Civil War re-enactors celebrate anniversary of 141st PVI
Local Civil War re-enactors celebrated the 150th anniversary of the commissioning of the 141st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Sunday with a recreation of that day's events.
The infantry, which included several companies from Bradford County, was made a bona fide military organization on Aug. 29, 1862 in a ceremony at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg, said re-enactor Kurt Lafy, portraying the first lieutenant of Company A.
The commissioning ceremony started at about 1 p.m., following a cannon demonstration at noon. Attendees, several of whom were descendants of members of the infantry, also asked questions of the re-enactors and viewed an antique quilt display and small museum highlighting the 141st in a barn on the East Smithfield property where Company A camped.
After the regiment, led by colonel Henry Madill, was commissioned and each man enlisted, the company mustered into service and almost immediately began to work on drills. The group had little military experience at the outset, Lafy said.
On Sunday, the unit then marched across a hill until they were no longer visible over the horizon, save for the flag held by the company's color bearer. A cannon then fired, and taps was played.
This was the second day of re-enacting for the 141st and members of the 4th U.S. Light Artillery. Participants took part in a field day Saturday, participating in drills, a dress parade, demonstrations and competitions.
The 141st Pennsylvania Volunteers were made up of units from Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wayne counties, Lafy said. The regiment began with 1,000 men, a number swiftly reduced by disease and accidental causes before its first battle.
By the time the regiment was to participate in the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, only about 200 men remained active. However, the soldiers were passionate about "going to defend their state," Lafy said. The unit came out of the battle with only 30 active members, he said.
However, the regiment's numbers climbed again as sick and wounded soldiers healed and returned, Lafy said. The 141st went on to participate in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor and Petersburg.
State Rep. Tina Pickett, who spoke at Sunday's ceremony, said nearly every family in the county was affected by the absence of Bradford County's soldiers during the Civil War. However, the men were passionate about joining the infantry, she said.
One man, about 60 years of age, claimed to be younger in order to join, she said. Another family - a father and eight sons - all enlisted at once.
"Their dedication and sacrifice made this regiment strong," she said.
For more information on the 141st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Company A, visit www.141pvi.us.
Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: email@example.com.