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Monday, September 26, 2011

Civil War Burial - Reenactment - 1864 - Somerset County

I was looking for something different for this Memorial Day so I thought I'd repost this from September 2011 - considering it was one of my most popular posts from 2011. I was invited to a Civil War Funeral Reenactment in Somerset County - just outside of Rockwood - in the middle of nowhere for a very special afternoon. The ceremony was held at Mt. Union Church - built in the 1830's.
A tiny but very beautiful church.
Folks lining up for the "Viewing of the Body" inside the building with the black draped around it.
The widow and the other womenfolk mourning for their lost loved one.
Inside the "Parlor" viewing the body.
Hundreds of vintage photographs lining the walls. 
And the many offerings of flowers.
The "mortal remains" of Mr. Adam Cain - of course this isn't a "real" corpse. But you have to appreciate the effort this actor went through - from the corpse-like makeup to the little touches - like having dirty fingernails. The makeup was so good that some folks had to touch the "body" just to make sure - saying afterwards - the body was warm - so it must be a person.
More folks lining up to go inside for the funeral service. 
But some - had to make a brief detour - for nature calling. The old-fashioned way.
Waiting for the ceremony to begin. As you can see - it's literally a step back in time to a way of life - only now brought alive in the pages of a history book. Just wish more young people would take the time to explore the past - they have no idea the richness they are missing. 
The church walls are lined with hundreds of pictures - it's all so interesting that you don't know where to look first. 
The menfolk milling around outside before hand.
Bringing the casket inside. 
Union and Confederate Troops as Pallbearers - since Somerset was so close to the Mason-Dixon Line.
The Minister and the start of the service. I have to say - for us modern folk - it's a tight fit when it comes to sitting in the pews. People were a lot skinnier and shorter back then - from the lack of proper food to the utter harshness of life.
Vocal Tribute - Miss Adia Dobbins signing "Poor Wayfaring Stranger". I was sitting in the last row - which was why she is half hidden behind a pole and unfortunately - uploading video compresses the file and it comes out looking soft. But her voice rings out - loud and clear. By the time she was done - alot of folks were wiping tears from their eyes. This is the second time I have heard her sing and I have to say - she truly has a gift!
The Mt. Union Sacred Harp Singers provided the musical accompaniment. They were wonderful - but I wasn't close enough to capture their sound - since string instruments are hard to pickup without a proper mic. 
Heading back outside with the casket.
Wish I knew more about uniform types - to help explain what branches they represent.
The Mourners heading out of church.
Loading the casket on the wagon to go to the cemetery.
The Family looking on...
as we line up to walk to the cemetery.
Mt. Union Cemetery straight past the corn field.
Soldiers on each side lining up behind the wagon.
Walking behind the casket with the drumming playing...
Walking past the stalks of corn - in a way kind of reminds me of Gettysburg.
Reaching the gates of the cemetery.
The Widow following behind her husbands casket.
Even the horse was decked out in period garb.
Praying over the grave
What a view from the cemetery - just beautiful on this early fall evening. 
It's back to the church for some cake and punch.
Again - I wish I could tell you exactly which regiments these solders belonged to.
And the actors gathering around for a group photo - they all did such a wonderful job - that for a couple of hours - you forgot all about time - and enjoyed living in the moment - 1864. And a special shoutout to Tom Tom (GPS) - who got me there and back again - without so much as a problem - considering I hate even driving to the mall and this was southern Somerset County!


Anonymous said...

Fascinating! Thanks so much for posting this!

Ron said...

This is amazing.

Linda Marker said...

Lisa, thank you so much for posting. You take wonderful photos! And, I'm SO glad for the clip of Adia! It's so interesting to see how the photographer sees things - everyone has a different eye's view. And, I don't know what you mean by calling us the middle of nowhere? It's the center of our world! LOL But, glad you had that GPS, for sure. And SO glad you had a good time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to everyone who put great time and effort into this re-enactment. My wife and I attended and felt that we were transported back in time. You all did a fantastic job, and the music was wonderful!

Thanks again, Mark and Linda

Linda Marker said...

Sadly, there were no recordins of the music, but you can hear two samples of our Sacred Harp group here (bottom of page):

We sing from an old Shaped Note book from the 1840's called the Sacred Harp. We are NOT a choir, and do NOT perform. (well only occasionally) The music is meant to be experiential. We sing monthly, 2nd Thurs of each month at the church.

Linda Marker said...

PS - EVERYONE is welcome to attend the singings. With or without experience or ability to read music. We have loaner books and helps (CDs and cheat sheets) available.