Apologies to my readers for not writing this journal two months ago. The weekend of July 25, I drove myself out north of Harrisburg to meet Dave, a friend of mine who has been in my Bucktail regiment for over twenty years. He had invited me to the annual reunion for reenactors of the 42nd, 149th and 150th Pennsylvania Bucktail infantry. It was held in Philipsburg this year, which is about 4 and a half hours from where I live. He was awesome enough to let me spend the night at his place, after driving three hours on a Friday night after work, into an area of central PA in which I had never traveled.
The trip to the small town where Dave lives was in the mountains, and I passed Fort Indiantown Gap and crossed the Appalachian trail on the way out there. Driving down a steep incline after dark, in a lightless rural area with lots of deer was a bit scary. Not something I normally do. (Route 81 North was also under construction and only had one lane open with walls on either side, trucks used this road and there was no way to pass; and no shoulder except for a pull off every one or two miles) I'm glad I made it without incident.
Dave is a fireman, and his house had a nice collection of vintage fire gear and helmets. His wife also collects antique railroad lanterns. His friendly dog and two kids were happy to see me. I slept on his couch and we packed the car and left for Philipsburg early Saturday morning.
These reunions are held in a different town each year, usually places of historical significance to these three regiments. Philipsburg and the nearby town of Duncannon are two places which held recruiting offices where the Bucktails were mustered in. We stopped on the way out there to see the tavern used as the 42nd PA's recruiting post, and America's oldest sled factory in Duncannon. They offered tours but the place was closed. I took a picture of each, but these are buried in my phone somewhere and I will post these later.
The site chosen for this year's reunion was at the Wagon Wheel Ampitheater, where country music festivals are often held. There was some picnic pavilions and an outdoor stage where we got to enjoy some live music Saturday night.
I know I write a lot, so without further ado, here are the highlights of the weekend in pictures and some brief captions.
|The flags are just painted on duct tape.|
|As a souvenir of the event, we each got a silk ribbon like the ones the actual veterans had from their reunions, and a copy of the original recruiting poster.|
|Dave's son and I had the only two shebangs at the event.|
|This banner has been around since the first reenactors' reunion for our regiment. The guys brought out all the old ribbons and pinned them on. It was cool to see how unique each one was.|
|Saturday night we had a big bonfire. The normal camp rules were somewhat relaxed, as evident by the plastic chair. The site owner gave us a truck wheel rim to use for a fire pit and it looks like we were burning scrap lumber.|
|Sunday morning we went to the cemetery and gave our respects to the men of the real Bucktails. We found the graves of each soldier of the 42nd, 149th or 150th PA buried there and read each soldier's story, laid a wreath and did a 21 gun salute.|
|This one was of a man the guy in this picture had spent 15 years searching for. He was not a soldier, but a freed slave and wagon driver of the Bucktails who went by the name of Elijah Onley.|