Once again the Geneva Historical Society and the Reynolds' Battery L 1st New York Light Artillery will host a Civil War Encampment on the grounds of the Rose Hill Mansion. The Encampment will run 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 8. Admission is $3 per person for one day and $5 for a weekend pass. Children 6 and under are free. Guided tours of Rose Hill Mansion will be available for an additional $2 per person.
The reenactors of Reynold's Battery portray Union Artillery (the troops servicing mounted firearms, such as cannon) and civilians. Encampment activities will include cannon drills and firing demonstrations, U.S. Signal Corps demonstrations, talks on women's roles in the war and the songs of the Civil War, a period fashion show of civilian and military attire, and many opportunities to interact with the camp members.
Visitors may tour the camp, speak with the company surgeon, stop by the camp kitchen, and receive hands-on instructions in artillery drills. On Saturday the members of the 1st Maryland will demonstrate period dancing and visitors are encouraged to participate. On Sunday, there will be a period church service and both days will feature camp life scenarios, a display by the Sons of Union Veterans, and children's games and activities.
A new addition to this year's encampment will be a small display on Geneva and the Civil War featuring information from the Society collection. Members of the Society's Women's Council will sell hot dogs and drinks and the Geneva Historical Society and the Book Nook will be selling Civil War and history books.
On Sunday only, the Excelsior Cornet Band, Central New York's only authentic Civil War Brass Band will perform. Founded in 2001, the band consists of seven Syracuse-area professional musicians who are dedicated to the performance of Civil War era music using instruments of the period. The performers wear authentic reproductions of Civil War militia uniforms and Eastman School of Music graduate Jeff Stockham leads the band. The Excelsior Cornet Band will perform at 1:30pm on Sunday. The performance is sponsored in part by Seneca Falls Savings Bank.
John A. Reynolds organized the original Reynolds' Battery in Rochester in the fall of 1861. The soldiers served with the Army of the Potomac through the end of the war and saw action at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Overland Campaign and the siege of Petersburg. The current Reynolds' Battery is certified by the New York State Department of Education as an educational organization. Its members are committed to educating the public about the Civil War through their reenactments and demonstrations.
For an additional discount, those who see the movie Cold Mountain on Thursday, Aug. 5, or Friday, Aug. 6, at the Smith Opera House will receive a pass for $1 off admission to the encampment. Visitors to the Civil War Encampment on Saturday or Sunday will receive a $1-off coupon for Cold Mountain on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, Aug 8, 9 or 10.
For more information about the encampment or Reynolds' Battery, call the Historical Society office at 789-5151. For information about Cold Mountain, call the Smith Opera House at 315-789-8687.
The Geneva Historical Society receives major funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the New York Council for the Humanities and the Town and City of Geneva.