March 2021.
Barry Walsh stated that "reenacting truly started in Ireland in the 1780s in the form of Sham Fights here units of the Volunteers and Regulars of the British Army would recreate famous sieges and battles using the ruins of religious and fortified sites. Although they were part military training they were also great social occasions."

In the 1920s reenactments and historical pageants were a feature of the Tailteann Games and Army Tattoos.In the 1980s the Irish Army recreated the Burning of Moscow with a cast of hundreds, and extensive pyrotechnics with the Soviet Ambassador as guest of honor.

Modern reenactment dates to the late 1980s and 90s. An interest in Viking and Medieval lrish history gave rise to several groups. The bicentennial commemoration of the 1798 Rebellion in 1998 several "marching groups" were formed to commemorate the rebels.

Dave Swift observed that the movie, Saving Private Ryan, which was filmed in Ireland, using members of the Irish Army, brought history to Ireland's doorstep. Tola Collier stated, that "while living history and re-enactment has been evolving in Ireland for more than twenty years, the Irish State’s ‘Decade of Centenaries’ which began in 2013 has, over the past 8 years, greatly increased public interest in Irish history and in living history in particular."

A tradition of pageantry and reenactment has also existed in Northern Ireland in the form of the Sham Fights around the 12th of July which recreate the Battle of the Boyne.
Barry Walsh's first impression was of the United lrish Army of the 1798 Rebellion, and subsequently joined a group that recreated an lrish Regiment in the Napoleonic wars. With his group they also developed portrayals of the lrish in the Great War 1914-18 and the Irish War of Independence 1916-1921.
In Ireland battle reenactments mainly take place with the cooperation and financial support of the Office of Public Works (the national heritage body equivalent to the National Parks Service in the USA), and County Councils. Barry Walsh's group organised some of the biggest reenactments in Ireland including the Battle of Vinegar Hill reenactments and the In Humberts Footsteps festival. In both cases they partnered with the County Councils in those areas and advised them on community involvement. His unit provided style guides to help people dress in period appropriate outfits. Reenactors provided living history camps as the centrepiece to wider festival events.

People do not pay to watch reenactments.
Heritage sites run by the OPW are generally
free to enter. Events run in connection with
County Councils are for the benefit of the
community. Some private heritage sites and
tourist attractions may charge an entrance

Ireland has been engaged in a Decade of
Commemorations around the centenary of
the Irish War of Independence 1916-1921. As
part of that, the nation has been looking
closely at its history, challenging some
narratives and restoring some history to its
proper place. It has been a national dialogue
which has shaped how events were
reenacted and how the participants on all
sides were remembered.

This type of living history usually takes place
at heritage sites. Some sites like the Battle of
the Boyne Centre have resident reenactors
who demonstrate weapons uniforms etc.
Other sites may have guides who work "in
character" as they interact with the public.
Groups may also be invited to do pop up
living history at the many museums, castles
and Great houses.

There are several professionals accredited by
the Department of Education who travel to
schools to do interactive presentations and
workshops. Most reenactment groups in Ireland would also receive invitations to give presentations to schools in their areas.

As mentioned above this type of event
usually takes place in partnership with the
OPW or the local County Council. Battle
reenactments usually have a "lead reenactment group" that organises other groups to attend, plans the battle and provides the powder on a budget from the organisers. Usually these events are held to mark major anniversaries of the battle
on or close to the site of the battle. Usually
there will be a period camp open to the public
with a larger festival going on in the local
area. They are not for profit, but are used to
promote heritage and general tourism. Reenactments on many occasions are part of the tourist industry, and reenactors are generally paid for their participation. Dave Swift asked "why would you PAY to reenact?" "kit costs money, and these events help you purchase more authentic items for these public events."

