Parkesburg Festival, Parkesburg, PA
May 20-21, 2022
The weather prediction was for the hottest day on record – 97 degrees. The location- Parkesburg Pa in Chester County west of Philadelphia. The task to help the town celebrate the 150th anniversary of the cities status as a borough. The small town with a population of 3,593 had been a key railroad town along the Pennsylvania railroad during the Civil War pouring supplies west towards Gettysburg. Known in that day as Fountain Hill, founded 1734, the citizens lived along the tracks carrying Abraham Lincolns body West many assembling to see his train carry him back to Illinois. OUR ASSIGNMENT – To provide a Civil War Atmosphere to the cerebration with music, cannon fire and a Civil War Camp.
Despite the predicted weather a small group of 69th Pa members scouted out a position on a high hill overlooking the site of the celebration where the camp and the artillery would be headquartered. Arriving Friday evening, our command tent would be established, camp tents pitched and a location for Parrott gun of the 28th Pa regiment and the gun crew to be placed the next morning. The evening was breezy with little hint of the next days coming temperatures. The next day would see the arrival of more members of the 69th and soldiers of the 28th Pa with their cannon. Soon the hill above the valley below would be populated by local historical groups, a contingent of the 3rd National Colored Troops, and the infantry of the 28th Pa – with tents and information booths. The 69th band arrived to set up their venue.
As the sun rose a thick layer of fog covered the valley below with music tents, activity tents, amusements and food venders. The 69th looked down to see the sun rise, the fog lift and the day begin. The day was hot indeed.. The 97 degrees we were promised.. “Hydrate” was the order of the day. The 69th banner stood on the hillside for all to see. Our information / sales tables were ready. We were here to educate.
The hourly cannon fire would boom out over the valley below – a 69th task was to provide a “safety perimeter” for the cannon fire. Brevet 1st Sergeant Austin would set the line each hour. The 69th band had scheduled two concerts that day and the first opened at 11:00 with a march by the Civil War Honor Guard coordinated by Color Sgt O’Daniel & led by Captain Ernsberger who introduced the Civil War units attending. The day progressed and temperatures rose with all doing their duty – Andrea Ashcroft and Michelle Velas with help from Chris Zimbardi & daughter Dom at the sales table and Dave Ashcroft at the education tent. At day’s end members of the 69th band joined us at the top of the hill to store colors and to “Remember the Men We Honor”. Almost $1000 was raised that day for our gravestone restoration project. Thanks to all who attended.