Civil War Encampment Returns to GCC Medina

New this Year: Education Day, Heritage Heroes Awards, Film Review

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Photograph from last year’s Civil War Encampment

BATAVIA, NY (03/14/2014)(readMedia)-- If history is any indication, the weather should be gorgeous for GCC's annual Civil War Encampment at the Medina Campus Center. Last year the event was blessed with abundant sunshine and warmth, but come rain or shine this year's event is set for Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27, 2014. Several new activities, awards and events are part of this year's program, including a visit by acclaimed Civil War filmmaker Ron Maxwell and a screening of his film "Copperhead."

Friday, April 25, 2014 has been designated as Education Day at the Encampment. Open exclusively to students from local school districts, a series of exhibits will help the students learn about life during the Civil War, including medical tools, military artifacts and a live demonstration of the cooking from that era. The students will have an opportunity to recite Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address to their peers.

At 7:00 p.m. Friday evening, Encampment organizers will present the first Orleans County Heritage Heroes Awards. These awards will recognize Orleans County residents who are tireless advocates in preserving local history.

The public is invited to Breakfast with the Generals at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, April 26. Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet, and Union General Ulysses S. Grant will meander through downtown Medina restaurants, meeting and shaking hands with the local residents as they stroll about. Abraham Lincoln is also expected to make an appearance just in time for the start of the Medina Parade which begins at 10:00 a.m. abeam the Medina Fire Station on Park Avenue and ends at Boxwood Cemetery. There will be a brief memorial ceremony at the Cemetery honoring Medina's Civil War soldiers.

From 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m., visitors can attend a Genealogy Workshop, listen to a Fife & Drum concert, tour Union and Confederate Camps or meet Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Grant. From 1:00 - 2:00 p.m., local writer Bill Kauffman will appear in the Central Tent with filmmaker Ron Maxwell. Kauffman wrote the screenplay for Maxwell's film "Copperhead," the third of his Civil War films which also include "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals." The film "Copperhead" will be shown inside the Medina Campus Center from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Saturday evening.

Both Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. re-enactors will engage in mock combat battle for approximately an hour. "These battles are truly representative of those that occurred during the Civil War," said Encampment coordinator and GCC assistant history professor Derek Maxfield. "Re-enactors go to great lengths to be authentic in their dress, their weapons as well as their actions. It's definitely something to see."

Visitors can also enjoy seeing more formal attire when Donna LaValle gives a presentation on Victorian fashion Saturday afternoon. The public is welcome to don late 19th century dress and enjoy the Victorian Cotillion in the Central Tent from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. Saturday night. City Fiddle, a Buffalo group, will be performing period music in costume. "This group is particularly good and always a favorite among the re-enactors," said Maxfield. Saturday's events close at 10:00 p.m.

Confederate chaplain Sava Toufexis will lead a Civil War era religious service Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. in the Central Tent. Additional talks and demonstrations are planned throughout the day including:

• Tom Schobert portraying General Robert E. Lee

• Adam Tabelski "Col. Edwin Franklin Brown: A Life of Service"

• Prof. Garth Swanson "Pirates or Patriots: The Confederate Navy and the American Naval Tradition"

• Dr. Spencer Annabel "Battlefield Medical Practices"

The Encampment closes at 4:00 p.m. Sunday. "We have a really exciting schedule of activities again this year and we look forward to the same great crowds we enjoyed last year," said Maxfield.

The Encampment is part of GCC's highly successful Civil War Initiative (CWI). The College has organized lectures, exhibits, and other events to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which was fought from 1861-1865. For the latest information on events and activities associated with the CWI, check out the website or contact assistant professor Derek Maxfield at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6288 or

GCC's Medina Campus Center is located at 11470 Maple Ridge Rd., Medina, New York 14103.

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Editor's Note:

Photographs from last year's Civil War Encampment are available here: