Monday, June 20, 2011

Civil War Camp to Decend on Landis Valley

They seemed like foreigners to those whose open spaces were shared by Union soldiers during the War Between the States. Men and women in their normal linen and hemp in shades of brown had to make way for men dressed in dark blue with yellow trims as they marched along our streets. Some of us sympathized with them and what they stood for, but others of us could see the viewpoint of the Southern cause as well.

They could be rowdy at times, but for the most part, they remained cloistered together on the edges of town. The only times that those of my parents' generation were disturbed by them were when they performed musket drills on the edge of town. The pops and booms brought the war uncomfortably close, though, thankfully, it never actually came to Landis Valley.

Food had to be rationed, so infantrymen didn't feast at the tavern every night. Instead, soldiers relied on hardtack and salted meats to keep them going, sometimes getting raisins and figs to stave off scurvy. They looked forward to stopping at verdant villages like ours so that they could replenish their supplies and tend to their wounded. This stressed the resources normally abundant here, but the scarred land healed once the soldiers were gone.

Landis Valley memorializes the sacrifices of both soldiers and civilians every year during its Civil War Day, giving visitors a unique perspective on a much-romanticized time in American History. It is held this year on Saturday, July 9. Visitors can join our resident historical interpreters as they work amidst bayonet and cavalry drills, musket firing demonstrations, and meal preparations. You can also tour the military camp or take a wagon ride around the site. Children and adults who want to participate can also join a musket drill. My brother, George, would have liked that.

Admission is $12 for adults; $10 for seniors; $8 for children 3-11; and children 2 & under are free. For more information on this event, call the Visitor Center at 717-569-0401 or visit our website at

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