Immersion Events.
This is confined mainly to the earlier Viking
and Medieval period groups in Ireland.
This divides living history in Ireland into three subsets:

a). Training events where once the drill and health and safety is completed, groups will have tactical events to round out a day or weekend
training. Our medieval period groups would
also have tactical events featuring hand to
hand combat.

b). We have manly multiperiod shows where
groups from a wide range of periods come
together for public shows often in
partnership with militaryvehicle collectors.
Usually there will be an arena where each
period will have a time slot to do a
presentation or a tactical "skirmish".

c). movies-reenactors here will participate as
extras, or consultants in movies
People work on numerous history
documentaries, period films, informational
films for museums, and online
documentaries, as well as advisers,
wardrobe, specialists extra and armourers.

There is a lot of cross pollination with military
vehicle enthusiasts in lreland.
Time Periods.

We have groups that recreate everything from the Dark Ages, through Viking Ireland to the Tudor Age. There are groups that portray the Irish soldier as he was seen worldwide during the 16th and 17th century. The period 1798 to 1815 is popular as the Rebellion and Napoleonic Wars featured Irishmen on all sides. We have ACW reenactors and most groups have a mix of
Union and Confederate portrayal. We also
have groups made up from our European
migrant communities with Polish, Lithuania
and other groups who portray their
Napoleonic or WW2 history. Many veterans of the Irish Defense Forces come to
reenactment via military vehicle groups and
reenact their Peacekeeping service with the
UN which is an important part of our national

Dave Swift said that the movie Gettysburg was an eye opener to many Irish reenactors who were awe struck by the sheer numbers of participants in the United States. He sated that these numbers are quite different in Ireland, breaking it down by periods, he observed that by far the most popular period is the Viking reenactors, numbering at about 300 nationwide. This is followed by the Roman at about 100. 1916 independence periods has about 100-200 people.

The Clontarf reenactment in 2014 marked the 1,000 year anniversary of the battle. The Irish government widely supported this, and it was attended by over 500 reenactors and 40,000 spectators.
Batttle of Clontarf.
On the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Ashbourne, BOACC organised a historical re-enactment on the site as part of the Irish State Commemorations. The event included a recreated RIC barracks, vintage cars and uniformed re-enactors from across Ireland and was watched by a large audience as well as being televised. BOACC continues to work with local and central government on the Decade of Centenaries.
Dave Swift pointed out that these events, are designed and supported by the Irish Government to have a unifying effect, an to a certain extent, to control the narrative. These events include impressions of the Old IRA (Michael Collins), as well as the droconian Black and Tan mercenaries.
Women in Reenacting.

Melissa Sheils has been reenacting since 2002, She said "it is hard to say how many women re-enact/do living history. Not as many men, but a goodly proportion, perhaps 30%" She said that she is in a group called the PARDS - which is mostly men. It's American Civil War. I am also in a group called The White Horse Vikings, so I do Viking with them. There are no groups specifically just for women, most groups have men and women in them. As to female roles, that depends. For Vikings, you do have some women dressing in male Viking clothing and fighting. You don't get that in Roman, ACW, or Tudor. When asked what is the most popular period for women, she said "Viking, but that's simply because it's the largest period by far. The influx of Polish and other Eastern
European re-enactors into Ireland has boosted the amount of people that do that period, although it was always popular before the population influx. ...and lots of women fought too, it's just that they had to make twice the kit as the men. I used to do longbow archery and I would spend my day changing clothes from male kit to do archery in, and female kit to sew in the tent.

Paid reenacting.
Many public events are run by county councils or the Office of Public Works, so they will pay a group for coming along. Technically, it is the government, because it is tax money being used for a public event, but reenactors aren't on some government payroll. Yes, I get paid for every event, except one or 2 charity events I decide to do free if charge. Like Americans, German reenactors pay to go to events, which is crazy to us here."
It's one of the first attitudes I encountered in the living history scene. A woman named Jessica de Burca Montague has a living history business. She drummed into me the importance of reenactors getting paid. Events need us. We put in supreme amounts of time and research and shouldn't just be thrown a couple of sandwiches and a cup of tea for our work of talking to the public all day. Never mind all the work we put into research, sewing, weaving, buying the right armour/weapons, etc..But along with that comes a high standard. You can't charge for wearing polyester curtains, you have to do research and be able to share it.

