What A Weekend!

This sign stands outside the exhibition.

Yes, it was indeed quite a weekend.

Our Memorial Day Weekend was in preparation for what seems like forever; it was actually only a year.

This uniform coat was worn by John Whitson Seaman when he was wounded in battle. The sleeve is missing; it was cut off so that a surgeon might treat his wound.

And it was an amazing and moving experience. Since 2002, hundreds of volunteers have been identifying Civil War veterans at Green-Wood. We’ve written a biography for each of the 4,600 of them, and have gotten 2000 Veterans Administration gravestones for those in unmarked graves. We’ve even found 75 Confederates!

On Saturday, we opened our Civil War multimedia (two slide shows and 3-D Civil War photographs are featured) exhibition, wonderfully designed by Art Presson, our superintendent of the grounds who, in a former career was the exhibition designer at ICP) in our Historic Chapel: “Honoring Their Sacrifice.” It has some great items–pieces from our collection and borrowed from others, many of which are on display for the first time. The exhibition will be open through June 12–check our website for hours. Don’t miss it!

Only five of these guns were cast for Confederate artillerists at the Columbus, Georgia foundry in 1863. It is the only one that survives.
This was quite a scene--Union men visiting the exhibition. That flag, according to a note that has come down through the generations, was captured in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1861, by Private George Dick of the 13th New York Heavy Artillery. It appears to have been an early attempt at creating a Confederate flag.

Since 2011 began, volunteers have been working at mapping each of these veterans’ grave sites. On May 14, about 150 volunteers marked each of those graves with an American flag. Then, on Sunday, a similar number of volunteers put lit luminary candles on each of their graves. That night, we staged the Grand Procession. Re-enactors in uniform and costume stood along the route.

Confederates, in the dark, along the route of the Grand Procession

A squad of cavalry horses led the way.

Just a few of the cavalry horses who joined the Grand Procession.

The luminaries marked the graves of our Civil War veterans.

A few of the luminaries in the Soldiers' Lot.

 

Our chorus, led by Marge Raymond, sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” on Battle Hill at Green-Wood.

And musicians performed Civil War tunes along the route. A Civil War cannon delivered loud booms and flashes of flame.

One of the artillerists at the Grand Procession. Fire coming out of the piece was very impressive.

A slide show of the faces of our Civil War veterans was projected onto the side of our Historic Chapel.

This is one of the images of our Civil War veterans that we projected on the side of our Historic Chapel. This is Major General Henry Wager Halleck, commander-in-chief of all Union armies during the Civil War
Union re-enactors on parade after dark.

And the luminaries burned until dawn and beyond. All in all, it looks like we had about 1,000 people, young and old, take part in the Grand Procession.

The next morning, on Memorial Day, we staged our March of Honor. See image at the top of this post.

A few of the Confederate re-enactors who joined us Sunday and Monday.

Again re-enactors joined in. But we also had an Army color guard and descendants of our Civil War veterans, who commemorated the service of their ancestors by describing their service.

Descendants of our Civil War veterans, at left, about to honor their ancestors.

Descendants came in from all far and near: one from England, several from California, and many from the tri-state area.

Just a part of the crowd out at the Soldiers' Lot on Memorial Day.

And, of course, Denny Pizzini and his Winslow’s Battery were, as always, a great hit with their artillery fire.

That was followed by Green-Wood’s annual free Memorial Day concert. This year it has a very special theme: the Civil War.

All in all, it was quite a weekend. It got tremendous press and media coverage for the weekend. CNN was there; they were about to go live on a series of pieces from Green-Wood, but we were preempted by President Obama’s speech from Joplin, Missouri. Click here for the piece that CNN did run. And here’s NY1’s piece. The Associated Press ran a print article, a gallery of photographs, and this video, about our Civil War Project. And here’s a great piece, by Seth Wenig of the Associated Press, on our Civil War Project and some of our wonderful volunteers. Enjoy!

Yours truly being interviewed on NY1.

Now to get some rest . . .

Thanks to my son, Jonathan Richman, for the wonderful photographs that are part of this blog entry. Great work, Jon!

An artillery salute near our Civil War Soldiers' Lot, where 127 Civil War veterans are interred.
Tom Jolin closed out the proceeding with his dulcimer.

3 thoughts on “What A Weekend!”

  1. Sunday night was the most moving, amazing and memorable night ever. When rounding the last curve and coming across those hundreds of lights in the pure darkness, the haunting sounds of hoofbeats and drums, the music, the soldiers standing guard all through the walk, it literally took my breath away. I can’t thank you enough for all the work that I know was put into making this such a beautiful experience (and I am sure I speak for everyone) for all.

    Reply
  2. Congratulations Jeff for planning such a wonderful event. You must be so proud of your work, and Jon’s pictures are gorgeous.

    Reply

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