Union Soldier Reenacter Gus Truin was part of a day-long Civil War remeberance on Saturday. (Howard Megdal/Hudson Valley Newspapers)
The blue and the gray meet in a battle of songs
By Howard Megdal
HUDSON -- As tourists and natives walked down the streets of Hudson Saturday afternoon, they might have been surprised by the increased military presence.
Have no fear -- Hudson wasn't under attack by General Lee's army. The Union Soldiers were part of the day-long Civil War Remembrance.
Outside of the First Presbyterian Church, Charles Swain, whose grandfather was a Buffalo Soldier, kept a tented vigil over the military installation of Fourth and Warren. There was no Confederate attack, but several tourists did lay siege to his collection of soldiers, as well as his patriotic hats and a Spongebob Squarepants. The consumer encounter left both sides happy.
Meanwhile, in the Hendrick Hudson Chapter House, keepsakes from Civil War times were on display. Many people got into the spirit- and their Union soldier uniforms.
"I'm one of the local reenacters," said Gus Truin, a veteran of battle reenactments at Gettysberg, Antietam, and many other sites. "I see a lot of the same people wherever I go."
The brigades marched back to their headquarters at First Presbyterian Church promptly at 1900 hours for a Thanksgiving Remembrance Concert, led by the 77th Balladeers.
"What's remarkable to me is how much research we've been able to find," said Balladeer John Quinn, who played both master of ceremonies and guitar.
Quinn was joined by Jim Broden on fiddle, Bill Lonecke and Kevin Hagan on banjo, Jim Davis on Celtic harp, the beautiful and talented Gisella Montanez-Case with soprano voice, Beth Lawton and Tony Manes on guitar, Barbara Lonecke on snare drum, Sharon Quinn on bodhran and Kevin Umhey on Jaw Harp. David Clapper opened the concert with a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on the church organ.
The music consisted of some of the most popular tunes of the Civil War, from Dixie (ironically, one of President Lincoln's favorite tunes), My Old Kentucky Home, When Johnny Comes Marching Home and The Army Bean, the soldiers hymn to all things bean-like.
"Music was a wonderful way for people in the Victorian era to emote," said Quinn.
While the novelty of the music was clear in the looks of surprise and delight among the audience, this is nothing new for the Quinns, who have been Balladeers for five years.
"We got interested through our ancestery, which goes back to Civil War times," said Sharon Quinn. "We've gone as far south as Chesapeake, Virginia to perform."
The music was interspersed with readings of letters from the war. Carl Whitbeck read letters from his great-grandfather, a captain in the 128th Regiment. Joel Craig read a poem dedicated to the 128th.
The 128th was made up of volunteers from Dutchess and Columbia County, and organized by Colonel David S. Cowles.
"If you feel the son yourself, you can carry the audience with you," said the late Walter Kittredge, creator of the tune "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground," which the Balladeers played tonight. As the audience clapped, cheered, and danced in their seats, it was clear that battle had been won.
Copyright © 2002 Hudson Valley Newspapers, Hudson, NY