But you have to understand one key difference in the American living history scene vs. The Irish one. We do have lots of historical buildings here, but for the large part they are completely empty inside, and not open all year round. Most of them only from May to September. And people walk in and see empty rooms of a 15th century castle with some informational pictures. We don't have lots of furnished buildings like Colonial Williamsburg, Old Sturbridge Village, or Genessee Country Museum. So having living historians there provides crucial colour and added vibrancy to a historic building once or twice a year. These weekends where we rock up usually draw big numbers, but the sites can't sustain having us there (or costumed tour guides) all the time. There are a few places that do have costumed tour guides, but they are not doing crafts at the same time.

Whether people make their own equipment or
buy off the shelf is dependent on the period
they recreate. While it is easy for WW2
reenactors to purchase kit for their period,
someone recreating a medieval Irish kern is
likely going to have to make his own leine
(shirt) although most groups have among
them skilled tailors and seamstresses and
crafts people who produce kit for the group.
Research is imperative in reenacting. Ireland
has a wide span of unique history so
research and consultation with experts is
vital no matter what period is involved.
In Ireland we are a community. We try to
encourage and assist new entrants. The best
thing to do is join an established group for
the period you wish to recreate. Most will
have spare kit that they can loan until a
person can assemble their own kit. We
always encourage people to continue
improving. Nothing is ever finished, there are
always new details to discover and recreate.
Indeed most groups would practice some
level of experimental archaeology; taking first
hand accounts and attempting to recreate
the kit described to find out as much as we

When asked if there is a difference between hardcore versus entry level reenactors, Mark O'Brien said "there is very little difference made of each level as the attitude of most reenactors is that ' we all have to start somewhere ' and 99% of guys involved are very helpful ."

This sentiment was echoed by Barry Walsh, sho said "I think we are too small a community to give rise to movements of any kind. We simply
encourage each other to improve in a friendly
and competitive spirit."
   Firearms and Legislation.

Firearms in Ireland is substantially different between northern and southern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, Muskets and black powder weapons are licensed as shotguns. Rifles require a higher level of licence so it may be easier to have a firearm that has been converted to blank firing. Live fire automatic weapons are not allowed for civilians so gas firing replicas are used for machine guns. Even though Northern Ireland is part of the UK, a visitor licence is required for anyone travelling there from Great Britain.

In the Southern Ireland republic, it is more difficult. Muskets can be held on a firearms licence with usually a generous ammunition allowance. However, traveling with your musket from the Republic to Northern Ireland, a separate blackpowder licence is required. Reenactors most often carry dewat and demilled firearms, and a permit must be issued for each one. This permit MUST be carried on your person at all times, and presented to any law enforcement officer upon request. Failure to do so, could result in this non firearm in being impounded. Bolt action rifles, such as Lee Enfields can be obtained, but require a special license. In order to obtain this license, you must have an unblemished record. Reenactors in general try to develop a relationship with the Gardai (Irish national police) to educate them about the hobby of reenactment. Travel in the EU with firearms is facilitated by the common European Firearms Passport.

Airsoft is also popular in Ireland and replica airsoft guns are popular for vehicle collectors and modern period/20th century reenactors.
Goals and Objectives.

Owing to the centuries long history, there are many historic sites and buildings. The most important usually come under the management of the state through the OPW. Others are supervised by County Councils through what you might call building codes. This is a very wide subject, probably beyond the scope of this overview. Just a few other comments. We have a lot of history.

