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Frank Harlow Day, 2011

Saturday was our 6th annual Frank Harlow Day and the first thing I need to do is thank you all for your thoughts and wishes in keeping the rain away. The afternoon was a deluge but the morning was dry and that’s what we really needed.

The reason we needed the morning to be dry was because Dale decided that this year’s Frank Harlow Day would be an excellent way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. His idea was to reenact the mustering in of the men from East Bridgewater who joined the Union Army.

To that end we invited our reenactor friends along with any men and boys from town to join us on the Common and be sworn in as a soldier in the 29th Massachusetts. Each individual was given enlistment papers with the name of an actual soldier from that time and they then participated in a drill on the Common.

By the time they formed up as a unit they looked pretty good. The reenactors were interspersed with Boy Scouts and volunteers for a total of about 50 men. It wasn’t the 100 Dale had hoped for but the weather kept many away, I’m sure.

Once they assembled they marched around the Common to the Civil War monument and Dale read the roll call of all who had enlisted. I have to tell you, it was quite touching to hear each name called and have someone answer as that person.  Some of the men were killed, of course, and when Dale read those names he told the individual portraying that person their fate. It made for a very somber experience and I think it was a wonderful tribute to those men that their names were spoken aloud and, for just a brief moment, they were thought of again.

The group then left the Common and proceeded to march to Sachem Rock Farm, the site of our reenactment each year. Our Police Chief volunteered to help with traffic and he assembled our local constables to help as well. We so appreciated everyone’s cooperation in getting our little parade up the street.

By the time the soldiers reached Sachem Rock it had started to rain in earnest and the rest of the day was spent trying to stay warm and dry. The boys did organize a little skirmish with some wandering Confederates and we were all treated to some great music from our friends in the Rocky Run Band but the downpours and wind kept things to a minimum.

Nevertheless I would call the day a success. We’re planning on doing the muster again next year and every year until 2015, the final year of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Our goal is to have every soldier who served the Union be represented that year. I bet we can do it, too.


This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. The research for the mustering ymust have been so much fun! The parade looks great; I’m sorry to have missed it this year.

  2. So wish the weather had cooperated more, as it would have been wonderful to have 100 men (or more) assembled on the common. Can’t wait for next year’s event 🙂

  3. Carole, that’s so touching. I remember when we first visited Washington D.C. and the Vietnam Memorial Wall. I started reading names, and felt that I needed somehow to read EVERY name so that each man could be remembered once more. I gave out after awhile, of course, because there were so many.

  4. Good for you all. My ? great-grandfather was a Civil War vet and proud of it, apparently. My aunt, now deceased joined an organization and took an interest, but sadly, she never could interest the rest of us. All the info is stored in Lynn, MA somewhere.

  5. I love that you do this! How wonderful for young people to get the feel for the sacrifices made by our forefathers (and mothers!). The weather only enhanced the lesson – though I’m sorry it was soggy and cold for YOU!

  6. I just love seeing glimpses into your life and all of the interesting things that you and your family enjoy doing. I would have loved to have seen the reenactment in person. Thanks for sharing, Carole!

  7. Carol

    The roll call would have given me chills to listen to, too.
    Love the images and the whole idea coming to fruition. Good for your husband

  8. As a Southerner, I can totally appreciate what Dale and the others did on Saturday, makes me want to mark it on my calendar for next year and come see. We should never forget any of the “events” should we?

  9. Dale, as always, did a great job with this. It was a pleasure to take part. It was really something to hear the men’s names read off and especially to hear Dale’s knowledgeable comments with regard to what happened to them during the war. Made it very human. And I think the Boy Scouts had an experience they won’t soon forget!

  10. I have many ancestors who fought in the Civil War…unfortunately, most of them would be best classified under “wandering Confederates”, though there is one famous one for whom there is a school named in Virginia. That’s on my father’s side. I think all of the Civil War vets on my mother’s side were on the Union side.

    Have you read “Confederates In the Attic” by Tony Horwitz?

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