Allison-Antrim Museum will be a go-to place for skirmish

We pass by it often going north of U.S. 11 just outside Greencastle, but this weekend the Corporal Rihl Momument will no doubt get more attention as the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil Ware gets underway in Greencastle. Rihl was the first Union solider killed north of the Mason Dixon line. This photo is from the G.A.R. dedication ceremony in 1886.

“We’ll be ready,” said Bonnie Shockey last week, still in the middle of last minute preparations for Skirmish on the Square. As board president for the Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc., site of many activities during the April 7 to 10 event, she has been involved in the planning from Day One. She is a member of the Greencastle Sesquicentennial Committee, which met regularly since January.

Special guests

Thursday A-AMI will host its speaker series at Evangelical Lutheran Church, with Daniel Carroll Toomey, a substitute for John Miller, listed in the advance publicity. Toomey is an author, lecturer and museum curator. He will speak on “The War Came by Train: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad During the Civil War.”

Friday evening generals who will be in town for the weekend will meet with the public at a reception at the museum. Some reenactors of lower rank will also be present. Those attending include Buford, Ewell, Grant, Hooker, Lee, Longstreet, Pickett and Reynolds.

Meanwhile, throughout the weekend, the grounds of the museum will be populated by up to 60 reenactors, who welcome visitors to observe life as it was in the 1860s. Some will be members of a medical team and others part of the Ladies Relief. Many will camp overnight in tents. They will stay until the retreat from Greencastle on Sunday afternoon.

A number of authors will rotate between the museum and Center Square on Saturday and Sunday, selling books on Civil War topics.

Sunday morning an ordained minister, who is also a reenactor, will conduct a church service outdoors at the museum. Those attending should bring their own chairs.

Black History will be highlighted downtown on Saturday. Zunny Materna, an African American First Person Recreator, will appear as Frances Ellen Harper, an abolitionist and poet, who was born free in Baltimore. She will bring along high school students from the Poly United States Colored Troops History Society.

“Our mission is to tell the stories of African Americans who sacrificed everything during a time of great despair,” Materna wrote to Shockey. “Their determination to bring hope, honor and equality to their people must be told.”

Materna will not be at the museum Sunday as originally scheduled.

The months of planning culminate this week. The Skirmish is sponsored by the Borough of Greencastle, Franklin County Visitors Bureau and Comcast. The full roster of events is printed elsewhere in the Echo Pilot and in brochures placed around town. From April 7 to 10, Greencastle will be transported back in time.

“I’ll be glad when it’s April 11,” laughed Shockey.