The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

February 1, 2013

GCC preps Civil War initiative

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — Genesee Community College officials unveiled the plans for this semester’s Civil War initiative, which will culminate in a three-day encampment at the GCC Medina campus.

The college has dedicated a series of programs to the “War Between the States” in recent years, including an encampment at GCC Lima last year. This spring the focus will be in Medina, where exhibits, lectures and other programs will be held in the coming months.

GCC Instructor of History Derek Maxfield said Medina was chosen for this year’s event due to the local commitment to preserving the village’s history.

“We saw groups like the Sandstone Society, Orleans Renaissance Group and the Medina Railroad Museum and a community really into their history,” Maxfield said at a gathering of college staff and Civil War re-enactors Wednesday. “It’s the perfect fit.”

The encampment, held from April 26 to 28, will highlight a notable part of local history, as re-enactors will portray members of the 28th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Simon Taylor, one of the re-enactors, said 85 to 90 men from Medina formed one of the regiment’s companies, fighting at Bull Run, Antietam and Chancellorsville in the early years of the war.

“They were some of the first to volunteer,” Taylor said. “These were people who lived locally, many are buried at Boxwood Cemetery and have descendants here.”

That group will engage in two days of tightly-scripted, historically-accurate engagements with another group representing the 34th North Carolina Infantry Regiment in the land behind the campus as part of the free festivities.

”Aside from a re-enactment event in Oswego, this is the farthest north the Confederacy has gone,” Tom Bowers, a local re-enactor, noted.

 Their camps will be open to the public, with portrayals of camp life. Demonstrations of artillery, spinning blacksmithing will be held on-site, along with games and a mock-battlefield operation. A cotillion ball featuring period celebrations and dress is also scheduled.

”We want to educate, inspire and entertain,” Bowers said.

One just-announced event is a parade through the village on April 27.

GCC Medina will host a trio of free public lectures in lead-up to the main event, starting with Bowers’ “A Lifetime of Re-enacting” at 7 p.m. on Feb. 12. Peter Francione will present “The Evolution of the Union Cavalry” on March 5; Dan Hamner will present “Native Americans and the Civil War” on April 12.

Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.