Dear Readers throughout North Carolina:
On October 8th and 9th of this year, my non-profit outfit (The Forest Glen Commonwealth) is organizing an unprecedented event that will commemorate the soldiers, NCOs, teamsters/wagoners, and hospital workers who were part of the "Wagontrain of Woe," which was the 17-mile wagontrain that left Gettysburg on July 4th under the command of Brig General John D. Imboden.
The event will also celebrate the ordinary folks who were living in and around the Canal Town of Williamsport, Maryland when the thouands of wounded CSA soldiers stopped and occupied the entire area for ten or so days in July.
There will also be events and activities in the Falling Waters Road area (where Lee finally crossed into the South).
Other venues are being added daily.
We will also be starting the weekend off with a car and motorcycle caravan that will begin in Gettysburg and which will follow the route that Imboden took to get around Chambersburg, across to Greencastle (PA) and down to Williamsport. (Advance registration will be required to be in the "hospital procession" and a donation of $35 will be requested per participant, which will help raise money for future programs that our non-profit will be hosting.)
That will begin around 10 am on Saturday, October 8th.
The event is called "Grace Under Fire: Williamsport and the Retreat from Gettysburg." Among the many activities already planned will be a forum and workshops with several well-known historians and authors, including (1) Kent Masterson Brown, whose recent book "Retreat from Gettysburg" was published by the University of North Carolina Press, (2) J.D. Petruzzi and Mike Nugent (partners of Eric Wittenberg), who are about to release "One Continuous Fight," (3) Steve French, and (4) Don Toomey.
Williamsport was critical in Lee's successful strategy to keep his Army in tact and to bring the wounded and many needed provisions into Virginia. General Imboden was in a tough position, backed up against the rain-swollen Potomac and needing to repulse the Union Cavalry. So on July 5th of 1863, he rounded up wounded men and teamsters and defended his positions -- they called the group "Company Q" and it was led by Lt. Colonel William Delony. Many other well-known wounded CSA leaders went through Williamsport safely, including Gen Wade Hampton and General Hood.
So we are seeking descendents of all the thousands of men of all walks of life who were part of that wagontrain -- we are intenting to compile an anthology of stories and recollections of men who were there -- in Gettysburg, Williamsport, then on Staunton and Richmond.
We welcome re-enactors who want to help portray some of the men who were on the wagontrain.... and we are seeking folks who have a desire to be part of the procession going from Gettysburg to Williamsport to honor all of the wounded, their caregivers, and those who perished along the way.
Here is our contact information:
Phone = 1-866-588-6503
Mail = Forest Glen, PO Box 665, Williamsport, MD 21795
Web address = www.forest-glen-commonwealth.org
Thanks so much. I'll be posting updates all summer long.
-- Rick Lank