Civil War reenactors set camp in Westfield’s Moore Park

Shown are from left, Grand Ole Army of the Republic (GAR) soldiers Aiden Malloy, a sophomore at Jamestown High School, Pvt. Paul Sission, a homeschooled student, from Hamburg, and Capt. Paul Malloy pose for a picture during a Civil War reenactment program.

WESTFIELD – Chautauqua County history came alive this past weekend.

Civil War reenactors converged at Westfield’s Moore Park from Friday through Sunday to offer a glimpse for spectators and history buffs into what life was like for soldiers assigned to the Grand Ole Army of the Republic and Confederate troops during the Civil War.

Members of the Ninth New York Cavalry Regiment struck camp, and uncased the unit’s colors, signifying the unit’s occupation of the public park.

“History is an important subject,” said Jack Boove, a retired U.S. Advanced Placement history teacher from Florida, a Civil war historian and reenactor who was dressed in a blue-clad Union army soldier’s kit. “The Civil War was fought to preserve the Union – its part of our history – and we’d do well to remember that.”


From left, Pvt. Paul Sission, a homeschooled student, from Hamburg, and Cpl. Aiden Malloy, a sophomore at Jamestown High School, take a break in front of their bivouac site during a Civil War reenactment display held in Moore Park, Westfield.

According to ushistory.org after Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election, and secured the presidency, seven Southern states seceded from the union and formed a new, sovereign country. The Confederate States of America began on Feb. 8, 1861. However, actual warfare didn’t start until April 12, 1861, when the confederacy attacked the U.S. military installation at Fort Sumter, S.C. Thus, igniting a Civil War, which would engulf the entire nation and lasted four years and one month. The loss of life, infrastructure and manufacturing was catastrophic to the United States; The Union suffered 110,000 plus, killed in action (KIA); 230,000 plus died of disease, accidental or from wounds; 25,000 – 30,000 died in confederate prisons for a combined total of 365,000 estimated deaths. Additionally, the union suffered more than 282,000 wounded and 181,193 soldiers captured. Total Union losses amounted to more than 828,000. The Southern states didn’t fare much better. The Confederacy had more than 94,000 KIA; 26,000 – 31,000 died in Union prisons; 137,000 plus soldiers wounded; 436, 658 captured for a total loss of an estimated 864,000 Grey Coats.

“The total catastrophic loss of life was staggering,” said Capt. Adam Malloy, Commander of Company B., New York 72 Volunteer Infantry BN., and resident of Jamestown. “That’s part of the reason we do these reenactments to honor the courage and bravery of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War, and to bring history to life.”

The reenactment detachment has conducted several theatrical presentations, and has a full schedule of events to still attend the rest of the year.

“We march in the Jamestown Christmas Parade, and a bunch of other town and village celebrations,” said Malloy. “The history of the 72nd draws its formational roots to Jamestown. So anytime we can be a part of something local, we jump on it.”

Malloy explained the historical timeline associated with Company B. from its inception in 1861 to its mustering out of service in 1864.

P-J photos by Christopher Blakeslee Civil War Reenactors with the 72nd New York Volunteer Infantry Company B, Chautauqua County pose for a picture at Moore Park, Westfield, during a Civil War historical reenactment over the weekend. Several campsites were struck giving an overall look into what life was like for Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

“Company B was formed in Jamestown in May and June of 1861,” he said. “The 72nd had been involved in more than 10 combat engagements, including the famous battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and the Battle of the Wilderness before being mustered out of service in 1864.”

Spectators were able to handle original Civil War Era muskets, bayonets, and some reproduced replica weapons and equipment during the event. Artwork and historic photography posters and slide shows were also on display. A ceremonial flag raising was conducted Friday morning at 9 a.m. with full military honors rendered and an authentic tent “governmental quarters” city was erected to give program attendees a feel for what encampment life was like during the Civil War.

“We do our best to present a high-quality, free-of-charge, Civil War historical experience. We’re all volunteers and love to bring history to life for those who come and see us,” Malloy said.

For more information see the unit’s Facebook pages: 72nd New York Volunteer Infantry or 72nd New York Volunteer Infantry Company B.

Pictured is an authentic, barrel stamped 1863 Civil War musket used in the war with its original bayonet attached. Placed on the table for display is a variety of original and reproduced Civil War weapons and equipment for spectators to inspect and hold part of a reenactment camp in Moore Park over the weekend.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today