Strike The Tent...
28 March 2011
  Civil War in the News
Andrew Carnegie Free Library YouTube Channel
Historical reenactors bring Civil War to life at Davis-Shai House (OH)
Burns documentary reissued for Civil War anniversary (MA)
Virginians share fragile relics for Civil War's 150th anniversary (VA)
Framingham Civil War gen. gets Facebook page (MA)
New Research Questions Who in the Confederacy Had the Most War Dead

Civil war history in California (CA)
  "Railroads of the Civil War" Author to Speak at RRMPA

Railroads—already firmly entrenched in American culture and moving the nation through the industrial age and toward world prominence—took on a new role during the Civil War: that of major weapon.
Trains moved troops, functioned as mobile artillery and were crucial in supplying food and munitions to both sides of the conflict. In his new book and in his presentation, author Michael Leavy illuminates the role of railroads in the Civil War through compelling period photographs and drawings, as well as a narrative rich in details, not only about trains and ancillary equipment but also how they influenced the outcome of battles and the war in general.
Michael Leavy is a professional artist, specializing in mural painting, and
the author of nine books on history. You won’t want to miss this program! Mr. Leavy will be available to sign his book both for one hour before and one hour after the program.

Regular Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania admission rates will apply to attend this program. Program seating will be on a first come, first serve basis of availability.
24 March 2011
  Louis Erdman, Chief Bugler, 5th NY Cavalry

My great great grandfather, Louis Erdman, was employed at the Burden Iron Works (the largest supplier of horseshoes to the Union Army) in Troy, NY in October, 1862 when he enlisted with the Co. M, 5th New York Cavalry as a bugler. He was an immigrant from Germany, 28 years old, with a wife and 1 year old son Albert at home in Berlin, NY. He joined for service and was enrolled for 3 years on October 21, 1862 in Albany, NY, and was mustered in on October 30, 1862. He was 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighed 127 pounds, and was listed as having a dark complexion, grey eyes, and dark hair. Company muster rolls indicate his status as "not stated" from November 1, 1862 to February 1, 1863, but the rolls show him as a "recruit from depot" gain on February 4, 1863 in New York City, and soon afterward joined up with Company M in Virginia doing outpost under command of Brigadier General Julius H. Stahel. He was reported as "Absent (sick)" in Fairfax, Virginia on February 28, 1863.
He then participated in the following skirmishes and campaigns: New Baltimore, VA; Warrenton, VA; Spotted Tavern, VA; Aldie, VA; Fairfax Courthouse, VA; Little River Turnpike, VA; Broad Run, VA; White Plains, VA; Warrenton Junction, VA; Shannon Hill, VA; Fairfax Courthouse, VA; Marsteller's Place, VA; Greenwich, VA; Snicker's Gap, VA; Middleburg, VA; Warrenton, VA; Hanover, PA; Gettysburg, PA; Monterey, PA; Smithsburg, MD; Hagerstown, MD; Boonsboro, MD; Hagerstown, MD; Williamsport, MD; Falling Waters, MD; Ashby's Grove, VA; Lamb's Creek, VA; Port Conway, VA; and Brandy Station, VA. He was promoted to Chief Bugler, F&S, 5th Ny Cavalry on July 22nd, 1863.
On September 13, 1863, he crossed the Rappahannock with the 5th at Kelly's Ford, and the same day fought at the battle of Culpeper Court House, where he was captured by elements of Lomax's Brigade(5th, 6th, & 15th VA and 1st MD Cavalry) who were guarding a train (maybe that's why I work at a railroad museum) being loaded with supplies.
He was first sent to Richmond VA on September 17, 1863. He spent time in the prison hospital on Belle Island on November 21, 1863 and again on December 12, 1863. He was then sent to Andersonville, GA on February 21, 1864. He again was hospitalized from March 11-14, 1864, when he was returned to the general population of the prison. More hospital time was recorded on June 7, 1864, and he was not to return to the prison.
Louis Erdman died in the hospital at Andersonville July 18, 1864 from dysentery and associated diarrhea. He was buried in grave # 3552 under the name "L. Edmonds."
22 March 2011
  "Strike the Tent" Added to "Best of" List