Are the preservations of battlefields and
historic sites emphasized in lreland?
Unfortunately we have so many battlefields
on Ireland that encroachment and
development has happened in many places
without check. However in the last 20 years
the importance of battlefields in the
landscape is more appreciated.
Archaeological investigation and survey of
important battlefields has been happening.
Some sites like the Battle of the Boyne site
have international importance and have
interpretive centres that explain their history and importance.
We wanted to extend hearty thanks to Misters Dave Swift, Mark O'Brien, Tola Collier, Barry Walsh and George Logan
Calico prosser buttons, featured in green in honor of Irish history. We have reproduced these as well as other colors, but this offers a subtle way of wearing of hte green.

Irish School Commissioner announcing the end of the long held AMERICAN tradition of reading the Bible in public schools. The Irish are viewed, in effect, as turning one aspect of American culture upside down.
"Joneses are tired of hiring shiftless Irish servants", turn to a "tidy little German girl".
Ulster American Folk Park 
The Ulster American Folk Park, an open-air museum just outside Omagh in County Tyrone Northern Ireland, allows you to walk in the footsteps of the bold migrants who set sail for the New World in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Wander the well-trodden pathways of rural Ulster at your leisure, complete with a bustling street and welcoming farmhouses, before boarding the Brig Union ship. A full-scale emigrant sailing ship where you can experience the cramped quarters where hundreds of people lived during their twelve-week Atlantic crossing. Emerge in the New World and marvel at the ingenious solutions these resourceful newcomers created on the frontier.
The Museum hosts daily demonstrations of traditional crafts in historic houses taken down stone by stone, log by log or brick by brick and rebuilt at the museum. As you explore rural Ulster and the American frontier, visitor guides show a range of traditional skills including forge work, wool spinning, turf cutting, decorative straw work, American woodcraft and patchwork quilting.
Visitors will gain an understanding of the many reasons why so many people left Ulster, the majority crossing the ocean to North America. Ireland is almost unique in being the only country where migration reduced its population by nearly a half in the 1800s, and even today the population has not recovered. However, you will see that most historic migrants like today’s migrants leave home hoping for a better life.
You can see Aghalane House, a fine example of a 1700s house, home to a family whose children emigrated to America in search of new opportunities. Hugh Campbell built it in 1786, on a farm near Plumbridge in County Tyrone. The Campbells were minor landlords - they owned some land and also rented land from major land owners. Of the two stone plaques above the front door, one bears Hugh's name and the date of construction and the other has the coat of arms of the Dukes of Argyle, showing that the Campbells of Aghalane claimed to be kin with the Campbells of Argyle. Hugh Campbell’s sons, Hugh and Robert, both left for America around 1818. Hugh emigrated to New York and then became a merchant in Philadelphia. Later he settled in St. Louis and went into partnership with his brother Robert.
Eventually Robert moved west and became a fur trapper and trader but by 1836 he had left the mountains and settled back in St. Louis where he continued to supply expeditions of trappers and pioneers. Later in life he became a Native American Commissioner.
The Ulster American Folk Park acquired the house in 1985 when it was due for demolition. The modern slate roof was replaced by thatch to show its original 1786 appearance. Both its architecture and the stories associated with it make Aghalane House an important building. The walls are over half a metre thick and full of small stones collected from the land. Opposite the fire is a court cupboard with the date of 1641. It might be a marriage gift. These impressive pieces were placed where they could be seen.

The Ulster American Folk Park developed around the Mellon Homestead, the birthplace of Thomas Mellon in February 1813. This house was built by Thomas’s father Andrew and his father’s brother Archie. It began as a two-room house with two detached outhouses. The family farmed about 23 acres. They grew potatoes, flax and barley and raised poultry and some cattle. The Mellon family were prosperous tenant farmers. Other members of the Mellon family
had left for America in previous years. Thomas’s father and mother received many letters informing them about life in America and its potential. They soon realised that if they too emigrated, they could have a better
life. They sold the lease on their land and their possessions. This raised £200. In those days when friends and family left for America,
they were often lost forever so a ‘living wake’ was held in the house. Friends and neighbours spent the last night with them and stayed with them for some of the journey to the port in the morning, before bidding the Mellons a final farewell.

