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The Monterey Pass Battlefield Park & Museum

John Miller

(3/2017) To begin 2017, I wanted to update my readers about some of the ongoing projects at the Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum. For those who don’t know what the Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum is, it’s a park that commemorates the Civil War battle of Monterey Pass that took place on July 4-5, 1863, near Blue Ridge Summit. This battle is Pennsylvania’s second largest Civil War battle and is the only battle that was fought on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line. And with a new year already here, we are planning for this coming season.

The first project we are working on is an exhibit that we hope, with your help, will come together. It’s called "In Their Own Words." We are asking everyone in the Gettysburg, Emmitsburg, Fairfield and Waynesboro areas to check their attics, ask their friends, and families if they have, or know, of any letters written by or to a Civil War soldier that they would like to donate or loan. This exhibit will help to showcase the Civil War soldier’s experiences, as well as the struggle on the home front, and help to preserve their memories. All donations can be delivered to Washington Township Offices located at 13013 Welty Road, Waynesboro, PA 17268. Please help us spread the word.

Another area we need help with is artifacts. Most visitors are aware of the cavalry of both armies that fought at Monterey Pass, but some are surprised to learn about Confederate infantry taking an active role during the battle. After the battle, thousands of Confederate soldiers marched through Monterey Pass as they marched into Maryland. A brigade of Union infantry marched behind the retreating Confederate army, skirmishing along the way. Because of this, we are seeking donations of original artifacts such as a leather belt, cap pouch, and cartridge box to showcase what a common infantry soldier in 1863 would have carried into battle. To expand our cavalry exhibit, we are looking for an enlisted man's McClellan saddle to show visitors what the cavalrymen sat on while on horseback.

With regard to park grounds, we are expecting the grounds to be fully open this year. Within the next two months, there will be three miles of trails that visitors can enjoy. Once the trails are open, park maps will be made available outside on our information kiosk so visitors can easily navigate around the park. The interpretative panels and waysides are finished, and we’ll be installing these in early spring. The trails are already cut out with the exception of the Monterey Peak Trail, which will have limited access.

On February 18, at the Blue Ridge Summit Fire Hall, there will be a wing feed that benefits battlefield preservation of Monterey Pass. Doors open at 5 p.m., meal served at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $15 per adult, children ages 6-12 $7 at Washington Township offices located at 13013 Welty Road, Waynesboro, PA 17268. Or if you know a board member of the Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield, you may purchase your tickets from them. We have 200 tickets to sell.

The museum portion of our park will reopen for the year beginning on March 25, the same day as National Medal of Honor Day. We’ll be commemorating Major Charles Capehart who commanded the 1st West Virginia Cavalry during the Battle of Monterey Pass. The museum hours will be Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free of charge, but donations are always welcomed.

The Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum is always looking for new volunteer staff to help operate the park and museum. Our volunteers are dedicated individuals and key players to the success and preservation of the Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum. Our staff are trained each spring in preparation for the April-November season. Why should you consider volunteering? Volunteering is a great way to contribute to the mission statement and goals of the Monterey Pass Battlefield, and help promote, protect, and preserve this great historical and cultural resource. If you’re interested in volunteering as an Battlefield Interpreter or Museum Docent, please go to our website, www.montereypassbattlefield.org.

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