I am truly appreciative that "Strike the Tent..." has been added to Civil War Interactive's "Guide to the Best of the Civil War Blogs" list. I do agree with their assesment, I really need to do more original writing on here, but to be added to a second what I call "National" website (The Civil War Trust added this blog earlier this year) makes me feel like I'm heading in the right direction. Thanks again, Civil War Interactive!!
17 March 2011
  Carnegie Library Marks Civil War Sesquicentennial
For Immediate Release

Contact: Maggie Forbes,
412-276-3456, Ext. 6

“April is the cruelest month.” So wrote T.S. Eliot in “The Wasteland;” students of American history would agree. The Civil War began (April 12, 1861) and ended (April 9, 1865), and Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865 and died the next day.
April 2011 marks the sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War. The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall (ACFL&MH) has developed a rich roster of day and evening of public programming on April 30 that will examine many aspects of this defining chapter in the nation’s history.

The ACFL&MH is home to a rare Civil War room, which is the inspiration for April’s programming. The Captain Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic has been documented by scholars as probably the most intact GAR post in the country. In the late 19th century, there were nearly 7,000 posts across America.
Veterans of the Civil War custom-furnished a room at the Library and met there from 1906 until the late-1930s, when the last member of the Post died. The room, along with its original furnishings and artifacts including flags, weapons, books, prints and other items relating to the Civil War, had been locked and essentially forgotten for decades. The room re-opened following a meticulous restoration on the 201st anniversary of Lincoln’s birth in February 2010.

The Library & Music Hall has been offering annual Civil War programming since 2006, the centennial of the Espy Post’s move to the Library. However, this year’s programming has grown so much that it will take place at two sites: at the ACFL&MH and at nearby Carnegie Park.

“We wanted to do something special for the sesquicentennial,” says executive director Maggie Forbes. “Fortunately, our library director, Diane Klinefelter, is a Civil War historian with all the right connections. The programming has really taken off!” The Library & Music Hall hopes to build on the heightened public interest during the sesquicentennial years to establish its Civil War programming as an annual event anticipated by Civil War enthusiasts, re-enactors and the public alike.
Carnegie Park will be the site if an encampment, skirmishes and artillery demonstrations. Union and Confederate troops will re-enact skirmishes from Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. “Hopefully, the neighbors will be forewarned about the canon blasts,” laughs Klinefelter. Working with members of the 9th PA Reserves – and the research skills of a professional librarian -- Klinefelter has put together a series of safety precautions to govern the re-enactments. The Library & Music Hall is coordinating the event with the cooperation of the Carnegie Police and Public Works Departments.

Members of the 9th Pennsylvania Reserves will staff touring stations at the park, providing information on Civil War Medicine, Infantry, Artillery, Small Arms and Recruiting. To create a social context of the times, the Pittsburgh Franklins will play a game of vintage base ball (sic) as it was played in 1860.

At the Library & Music Hall, ongoing tours of the Espy Post will be enhanced with exhibits, a film, a talk, a Victorian tea and a ball. “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” a documentary film (which had its Pittsburgh premiere at the ACFL&MH in November 2010) tells the story of Sgt. Richard Rowland Kirkland, a Confederate soldier who gave aid to the Union wounded following the battle of Fredericksburg. Michael Aubrecht, a Greentree native, historian and author of the film, will talk on “The Gallant Boys of the PA 123rd.” Aubrecht’s talk will examine the role of this Pennsylvania regiment in the devastating 1862 Union defeat at Fredericksburg.
Exhibits include “Guns of Gettysburg,” a collection of the guns used at Gettysburg; original vintage photographs of Western Pennsylvania soldiers from Ronn Palm’s Museum of Civil War images; and “Civil War Memories,” photographs of re-enactors taken by James E. Meldrum. Members of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall USCT Drum Corps will perform at 12:00 and 2:45 p.m.