The family sailed from Derry-Londonderry to New Brunswick in what is today Canada. They then took another ship to Baltimore. This was a cheaper route than sailing direct to the USA. Next they hired a wagon to take them to west Pennsylvania for a reunion withThomas’s grandfather and uncles. The family found land and bought a farm. They used the remainder of the £200 and borrowed money as well. They struggled after the financial crash of 1819 but ultimately prospered
. The original bedroom was to the left of the kitchen. This is now a parlour and a small back room. Later owners added the room to the right of the kitchen. There is a ‘half loft’ over the original bedroom where servants slept. They needed a ladder to enter the room.
The latest house to come to the museum is the Francis Rogan house originally built in the 1820s in Sumner County, Tennessee. The history of the house includes the stories of enslaved people and Native American s forced off their land. The museum is not afraid to look at the negative outcomes of Ulster/Irish migration. By 1860 Francis Rogan owned 71 enslaved people. He was in the highest 5% of slave owners in Tennessee at
 the time. Francis was the son of an Ulster emigrant, Hugh Rogan, a weaver from near Strabane on the border between Counties Tyrone and Donegal. He married Nancy Duffy and they had a son Bernard. In 1775 Hugh left Nancy and Bernard and went to America. After working at various jobs he joined an expedition down the Cumberland River to identify land in the unknown western region. This area became Tennessee. Hugh got caught up in the American War of Independence and was unable to return to Ulster for many years. Eventually he brought his wife Nancy and his son Bernard, now 22, to his farm in Tennessee. Hugh and Nancy’s second son Francis was born in Tennessee in 1798. Francis built this house beside his parents’ home on the family farm. Francis married Martha Lytle Read in 1833 in Tennessee. They had at least seven children. Four of their children survived to adulthood. The value of his real estate was $46,600. The value of his personal property, including enslaved people, was $46,030. Hugh and Martha both left enslaved people to their children. Slavery in Tennessee lasted until 1865. Many people needing income and shelter remained and worked for their former owners. In 1870, Francis Rogan and family had five black people living with them. Their names are Eliza Bill, Richmond, Jason Rogan, Rhodes, and Stokely. Their work included cooking and labouring. Francis died on 26th September 1885.
The Rogan house is made from dark red brick, made close to where the house was built. Have a look at the brickwork patterns. The north and west facing walls are built in decorative Flemish bond pattern, while the south and east facing walls, away from the original approach to the house, are built in plainer common bond.
These three houses are only a selection of the wonderful exhibits at the Ulster American Folk Park.
For more information visit 
Ulster American Folk Park
2 Mellon Road, Castletown
Omagh BT78 5QU

+44 (0) 28 8224 3292

We have been pursuing this project for over a decade, with stops and starts, and have finally brought this to fruition. We had begun this project with a mill that COULD have done the project, but the scale would not have been achievable. As life would roll out, even if the volume were to be achievable, the spinners that the mill was using has subsequently gone out of business.

Our initial sample runs were very positive, but the beginning production showed that the yarns were incompatible with the machinery, setting us back to the beginning. We ultimately had to have yarns custom spun, and the spinner worked directly with the mill to continue tweeking until the machines could run smoothly.

It is ironic to read period accounts of the use of knit goods, because it reflects the direct opposite of that was required to have the fabric reproduced. In the early part of the American Civil War, there was sudden and unexpected demand for textiles to clothe the army. Agents were sent abroad to purchase yard goods, while those at home worked beyond any previous capacity. Knit goods were looked to as a ready expedient. With woven goods, it can take anywhere from 20-60 hours to warp and prepare a loom, whereas a knitting machine can be threaded in less than 20 minutes. Moreover, the machines were marketed as being as having a very shallow learning curve, meaning that a moderately skilled person could be producing textiles in minutes.

