Readshaw honored at annual Preservation Ball
Rep. Harry Readshaw cuts the Preservation Ball anniversary cake with an authentic Civil War-era sword.
State Rep. Harry Readshaw was both the host and a surprise honoree at the 14th annual Civil War Preservation Ball held recently in the Capitol Rotunda.
Rep. Readshaw said this year's ball included more than 200 attendees from at least 10 different states; most of the ladies wore period gowns and gentlemen donned period civilian or military attire. Attendees came from Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, as well as Pennsylvania.
Sponsored by the Victorian Dance Ensemble of the Civil War Dance Foundation, the ball benefits the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, which Mr. Readshaw founded in 1997 after reading about the deterioration of the more than 1,000 monuments in the Gettysburg National Military Park.
Pennsylvania has more than 140 unit monuments and markers on the battlefield, including the iconic Pennsylvania Memorial. They mark the locations of the Pennsylvania regiments during the three-day battle in July 1863, pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of the units, and recognize the special actions of individual soldiers and officers, many of whom lost their lives.
Most were erected by the veteran survivors of the battle, assisted by allocations from the Pennsylvania General Assembly. A previous line item of the state budget funded restoration and maintenance of the Pennsylvania Memorial; the Gettysburg Monuments Project supports the unit markers and monuments. Time, weather and human contact have caused damage to these monuments.
Civil War-era music for the event was supplied by the Philadelphia Brigade Band, under the direction of Richard Cummines. The 21-member brass ensemble was attired in Union Army uniforms.
At the ball, "Call to Assembly" was played by drummer Evan Templin, a member of the Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 1861 Fife and Drum Corps who play the Civil War Field Music when portraying the First Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps.
Rep. Readshaw welcomed the crowd and introduced David Klinepeter, portraying Pennsylvania Gov. Andrew Curtin, a strong supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, who greeted the guests by thanking them for "supporting the effort."
Christopher Gwinn, representing the Gettysburg National Military Park, and his wife Allyson were introduced, as well as state Reps. Russ Diamond and his guest Beth McCormack and Dan Moul, who represents the area that includes the Gettysburg Battlefield, and his wife, Lori Moul, and their guests, Dennis and Dotty Moul. Gettysburg Foundation's CFO Dan Bringman and his wife Lucinda and former state Rep. Lynn Herman and his wife Julianne were also introduced.
Mr. Readshaw presented a citation to the Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 1861, for their portrayal of the Civil War 1st Regimental Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. The young musicians from throughout South Central Pennsylvania have performed at the last few balls and have also entertained as both Union and Confederate musicians throughout the Northeastern United States.
Rep. Readshaw was surprised during the intermission to also receive two citations recognizing his work in creating the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project 20 years ago. He received a House citation issued by Rep. Moul, who represents the Gettysburg region.
Gov. Tom Wolf also prepared a citation acknowledging the 20th anniversary of the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project. The governor's citation was presented by Mr. Herman.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebration, two cakes were presented, one inscribed with the anniversary, and the second featuring the two-horse logo from the Pennsylvania Coat of Arms, both decorated in Pennsylvania blue and gold. Rep. Readshaw cut the cake with an authentic Pattern 1850 Foot Officer Sword that was manufactured by Horstmann Brothers of Philadelphia, one of the companies that also made the Pennsylvania State Colors.
"I am extremely pleased that the attendance for this event, and the support and enthusiasm of all the participants, has not waned over the past 14 years. The continued viability of this event, and the entire Monuments Project is in no small part due to the Civil War community and sponsors," Mr. Readshaw said. "Seeing the attendees in so many different period outfits brings the whole era to life, especially in this building that President Theodore Roosevelt declared, 'The handsomest building I ever saw.'
"We pledge to continue our efforts to restore the Pennsylvania unit monuments at the Gettysburg Battlefield, providing resources that the National Park Service may utilize for the repair and restoration of those monuments.
"They are what this is all about – why the Gettysburg Monuments Project exists: to preserve the 'Icons of Freedom' of the Gettysburg National Military Park for our generation and many more to come," Mr. Readshaw said. "The legacy of the Battle of Gettysburg and what brought our nation to those awful three days must always be remembered and respected."
Rep. Readshaw can be contacted about the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project by calling his Harrisburg office at 717-783-0411, or by email at Gettysburg@pahouse.net.