As an antidote to all the war and weapons, a Victorian Tea will take place at 1:00 p.m. in the ACFL&MH’s Reception Hall. In the evening the Reception Hall will be transformed for a Civil War Ball. Music will be performed by the Susquehanna Travellers and the dances will be “called” by Heather Nichols. Period attire is strongly encouraged for those attending the Ball, which begins at 8:00 p.m.

Sutlers (civilian merchants) will display their wares and food will be available in the ACFL&MH’s lower level. All programming is free and open to the public except for the tea ($12) and ball ($20/$30 per couple) for which tickets are required. A free shuttle will take visitors back and forth between the Library & Music Hall, Carnegie Park and ancillary parking at the Main Street parking lot (across from the old Post Office).There is limited parking at the ACFL&MH and no parking at the Park during the re-enactment.

A schedule of the programming is attached. Visit for more information or tickets. Interviews can be arranged with the many people participating in April 30’s Civil War programming. ACFL&MH Civil War programming is made possible through a generous grant from the Massey Charitable Trust.
  New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association News
For Immediate Release

March 14, 2011

Contacts: Dr. David Martin: New Jersey Civil War Heritage Assn President:

Author Joseph G. Bilby to speak on the newest publication in the NJ Civil War 150th Committee’s series

(Hightstown, NJ) With the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War rapidly approaching, the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association will mark the occasion at its annual meeting on Saturday March 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM. The meeting will be held at 225 West State Street (corner of Calhoun and West State), the building that houses the New Jersey State Archives and the New Jersey State Museum’s Civil War Flag collection. The public is cordially invited to attend.

Following a brief business meeting to conduct trustee elections and detail the organization’s projects, including the plans of its New Jersey Civil War 150 Committee, designated the official state Civil War sesquicentennial organization by both governor and legislature, Joseph G. Bilby, the committee’s publications editor, will give a presentation on the committee’s forthcoming book, New Jersey's Civil War Odyssey.

The book, the committee’s third publication in a year, is an anthology of essays on the state’s Civil War experience from 1850 to 196 . Following the meeting, at approx 12:30 PM, Dr. David Martin will give a brief guided tour of the New Jersey Civil War Flags Gallery.

For more information, about the meeting, the NJ Civil War 150 Committee, the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association, and their publications, see
  New Book on New Jersey’s Civil War Black Soldiers

For Immediate Release

March 2, 2010

Contact: Joseph G. Bilby, (732) 539-1666

With the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War fast approaching, Longstreet House Publishing announces the publication of “Freedom to All”: New Jersey’s African-American Civil War Soldiers, by Joseph G. Bilby. The book details the story of the state’s black soldiers in the Civil War, and also addresses African-American military service in New Jersey before and after the conflict, from Revolutionary War militiamen to the state’s segregated First Separate Militia Battalion of the 1930s and the post-World War II New Jersey National Guard, which, in 1948, led the nation in integrating its military force.

Most Civil War African-American New Jersey soldiers served in the regiments of the United States Colored Troops organized at Camp William Penn outside Philadelphia. Perhaps the most famous of these regiments was the 22nd United States Colored Infantry, a unit that broke the Confederate line at Petersburg in June, 1864, fought through the siege of Petersburg, was one of the first Union units to enter Richmond, marched in President Lincoln’s funeral parade in Washington, participated in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and served on occupation and border guard duty in Texas before returning home for discharge in the fall of 1865.

Bilby relates the histories of the Camp William Penn regiments with large numbers of Jerseymen in their ranks, as well as the stories of individual members of those units. The book also includes a list of over 1,300 black Civil War veteran burials in the Garden State, which includes the last surviving New Jersey Civil War veteran, Sergeant George Ashby of the 45th United States Colored Infantry, who died in 1946.

