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Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley plans trip

The “New Birth of Freedom Field Trip,” hosted by the Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley, will include Philadelphia’s historic district, which includes Independence National Historic Park and Independence Hall. (Photo Provided)

MARIETTA — Following the success of its fall field trip, the Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley is organizing its “Spring 2020 New Birth of Freedom Field Trip” in April.

The field trip will depart from Marietta and Parkersburg on April 23 and return April 26.

The destinations will include Valley Forge National Historic Park, Washington Crossing State Park, Independence National Historical Park and Independence Hall, Philadelphia’s Historic District, and Gettysburg National Military Park.

The purpose of repeating the trip is to accommodate all community members who expressed interest in the fall trip but were unable to participate. The field trip will feature several important Revolutionary and Civil War period sites in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, including Valley Forge, Washington Crossing, Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia’s historic district (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Gettysburg National Military Park.

The purpose of the field trip is to recognize the service and sacrifices of those with connections to the Mid-Ohio Valley region who served in these American Revolutionary or Civil War campaigns. Interpretation will be provided by Scott Britton, Executive Director of the Castle Historic House Museum in Marietta, based on original research, personal correspondence, published memoirs, official military records, and other resources.

Scott Britton, executive director of The Castle Historic House Museum in Marietta, and Steve Magnusen, author of “To My Best Girl: Courage, Honor and Love in the Civil War,” will provide interpretation at the Rail-Road Cut at Gettysburg National Military Park. (Photo Provided)

The field trip registration fee is $445 per guest for shared double-occupancy, or $565 for private accommodations. Registration is limited and will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. The fee includes round-trip charter bus transportation, hotel accommodations, interpretation, admissions to attractions except in Philadelphia’s historic district, guide to discovering Philadelphia’s historic district, local maps, suggested reading and viewing materials, recommended dining venues close to hotels, official visitors publications and more. For more information, contact Leight Murray at 740-706 2575 or Lmurray5154@gmail.com.

The featured destinations will include:

* Valley Forge National Historical Park, King of Prussia, Pa., where the Continental Army was reborn during the severe 1777-78 winter encampment.

* Washington Crossing State Park, Titusville, N.J., where General George Washington and 4,000 soldiers crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776 in the face of a winter tempest to surprise and capture the Hessian garrison at Trenton.

* Philadelphia’s historic district, the first U.S. capital, to explore Independence National Historic Park which features Independence Hall, many museums, historic homes, churches, cemeteries, neighborhood shops and restaurants. The designation celebrates Philadelphia where democracy was first established and its importance to world culture.

At Valley Forge National Historic Park, a victory arch incorporates an inscription from a letter written by General Washington while at Valley Forge: “Naked and starving as they are, We cannot enough admire, The incomparable Patience and Fidelity, of the soldiery.” (Photo Provided)

* Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pa., to understand the 1863 battle that helped turn the tide of the Civil War with emphasis on local soldiers who played pivotal roles during those three days at sites such as McPherson’s Woods, the Railroad Cut, Barlow’s Knoll, The Brickyard, The Wheatfield, Little Round Top, Cemetery Hill, Seminary Ridge, and The Angle.

* Gettysburg National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Pa., to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and participate in a flag ceremony to honor local soldiers who never came home.

Some important local figures who will be recognized at Valley Forge include Gen. James Mitchell Varnum, Gen. Arthur St. Clair, Col. James Neal, Lt. Col. Aaron Burr, Lt. Col. Ebenezer Sprout, Capt. John Doughty, Capt. Asher Allen, Lt. Anselm Tupper, Sgt. Johnson Cook, Chaplain Manasseh Cutler, Quartermaster Griffin Green, and Drummer Boy John Gray.

Varnum commanded the 1st Rhode Island Regiment and urged General Washington to permit freed African-American slaves to serve in the Continental Army. He served on the Board of Directors of the Ohio Company of Associates and was one of the first settlers to arrive in Marietta. He was one of two “supreme” judges appointed in the Northwest Territory and assisted Governor Arthur St. Clair in writing the first code of laws for the new territory. He is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Marietta.

Neal immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland and served with the Virginia Militia at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. He later came to the Mid-Ohio Valley as a surveyor and in 1785 returned with family to establish a block house named Neal’s Station on the site of the current City of Parkersburg. His family is memorialized as the “First permanent settlers of Wood County”. Neal is buried in Tavenner Cemetery, Parkersburg.

The visit to the Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, N.J., will include viewing the crossing site, a presentation on Revolutionary War military tactics and a firing demonstration conducted by park staff. (Photo Provided)

Johnson enlisted in the 4th Connecticut Regiment in 1777 and fought for six years. His discharge papers, signed by General Washington, state, “As a patriot, he was a hero’s hero.” He was wounded 10-times, twice taken prisoner, and a member of the ‘Forelorn Hope’ that led the assault on Stony Point, a key British position on the Hudson River. 17 of 20 who participated in the assault with Cook perished in the attack. Cook emigrated to Ohio in 1796, settled in Marietta, and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Lancaster.

In addition, these local figures will be honored for their roles at Gettysburg, including Ohio Governor John Brough, Brig. Gen. Rufus R. Dawes, Brig. Gen. Adoniram J. Warner, Capt. James Huntington, 1st Lt. George Nixon, 1st. Lt. George Norton, Corporal Francis Asbury Waller, Corporal James Holland, Private Hugh O’Neill, and Drummer Boy George Enderlin.

Marietta’s Dawes was working for his family’s timber enterprise in Wisconsin when Fort Sumter was fired upon. He promptly organized the 6th Wisconsin Infantry which became one of five regiments in the Iron Brigade. Under Dawes’ command the 6th Wisconsin played pivotal roles at both the Railroad Cut on the first day and then repelled Confederate attacks on Culp’s Hill on the second day at Gettysburg.

Cemetery Hill and East Cemetery Hill comprise much of the important “high ground” at Gettysburg and was the site of bloody, hand-to-hand fighting late in the evening on the second day. Several local units fought here including Battery C, 1st WV Light Artillery (Hill’s Battery), and, Battery H, 1st Ohio Light Artillery (Norton’s Battery). Both units were recruited largely from Washington and Wood Counties. The 7th WV Infantry, or “Bloody 7th”, under the command of Lt. Col. Jonathan Lockwood was sent here by General Hancock to hold the Union position. The Bloody 7th fought valiantly among the Union artillery here to drive Hays’ Louisiana Tigers from the position and to end fighting on the second day.

O’Neill, another Marietta resident, served in Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery, which held a key position at the Bloody Angle on the third day of battle. The battery was led by a 22-year old commander, Lt. Alonzo Cushing.

Although wounded twice, Cushing refused to leave the field and stood with the help of his sergeant to shout orders. As Confederate forces swarmed the position during Pickett’s Charge, Cushing was struck in the mouth by a bullet and died instantly. Still, the unit inflicted severe casualties and ultimately repelled the Confederate attack. Cushing is buried at West Point and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014.

Wayne Towner can be reached at wtowner@newsandsentinel.com

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