Eastern History Club Visits New England Civil War Museum

On Sunday, November 13, 2016, eleven students from Prof. Balcerski’s HIS 307: Civil War & Reconstruction class traveled to the New England Civil War Museum in Vernon, CT.  They were met by Matthew Reardon, Executive Director of the museum (former Eastern History major and member of the History club), and Hank Cullinane, Treasurer of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Alden Skinner Camp #45 (and proud father of a current Eastern student).

Students in HIS 307: Civil War and Reconstruction pose with Prof. Balcerski and staff members outside the New England Civil War Museum in Vernon, CT, including Executive Director Matthew Reardon

Students in HIS 307: Civil War and Reconstruction pose with Prof. Balcerski and staff members outside the New England Civil War Museum in Vernon, CT, including Executive Director Matthew Reardon

Hank Cullinane began the tour with an overview of the numerous architectural features of the exterior of the building, which today houses not only the museum but the municipal offices of the municipality of Rockville.  In short order, students were mustered into service by Frank Niederwerfer, Senior Vice Commander of Alden Skinner Camp #45, proudly wearing his replica Union army uniform.  So long as they passed the single requirement of possessing two front teeth, the enlistees were then given their bonus pay of $13.  The new soldiers were further educated about food and religion during the Civil War by members of the camp (also wearing full uniform).  It’s off to war they go!

Students muster (in order of height) under the tutelage of Frank Niederwerfer, Senior Vice Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Alden Skinner Camp #45, Vernon, CT—two front teeth required!

Students muster (in order of height) under the tutelage of Frank Niederwerfer, Senior Vice Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Alden Skinner Camp #45, Vernon, CT—two front teeth required!

History major Adrianna Mihalek is all smiles after enlisting and receiving her muster pay of $13.00.

History major Adrianna Mihalek is all smiles after enlisting and receiving her muster pay of $13.00.

After wrapping up at the museum, the students, faculty, and staff headed over to the nearby Grove Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of 137 Union veterans.  Walking along the peaceful grounds of the cemetery, Matthew Reardon told the group many stories of the individual soldiers buried there.  Everyone left with a much better appreciation of the sacrifice rendered by the “Boys from Rockville” and of the Union Army more generally.

Attendees included:
Miguel A. Barrientos
Shayla J. Beausoleil
Joseph V. DeMarco
Jonathon L. Gallo
Leonel A. Hyatt
Hugh E. Lindo
Katiana N. Mendez
Adrianna Mihalek,
Alexa E. Potter
Ronald W. Robillard
Caitlin M. Shroyer

Students, faculty, and museum staff pose for the camera in front of the memorial chapel at Grove Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of 137 Union Army veterans.

Students, faculty, and museum staff pose for the camera in front of the memorial chapel at Grove Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of 137 Union Army veterans.

Many thanks to the staff of the New England Civil War Museum and the Alden Skinner Camp #45 for volunteering their time and expertise to the students and faculty.  Learn more about the museum and camp at their website: http://www.newenglandcivilwarmuseum.com.