The 21st Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend, with military host the 12th Regiment U.S. Infantry, Co. A, will take place Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 at 10 am in Peterboro, NY.

The military unit has hosted the Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend for nearly two decades working with the community association to ensure an authentic historic experience for families. The public is encouraged to visit the 12th as the soldiers and their family members camp On the Green in Peterboro for the weekend portraying life during the Civil War.

The 12th is a living history unit from Syracuse, NY that participates in local and national events and portrays a regiment of the regular U.S. army that served throughout the American Civil War. As members of the United States Volunteers (U.S.V.) the unit is part of the largest reenactor organization in the United States.

According to Neil K. MacMillan, who portrays the first Sergeant for the reenacting military unit, the 12th Infantry went through three incarnations before today’s infantry unit was born. In 1796 war with both France and Britain loomed on the horizon. Congress authorized 10 regiments to be raised for service on the frontier. The 12th saw its first service in the Old Northwest which is present day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. Two years later the regiment was disbanded and the men were dispersed among the 2nd and 4th infantry.


With the war of 1812 came a need for more regulars and Congress again authorized the raising of ten infantry regiments for the duration of the crisis. The 12th served with distinction in three of the war’s four theatres (The Niagara Frontier, Plattsburg, and Maryland). When the war ended, the 12th was again disbanded. The 2nd and 4th Infantry regiments absorbed the men from the 12th. The 12th was again raised for service in Mexico in 1845.  With peace came another disbanding and again the 2nd and 4th Infantry absorbed soldiers of the 12th.


Macmillan explains that with the shelling and surrender of Fort Sumter in April of 1861, Congress authorized the increase of the Regular army. Once again the 12th was called to service. Authorized in May of 1861, the regiment was raised at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York. The regiment numbered 1061 officers and men at full strength. In March of 1862, the regiment was attached to Sykes regular division (2nd division, volunteer corps.) The regiment would serve from March of 1862 to November of 1864 in active combat with the Army of the Potomac. The 12th saw action at all the major battles from the Seven Days Battles to Hatcher’s Run. When the unit was removed from front line service the 1st battalion was sent to Elmira to form the guard contingent for the prison camp. The second battalion was sent to Fort Hamilton to refit and recruit. The regiment numbered 124 men.


 After the Civil War, the regiment remained in service serving in the Indian wars, the Spanish-American war, both world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and continues to serve serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The “Warriors” are based at Fort Carson.


MacMillan is proud of the reenacting unit, explaining that Larry Allen formed The 12th US Infantry (re-enacting) as the 1st New York Cavalry. After several years of being on the fringe of events the unit traded their Sharps for Springfield muskets. Major Allen commanded the 12th for many years and helped to bring a more authentic portrayal of the Civil War Army to the hobby. Jim Hurd currently commands the unit as captain. 1st Sergeant MacMillan announces that the 12th infantry is actively seeking recruits of good character to portray all aspect of the Civil War.


The military and civilian encampment On the Green in the Hamlet of Peterboro NY includes period music, entertainment, shopping, demonstrations, hamlet walking tours, programs, exhibits, period fashions, chicken barbeque, pancake breakfast, drill exercises, a Sunday sermon, a daily skirmish at 2 p.m., and a children’s area with games and toys The encampment is surrounded by abolition, Civil War, and Underground Railroad exterior and interior exhibits and programs at the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (GSENHL), the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum (NAHOF), and the Peterboro Area Museum. The Gerrit Smith Estate is a site on the National Park Service Network to Freedom (the national Underground Railroad Trail).  The Gerrit Smith Estate and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum are both sites on the Underground Railroad Heritage Trail, a program of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.


Sponsored by the Smithfield Community Association, the Town of Smithfield, and private donors, the annual event recognizes the abolition role of Gerrit Smith and Smith’s support of John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry.  2013 programs will feature the Emancipation Proclamation and its connection to Peterboro, the recruitment and service of the United States Colored Troops, and the service of local men in the Battle of Gettysburg. These programs are made possible, in part, with funds from the New York Council for the Humanities, and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, administered by CNY Arts.


Admission covers event activities (except shopping and food). $7 Adults, $3 ages 6 – 12, Free for under 6. Further information and updates: www.civilwarweekend.sca-peterboro.org, 315-280-8828, mail@sca-peterboro.org

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