While extent blouses are not known to exists, we did have the good fortune of examining an original pair of knit trousers that came for sale, first at an auction of 7th New York National Guard items, which was flipped a week later at the Hartford Civil War show. The obvious parts of the grouping went quickly, ie the knapsack, knife and kepi, but nobody could make sense of the trousers. Regretfully, having just purchased a Bartholomae Canteen, I did not have enough cash to buy them. I did however, explain to the dealer what he had, and he graciously allowed me to examine them.

Our blouse is based on this example, as well as the photographic evidence, which showed a binding as well as a welt pocket.
From the Trump of Fame, August 7th, 1861.
The elusive knit blouse!
Discounted magazine subscription offered to our cusotmers!
Andy Gelfert.
Andy is a first generation American, whose parents were World War II German immigrants. German was his first language, and he began playing Accordeon (a very popular instrument in Germany) from a very early age. It was Andy’s wife, Cricket who was passionate about history, and was instrumental in introducing him to, and encouraging him in becoming involved in re-enacting, and living history events. Cricket and Andy have been married for 40 years.
Andy is an ordained Chaplain, and holds period style Church services at various Civil War and living history events, using restored, original musical instruments dating back to the 1840s, in leading the hymns. Reprints of short religious messages, called “tracts”, which were passed out to the soldiers (and often included a hymn such as John Newton’s Amazing Grace) are distributed free of charge to all interested.
In the following original wood cut image Chaplain Joseph Little is shown playing, and leading a hymn, using an instrument called a Seraphine (more popularly known as an Elbow Melodeon, because it is played by pumping the bellows with the player’s elbow while playing the keyboard). Chaplain Little is shown in camp with the soldiers of the 5th Virginia Volunteer infantry, U.S.A., the sub-title reading “Falls of Kanawha, West Virginia, March, 1864.” The title and inscription under the image reads “Our Chaplain”, “Gives each of us a copy of this Engraving, to show our friends the way we sing and hold meetings in camp. He desires us to tell them to pray for us and him, that we may prove faithful to our country and our God, and not be found wanting in any day of temptation and trial” (original image in the collection of Andy Gelfert).

Andy is owner of a small business named “Victorian Accordeon Company” where he restores original musical instruments, mostly “free reed” (aerophones) such as French Accordeons, and other instruments with unusual sounding names such as the Flutina, Elbow Melodeon/Seraphine, and Harmoniflute.
Below, Andy leads a Church service at Old Bedford Village (in Pennsylvania) during a Civil War weekend event in 2018 using an original Elbow Melodeon, also known as a Seraphine, exactly like the instrument shown in the previous 1864 image/wood cut.
The restoration services performed by the Victorian Accordeon Company, holds to standards of authenticity, using the same materials and techniques used during the Civil War period, including the use of hot hide glue, and continues to employ the use of original wood types such Brazilian Rosewood, which was used extensively on these instruments, but is now controlled under international regulations.
Andy has been song leader for the Re-enactor’s Mission for Jesus Christ (founded by Alan Farley), has played tenor/baritone horn in the Federal City Brass Band (founded by Jari Villanueva) and has been featured speaker at events such as the National Victorian Tea, held annually on Remembrance Day in Gettysburg Pa. (hosted by, Joy Melcher).

