Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Historical Society
The annual tradition of the 9th NY Cavalry encampment in Westfield is once again set to take place the first weekend of June. Members of the 9th Cavalry will set up camp on Friday, June 6 in Westfield’s Moore Park and offer living history throughout the weekend. Once again, a highlight for this year is a special appearance by confederates from the 64th Virginia Cavalry and the 4th South Carolina Cavalry. Members of the 20th Main Fife & Drum Corps will also make an appearance. A battle reenactment between the groups is schedule for Saturday afternoon.
In addition to the regular schedule of events and activities, returning for the second year in a row is a special letter reading program. On Saturday, June 7 at 2 p.m., a letter-reading program will take place at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church next to the park. David Brown, Historical Society Trustee and 9th NY Cavalry member, and his wife Sandy are coordinating the event. Together, they’ve put together a program that will feature a series of letters from various Chautauqua County residents who served during the Civil War.
The encampment will also provide a special educational opportunity for children of all ages. Sandy Brown says several women involved with the reenactment will host a craft and doll-making workshops throughout the afternoon, to give children an opportunity to learn how dolls were made during the 19th century.
“This was a time prior to mass production of dolls and toys for children and families would resort to making their own dolls for their little ones at home,” Brown explains. “For many little girls, a homemade doll would be the only type of doll they’d have.”
The encampment weekend by the 9th New York Cavalry is a wonderful way to learn about and participate in an important part of our nation’s history. Reenactors will give visitors an opportunity to learn about a soldier’s daily life during the Civil War. The soldiers begin their encampment the evening of Friday, June 6 and continue through the weekend until Sunday morning, June 8. The event is free and open to the public on all three days.
A complete schedule of encampment events can be found online at the Historical Society’s website, www.mcclurgmuseum.org at the events page.