The 53rd P.V.I. attends several battle reenactments and living history events throughout the year. Some of the reenactments we’ve attended include Sailor’s Creek, Gettysburg, Burkittsville, Bentonville, Spotsylvania Court House, 150th Anniversary of Chancellorsville , “Gates of Washington” (Monocacy), Cedar Creek, Antietam, “Lee Takes Command” (Elizabethtown, PA), Shenandoah 1864, and other events. Our unit is a member of the National Regiment, a battalion-sized organization that includes more than twenty Federal infantry groups. At the larger events, the National Regiment acts as a single unit, giving its members a special thrill as we recreate a more realistic Civil War regiment, complete with a band, field officers, and staff officers.
We pride ourselves on the “living history” aspect of the hobby. Civil War soldiers did not fight all the time. More often than not, they spent lots of time in camp drilling, cleaning their equipment, cooking, killing boredom, and then drilling some more. In this capacity, we seek to educate the public about how the Federal Civil War soldier lived on a daily basis. We regularly have living history encampments at Gettysburg National Military Park as well as the Berks Heritage Center near Reading, Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster, Fort McHenry in Baltimore and many other state and national historic sites. We also participate in many other interesting and unusual events including background artists in movies, documentaries, and paintings. Several of our members participated in the motion pictures “Glory”, “Gettysburg”, “Gods & Generals”, and other numerous television documentary programs. We are also active in campaign marches, whether it is a march from South Mountain to Antietam or a march into Gettysburg, we get the feel of what a “hike” was like for the typical soldier. The 53rd PVI also has participated in tactical events, similar to a simulated ‘war game’ where the officers must use their skill and knowledge of tactics to maneuver the men in the field under real-life situations in real-time. Whether making an assault on a fort or protecting your flank against the enemy, anything can occur at a tactical. Some of our members also specialize in speaking about the life of the soldier and Civil War medicine for schools, youth groups and other organizations. Contact us for further information and availability.
We wrap up each re-enacting season with a festive holiday Christmas dinner and party each January. Members choose a place that recreates the ambiance for a mid-nineteenth century feast.
The 53rd Pennsylvania usually attends at least one event per month. We meet over the winter to roll cartridges, drill, and integrate new members. Our yearly dues are used to offset the cost of buying company equipment such as powder and percussion caps.
2021 Event Schedule:
(all events are tentative as of this time)
27~28 March – NR School of Instruction
1-2 May – NR Camp of Instruction – Gruber Wagon Works (Reading) – NR Max Effort – CANCELLED
15-16 May – Newville Drill (with 1st MN et al.) – CANCELLED
31 May – Hummelstown Memorial Day Parade – CANCELLED
12-13 June – Fenian Raid (8th OH) – Fort Erie, Canada – contact Col. Tom Downes (8th OH) for more info.
18 June – Ft. Mifflin Event (Philadelphia)
17-18 July – Unit Drill with ELF and NR (Gruber Wagon Works)
31 July – Company Picnic (Denver Park)
7-8 Aug. – Cedar Mountain Re-enactment (contact James Owens 1st MN for more info)
28-29 August – 53rd PVI Living History w/ ELF – Spangler’s Spring – Gettysburg NMP – Cancelled by NPS
16-17 Oct – Cedar Creek Re-enactment (NR)
6-7 November – Civil War Days – Landis Valley Museum (Lancaster)
20 November – Remembrance Day Parade/NR Meeting – Gettysburg
4 December – Annual business meeting