weekend in Lebanon County.

The 93rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment will hold its annual Civil War weekend at Fort Indiantown Gap Saturday and Sunday. Re-enactors will begin setting up their camps Friday night, then there will be battles at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Dennis Shirk, captain of the 93rd regiment, estimates there will be about 100 soldiers on each side during the battles.

"We don't have the amount of men to put on a Gettysburg type of event, but it's just two opposing armies bumping into each other," he said.

In addition to the battles, there will be living-history displays and other Civil-War themed happenings both Saturday and Sunday.

"You can come in and walk through the camp and talk to the people there," Shirk said. "There will be merchants selling Civil War things."

The event will be held at Area A-22, directly behind the Blue Mountain Sports Complex along Fisher Avenue. This will be a different location than past years.

"The other one was out further, so if you weren't familiar with the Gap, you didn't know where it was," Shirk said.

"This one you can't miss."

There will also be a memorial service at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Walmer's Cemetery, which is adjacent to area A-22. Reenactors will start marching to the cemetery about 9:15.

"There's a lot of war veterans there (in the cemetery), but we honor the Civil War guys," Shirk said.

This is the 23rd year for the event. It was previously held at Stoever's Dam in Lebanon.

"It's a nice thing to do to remember all the Civil War veterans," Shirk said. "We're fortunate enough to get on Fort Indiantown Gap, a military base. It ties hand-in-hand -- we are a Pennsylvania unit on a Pennsylvania training site."

The original 93rd Pennsylvania Regiment was formed in the fall of 1861, with the majority of its members coming from Lebanon County, according to the re-enactors' website. The regiment took part in nine battles during the Civil War, including Williamsburg, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Gettysburg.

The current reenactor group 93rd has about 40 members from across Central Pennsylvania.

"To get everybody in one spot is tough," Shirk said. "Some guys gotta work Saturday mornings.

The event will be held rain or shine.

A donation of a non-perishable food item is asked for admission. The food will be donated to the Lebanon Rescue Mission.

Shirk suggests that anyone who attends the battles bring blankets and/or lawn chairs.

The 307th Civil Air Patrol squadron will operate a concession stand.


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