Andy was recently contracted to restore an original, French Accordeon, identified as belonging to Mason S. Parish. Enlisted in the 24th NYVI on May 7, 1861 at Orwell at the age of 22. He mustered in as Private, Co. G, May 17, 1861, was killed, August. 29, 1862, at Groveton, Va. Below is the stencil inside the top of the French
Accordeon wooden instrument case.
The instrument had extensive water damage, warping and splitting many of the structural components. Full restoration, including repair and replacement of damaged and missing parts such as mother-of-pearl key covers, and much more was performed. The bellows were repaired from the inside using special techniques and materials so as to allow the exterior decorative paper bellow’s covers to remain intact while restoring functionality to the bellows themselves. The following image shows the instrument before/after, top/bottom respectively (original instrument in the Mark Jones Collection, Buffalo, N.Y.).
 Andy is owner of a small business named “Victorian Accordeon Company” where he restores original musical instruments, mostly “free reed” (aerophones) such as French Accordeons, and other instruments with unusual sounding names such as the Flutina, Elbow Melodeon/Seraphine, and Harmoniflute.
Below, Andy leads a Church service at Old Bedford Village (in Pennsylvania) during a Civil War weekend event in 2018 using an original Elbow Melodeon, also known as a Seraphine, exactly like the instrument shown in the previous 1864 image/wood cut.
French Accordeons and Flutinas were one of the most favorite photographer’s props, because having an image “struck” while holding an instrument gave the appearance of affluence, and high social status regardless of whether or not the person sitting for the image could play (original daguerreotype in the collection of Andy Gelfert).
P. McDermott papergoods in stock!
A staple item, that is handy for a variety of applications.
An incredibly convenient item, which is a pocket sized version of the widely produced song sheets.
An item long held as classic tract to be carried by the Federal soldiers, we are proud to be offering this limited production item.
An item that can be used for both citizen as well as soldier, and one excavated in campsites both north and south, as well as the steamboats Arabia and Bertrand.
Anna Worden Bauersmith.

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Lucy's Hairworks.

Lady's hair chain woven in two patterns with gold beads & slide. Connector and clasp are original Victorian hardware. Can be custom made or hair extensions provided. Length of chain would determine cost. Contact for more information.
Available for immediate shipment, we have a limited number of our standard Federal Springfield Musket sling. Available either at our ebay store below.
or on our website Either way, they ship same day.
The American Battlefield Trust has saved more history at the famed Gettysburg Battlefield — three parcels — adding up to nearly 49 acres. Had it not been for the generosity of the Trust’s tenacious members, along with the American Battlefield Protection Program and a landowner donation, this land would’ve likely succumbed to development threats along Baltimore Pike.
This broad historic landscape encompasses many aspects of the Battle of Gettysburg — and allows us to save scenic, as well as didactic, views of the battlefield. That is especially true of the largest tract, sitting at 46.8 acres, as it yielded such views of the battle at Big Round Top, Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill in 1863. And not only that — the battle flowed over the property as well! In recent years, this area was foreseen as becoming a housing subdivision of large-lot “McMansions” that obstructed the view of Big Round Top. But not on the Trust’s watch! Now, this preserved hallowed ground has the potential to give this and future generations the experience of seeing Gettysburg through a broader and more gratifying lens.
While smaller, the two other tracts — totaling 1.73 acres — played a significant role in the second day’s battle. So, turning our attention to the slopes of East Cemetery Hill, one of these properties includes the historic James
McKnight House with the other parcel laying immediately south. Surely, when McKnight bought this home — along with a barn and five acres of land — in 1860, he could’ve never imagined that the largest battle ever fought in North America would sweep over his property three years later.

Over the course of July 1-2, 1863, tens of thousands of Union troops marched right in front of, paused on, passed over, fought on and were buried on McKnight’s farm. The Union made sure to strategically station the vital 5th Maine Battery on McKnight’s Hill on July 1, and when Confederate troops under Gen. Jubal Early made their fierce attack on East Cemetery Hill on the evening of July 2, the battery held and secured ample time for Union reinforcements to come on scene and push the Confederate forces fully back.
Vast interest in this storied hallowed ground — evidenced by the awarding of grants, a landowner donation, and a handful of large gifts — allowed for donor dollars to be matched $5.48-to-$1, ultimately unlocking the way to save these three riveting properties forevermore and creating even more momentum to strive toward our next success story!