Mr. Bilby is the author or editor of thirteen other books on New Jersey and Civil War history. He received his BA and MA degrees in history from Seton Hall University and served as a lieutenant in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1966-1967. He is retired from his job as Supervising Investigator at the New Jersey Department of Labor, currently works part time as assistant curator of the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt and is a member and publications editor of the official New Jersey Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee.

Copies are available online at or from

Longstreet House,
PO Box 730
Hightstown, NJ 08520
for $20 plus $5 shipping.

For autographed copies contact the author.

Discounts are available to book dealers and historical societies.
  Civil War Trust Has New Campaign to Save More of Gettysburg

A note from Jim Lighthizer, President of the Civil War Trust:
"Ten different color bearers from the 26th North Carolina, including their "boy colonel", Henry Burgwyn had been killed or grievously wounded holding aloft the regiment's colors.

Despite suffering enormous casualties in their fight with the 24th Michigan and the rest of the Iron Brigade, Lt. Col. J.R. Lane lifted the flag once more and yelled, "twenty-sixth, follow me!" The fight for the Herbst Woods proved to be the bloodiest regimental fight in the Civil War's bloodiest battle. The 26th North Carolina and the 24th Michigan each suffered more than 73% casualties at Gettysburg and each suffered more casualties than any other regiments in their respective armies.

Now we have the opportunity to save the very ground on which the Iron Brigade and the 26th North Carolina trod during their epic struggle on July 1, 1863. Having the chance to finally save this long sought-over section of the First Day battlefield, along with the 9-acre Josiah Benner House property makes this one of the most exciting preservation campaigns we’ve ever pursued.

Gettysburg 2011 Preservation Campaign
Acres: 104 acres
Total Cost: $2,005,000
Civil War Trust Fundraising Goal: $70,000
Match: $29 to $1
Match Sources: National Park Service, Large Donor

So if we can raise $70,000, we will help save $2.05 million worth - 104 acres - of irreplaceable Gettysburg battlefield land. What a way to kick off the Sesquicentennial, and what a legacy!

I know that’s a lot of money in these still-uncertain times; and certainly I don’t want to become over-confident. But that is a fantastic $29-to-$1 return on your donation dollar!

Lastly, if you can send a gift of at least $30 in the next 30 days, it will be my honor to send to you as a thank you gift, our new Civil War Trust cap, embroidered with our updated logo."

Very sincerely yours,

Jim Lighthizer
President, Civil War Trust

For more information, visit
08 March 2011
  A Small Task for Readers...

I am reposting this blog entry form November 30, 2010 to try to get the numbers up for Civil War movies and for my friend, Patrick Gorman. Follow the directions in the post, and let's get the numbers way up there!!

Here’s a proposition for readers of "Strike The Tent." I am asking all the "GETTYSBURG" and "GODS & GENERALS" fans to go on-line to IMDB and click on those films, AND my friend Patrick Gorman in the cast. Although THE LAST FULL MEASURE is unlikely to come to the screen, we still want more Civil War films, right?

They have made BAND OF BROTHERS and THE PACIFIC, now we want a 10-part series on HBO about the Civil War!!! TO APPOMATTOX... is coming but…

If you hit/click on his name on IMDB you also boost his rating as an actor - he deserves it - BUT it serves us all because we all want more Civil War based stories on film.

Go on-line and log on to the Internet Movie DataBase.
At the top in SEARCH, type in his name, Patrick Gorman">then hit GO.
The Patrick Gorman listing will pop up.
Under his pictures is a choice of clicking on his name or "GETTYSBURG."
Click on "GETTYSBURG."
The film site comes up.
Scroll down "cast".
Find Patrick Gorman and click.
His site pops up again.
The same works for "GODS & GENERALS."
Or, you can do it the lazy way and just click on his name anywhere in this posting....
Do this as often as you want. The ratings change weekly so it’s on-going.
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