150 years ago, America was embroiled in a horrible war with itself that cost the lives of at least 700,000 troops on both sides. Though battles never reached New York State, thousands of young men were thrown into the war and the miseries of 19th century military life, and their families were deeply affected as well.
On August 25 and 26, 148th Regiment NYVI (New York Volunteer Infantry) representatives, many Civil War veteran descendants, came to Ithaca, NY to set up a “living history” military camp for the public to visit and learn about this part of our history from the perspective of central New York soldiers and families.
I visited the encampment yesterday, and I found the experience profound, as I was able to learn more about my own Civil War ancestor, Lt. Col. Gilbert A. Draper, from the 159th Regiment from the Hudson Valley, who died in the Battle of Irish Bend near New Orleans in April 1863. My middle name is Draper. My brother has a portrait of him in uniform, while my cousin has his pistol and sword.
I have made a short video (3 min. 49 sec.) of the encampment centering on an interview with Caren Cleaveland and showing musket and canon fire, among other things demonstrated at the camp. The encampment continues for the rest of this afternoon (August 26).