Six American Civil War reenactors from Northern Nevada traveled to Gettysburg to participate in the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee 150th Reenactment.
Left to Right: Wayne Eder, Ray Ahrenholz, John Gillich,
Byron Johnson and Benjamin Spence.
Union Army American Civil War reenactors from Northern Nevada made the 2,600 mile trip to participate in the 150th Gettysburg Anniversary Committee (GAC) Reenactment on July 4-7, 2013. Members of the Department of the Pacific, Federal Battalion (DPFB) participated in the event as Company B, 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry (Dismounted). This event was considered by many reenactors to be the “holy grail” of Civil War reenactments, and the “Nevada Boys” knew they had to participate. Nevada reenactors included the following:
· Wayne L. Eder (1st Lieutenant)
· Ray Ahrenholz (Bugler)
· John Gillich (Sergeant)
· Byron Johnson (Quartermaster Sergeant)
· Benjamin Spence (Trooper)
These men typically serve on the DPFB artillery as Battery B, 1st New Jersey Light Artillery, however it was decided that it would make more sense to attend as dismounted cavalry, eliminating the need to haul a cannon across the United States. The “Nevada Boys” arrived in Gettysburg on July 3, 2013, the actual 150th anniversary of the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg to check in with registration and get organized with their host unit. The morning of July 4th showed the 3rd PA Cavalry on line with other cavalry reenactors representing Union Major General John Buford’s cavalry corps, a decisive participant in Gettysburg’s first day of battle. The dismounted cavalry also participated in an evening battle representing the Federal retreat through Gettysburg on the 4th.
Cavalry Battle, Gettysburg 1st Day.
Friday July 5, 2013 started with another cavalry battle, the Ambush at Hunterstown where Federal cavalry ambushed Confederate cavalry. Another cavalry battle was fought on Saturday July 6, 2013 and Sunday morning July 7, 2013, keeping the dismounted and mounted cavalry troopers busy each day of the reenactment. The final battle was held Sunday afternoon, replicating the famous “Pickett’s Charge”. While many tink of this as a primarily infantry and artillery event, the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry was actually present and assisted in repelling the Confederate attack.
The GAC event showed over 12,000 reenactors and approximately 30,000 spectators each day. Approximately 200 dismounted Federal troopers and 200 mounted troopers participated as the cavalry brigade. These large numbers eclipsed the participation at other events of this type.
One additional Nevada reenactor joined the “Nevada Boys” on their Gettysburg trip. First person living historian Major General John G. Foster attended the event with members of Lincoln’s Generals, an eastern living history group that provides various living historians at reenactments.
Major General John G. Foster
The Nevada reenactors were presented with reproduction Army of the Potomac, Cavalry Corps Badges at this event, and 1st Lieutenant Wayne L. Eder was honored for his organization of the trip with a special presentation by his troops.
1st Lieutenant Wayne L. Eder
This was a once in a lifetime event for many, however Bugler Ray Ahrenholz had actually participated in the 100th anniversary exactly fifty years before. He was honored along with 36 other participants from that event.
As 2011-2015 mark the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War, reenactors from around the world will continue to honor our Civil War ancestors, and with good reason. These men, and women fought and died for their beliefs of what they thought was to be the American way of life.