Arts & Entertainment

Civil War Reenactors Bring American History to Life in Berkeley Heights

Glenn Jones (left), John Andrews and Tom Eldridge demonstrate their Enfield Musket-Rifles during Saturday's reenactment event. Credits: Guy Kass
Credits: Guy Kass
Visitors explore the Sibley tent. Credits: Guy Kass
John Andrews and Tom Eldridge fire a volley. Credits: Guy Kass
Tom Eldridge talks with a visitor. Credits: Guy Kass
Tom Eldridge displays a military-issued uniform. Credits: Guy Kass
Tom Eldridge displays a dress hat and canvas bag used for carrying personal supplies. Credits: Guy Kass

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – For the watching adults, the serious men in their blue military uniforms firing their rifles into the air was fascinating. For the children with their hands clamped over their ears, it was a bit scary. But for everyone, it was a glimpse back into the history of America.

The 43d New York Volunteer Infantry set up camp on Saturday afternoon at the Berkeley Heights Public Library.  Area residents took advantage of the warm afternoon to drop by and see tents, uniforms, clothing and other Civil War replicas.

The 43d New York Volunteer Infantry is a family oriented Civil War reenacting organization and member of the United States Volunteer Battalion (USV), dedicated to the remembrance and accurate portrayal of the common civilian and soldier working to preserve the Union during the American Civil War.

Sign Up for E-News

Re-enactors on Saturday demonstrated their Enfield rifle-muskets by firing two rounds. The littlest spectators covered their ears as the rifle cracks echoed through the trees.

“In a real battle, there would be thousands of guns, cannons, smoke all over the place,” said member Glenn Jones, explaining the rifle reloading process as the others did it. “A good soldier was expected to be able to reload and fire every 20 seconds.”

Jones, along with fellow reenactors Tom Eldridge and John Andrews, showed visitors their tents, cooking supplies, weapons, and clothing. While everything they use is a reproduction, Jones let visitors examine his sword, which is an actual piece from the Civil War.

A table piled with coats, shirts, hats and shoes allowed visitors to see what military men wore – and what they were given but discarded, like heavy wool shirts that were traded for civilian shirts made of much cooler cotton, and small-brimmed, fitted hats that went by the wayside in favor of wider-brimmed hats that protected their faces and ears from sun and rain.

Eldridge explained that while all the coats and pants were blue, their shades often varied due to different dye lots. Light blue pants were worn by volunteer soldiers, while dark blue pants were for full-time military men.

Jones offered tours of the Sibley tent, invented by American military officer Henry Hopkins Sibley. The huge canvas tent was inspired by the design of the teepee, and is held in place by one giant pole in the middle. Jones said the tent can sleep 18 soldiers, and when the weather is cold, a stove is set up next to the pole.

It’s all part of the magic of reenacting the day-to-day life of a Civil War soldier, a hobby that has long had many enthusiasts. Members of the 43d New York Volunteer Infantry are spread out across the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Most reside in New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New York. The real 43d New York Volunteer Infantry were also known as the Albany Rifles and the Yates Rifles. Most of the regiment was from the Albany area. However, two companies (the Yates Rifles) were from Brooklyn. They were mustered into service in September of 1861 and served in the Army of the Potomac for the duration of the war.

This year, the reenactors are focusing on the events of 1862, the second year of the war. Next year will be the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

New Providence Historical Society's Annual Dinner Features a Talk about Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II

March 30, 2017

The Annual Dinner of the New Providence Historical Society will take place on Thursday, April 20, at Murray Hill Inn & Suites, 535 Central Ave.

The featured speaker at the dinner will be Carol Simon Levin. Come hear the story of the amazing WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in WWII through the perspective of ...

"Beauty and the Beast" Opens in Warren, Video Trailers by 'The Beast" Sam Sinnot

WARREN, NJ - “Beauty and the Beast,” this year’s Spring Musical at Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) opens Thursday, March 30.

