Fairfield finalizes plans for Civil War anniversary kick-off
by Rick Fulton, Gettysburg Times, Feb. 23, 2011
Fairfield Borough plans for the coming opening commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War were outlined at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Fairfield’s "official kick-off" of more than four years of events marking the the 150th anniversary of America’s deadliest war, fought from 1861 to 1865, but not declared officially over until 1866, will be held beginning on the evening of April 22 and concluding in the early evening of April 23.
By April 22, 1863, the war was already underway, but April 22 remains significant because it was on this day, 150 years ago, that Maryland Gov. Thomas Holiday Hicks called for the state’s legislature to consider the secession rom the Union.
Fairfield Borough Councilman Dean Thomas, also a member of the Fairfield Sesquicentennial Committee, stated Tuesday, "I think we pretty much have the program set (for April 22-23)."
The Civil War weekend will begin with opening ceremonies to be held at the Fairfield Inn, 15 W. Main St., April 22 at 6:30 p.m.
Guests who have been invited to give opening remarks include Gov. Thomas Corbett, Congressman Todd Platts, Senator Rich Alloway, Representative Daniel Moul, as well as local dignitaries.
Thomas noted that after the opening remarks, a brief history of Fairfield during the Civil War will be presented.
Attendees will proceed along a Main Street illumination after the opening ceremonies to the Saint John Lutheran Church, 13 E Main St, at 8 p.m. for a Civil War vigil and Good Friday service.
The day’s events will close at 9 p.m. with the playing of Taps.
On April 23, Thomas stated that living history demonstrations and re-enactor encampments will take place and open at 10 a.m. at locations thoughout the town.
"Noted Civil War author and historian Tim Smith will speak at 11 a.m. in the Fairfield Borough Hall (108 W. Main St.)," Thomas stated. Smith’s talk will address Confederate Cavalry General James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart’s 1862 raid and other area skirmishes that occurred before, during, and after the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.
Historic house tours will also begin at 11 a.m. through 1 p.m.
A scaled-down re-enactment of the July 3, 1863. Battle of Fairfield, complete with the defeat of the Union’s Sixth Cavalry, will begin at 2 p.m. at Landis Field off North Miller Street.
A ladies’ tea is also scheduled to begin at the same time at the Fairfield Inn.
The battle will wind down by 3 p.m., just in time for a re-enactment of Stuart’s 1862 raid. The raid will occur on North Miller Street to 11 W. Main St. where the Confederate cavalry will capture the Fairfield postmaster, portrayed by Mayor Robert Stanley.
The weekend event will conclude at 4 p.m. with a performance of the 46th Pennsylvania bras band. A reading of the names of 170 soldiers from Fairfield Borough and Hamiltonban and Liberty townships will be read during the event. A bell will be tolled after the reading of each name.
The first half of the list will be read during the opening ceremonies on April 22, and the remainder will be read at the closing ceremonies on April 23.
A book on Fairfield in the Civil War will also be sold at various stores in the borough, and will cost $8. Proceeds will help to fund additional events.