The show will be presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 30, Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, and at 2 p.m., April 1, in the WHRHS Performing Arts Center (PAC), on Stirling Road. A special opportunity for breakfast with Belle is ...

Lance Bill Confronts Health Care Costs Bipartisan Cancer Coverage Bill Seeks Parity in Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- U.S. Representatives Leonard Lance (NJ-07) and Brian Higgins (NY-26) have introduced bipartisan legislation called the Cancer Drug Parity Act (H.R. 1409) that would require health insurance plans that cover traditional chemotherapy to provide no less favorable coverage for prescribed, orally-administered anticancer medications.  With the rising usage of oral ...

Recycle Unwanted Electronic Equipment at E-cycling Event in Scotch Plains, April 29th

The County of Union will sponsor a recycling event for electronic equipment on Saturday, April 29.  County residents can get rid of unwanted computers, televisions and other electronic equipment in an environmentally proper manner.

The special E-cycling event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the campus of Union County Vo-Tech Schools located at 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains.

Historical Society of Plainfield to Host Lecture, Book Signing on March 26

March 19, 2017

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Stop by the Drake House Museum on Sunday, March 26th when the Historical Society of Plainfield hosts a lecture and book signing with author Carol Simon Levin as Abigail Adams.

Levin's book, “Remembering The Ladies: From Patriots in Petticoats to Presidential Candidates,” is made up of lost stories about amazing American women.  

The lecture will take ...

What’s in a Name

Why are we all willing to pay more for name brand items in the store when we know the generic is the same thing?  Is it our history with certain items; foods that we’ve been eating since we were kids?  Is it a catchy jingle or hilarious TV commercial?  I’ll admit, some generic brands just don’t measure up but for the most part it’s our prejudices at play ...

Dear Susan: Beauty Tips from a Beauty Expert

SUSAN BARBAGLIA, owner of Skin Deep Salon and Spa in New Providence, offers a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a leader in the beauty industry. With over thirty years experience in skin care, Susan can answer your most challenging beauty questions. Email your questions to advice@skindeepsalonspa.com.

 

 

____

Dear Susan: I’ve had my ...

Primary Election Ballot Drawings on Monday, April 17

March 27, 2017

UNION COUNTY, NJ - The drawing for ballot positions for the June 6, 2017, Primary Election will be held on Monday, April 17, at the County Courthouse, 2 Broad Street in Elizabeth beginning at 3 p.m., Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi announced.

“Anyone interested in the primary election process is encouraged to attend,” said Rajoppi.  “This year voters will decide on a ...

Gubernatorial Candidate Ciattarelli Gets a Win at the Union County Republican Convention

UNION, NJ - Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli won the endorsement of the Union County GOP for governor at the Union County Republican Convention.  He received 113 votes to Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno's 92 votes.  Both candidates arrived before “gavel down” and did their best to meet as many of the voters as possible.  No other gubernatorial ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_7ccf0e4747e9e6287044_482be3156ca356c800e0_karate_kids

Thu, March 30, 4:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Karate Kids – Free Demos

Health & Wellness Sports

Carousel_image_7ccf0e4747e9e6287044_482be3156ca356c800e0_karate_kids

Thu, March 30, 4:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Karate Kids – Free Demos

Health & Wellness Sports

Carousel_image_cbd09e6503b55a7aa556_bodyinflamation

Thu, March 30, 6:30 PM

Body Restoration, Berkeley Heights

Body Restoration Workshop Series Presents: Put ...

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_d87c995cd3b5e3a7e3a7_3dcecaf4d7981d9f13f5_1398fb0216fd5c132c7a_les_mills_grit

Thu, March 30, 7:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Les Mills Grit New Release!

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_60af132378c9037777e5_d54d3130be5697d5d967_a7c270159f377c732527_les_mills_crx

Thu, March 30, 7:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

CXWORX New Release!

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_60af132378c9037777e5_d54d3130be5697d5d967_a7c270159f377c732527_les_mills_crx

Thu, March 30, 7:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

CXWORX New Release!

Health & Wellness