The Arsenal Newsletter Greater Pittsburgh Civil War Round Table

The Arsenal Newsletter
Greater Pittsburgh Civil War Round Table
October 2014
“The Civil War is the crux of our history. You cannot understand any part of our past, from the convening
of the Constitutional Convention, down to this morning, without eventually arriving at the Civil War.”
Bernard de Voto
"Fighting the Civil War Treasures of the Collection
of the
National Civil War Museum"
Wayne E. Motts
7 pm Monday
October 27th, 2014
The Hampton Community Center
3101 McCully Road
Allison Park, PA 15101
Wayne E. Motts is the chief executive officer of the National Civil War
Museum in Harrisburg.
Prior to this position, he was the director of the Adams County Historical
Society in Gettysburg.
He is a noted Civil War author and Historian. He has also been a licensed
battlefield guide at Gettysburg National Military Park for twenty five years.
An Ohio native with an undergraduate degree in military history from
Ohio State University and a master degree in American history from
Shippensburg University.
Wayne lives in Orrtanna, PA with his wife Tina.
By Stan Herman
Consecrated Dust
As the Civil war raged in the South, Pittsburghers prepared for an invasion that never came.
However, on September 17, 1862, the war visited Pittsburgh with the explosion of the Allegheny
Arsenal in Lawrenceville, PA, resulting in the most civilian deaths of any single incident of the entire
war. Three successive explosions at the arsenal resulted in the deaths of 78 civilians. Most of these
civilians were women as young as 14, who were in a building rolling, tying, and bundling rifle
cartridges for northern troops. Various causes of the explosions were offered such as sparks from the
metal hoops in the skirts worn by the workers, or from the illicit smoking of some employees, but an eye
witness reported that she saw sparks at the hoofs of horses pulling a wagon of supplies. The dead were
so badly dismembered that identification of the bodies relied on scraps of clothing found on the body
parts. The following day, September 18, the remains of the victims were buried in a common grave at
the Allegheny Cemetery or at the St. Mary’s Cemetery. A marker commemorating the disaster exists
today at the Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville.
Quite coincidentally, on the day of the worst civilian disaster, the worst single day of the war
was fought at Antietam, the opening of that battle of which occurred in a cornfield near the Dunker’s
Church. Among the northern troops were the Pittsburgh Rifles, members of the 9 th Pennsylvania
Reserves. Fathers and sons of that troop of that troop fought unknowing that possibly their sons,
daughters, and sisters were victims of the war back home. Nevertheless, the severity of the battle at
Antietam overshadowed the tragedy in Pittsburgh in national and even local newspapers. News of the
Arsenal explosion was relegated to page 3 of the leading Pittsburgh paper at the time.
Ms. Mary Frailey Calland, local author and attorney, and the September Roundtable speaker,
detailed the Arsenal disaster in her book, “Consecrated Dust: A Novel of the Civil War North.” She
spoke not only of the Arsenal explosion, but also a number of other interesting facts about the
contributions of Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers to the Civil War effort. Even before the war began,
Pittsburghers were instrumental in dismissing John Floyd, Secretary of War under Buchanan, who was
actively sending cannon and munitions to the Deep South. Ms. Calland also stated that great numbers of
the 338,000 Pennsylvanians who served were recruited in Pittsburgh. The city also raised millions for
the sanitary commissions that tended to the sick and wounded. Among those efforts was several relief
ships sent from Pittsburgh to Pittsburg Landing Tennessee, to care for the wounded at the Battle of
Ms. Calland’s book is an historical fiction which was inspired by her research into the Arsenal
explosion and takes its title from the inscription found on the Allegheny Cemetery monument which
marks the resting place of the disaster’s unknown dead. The book details the lives of four main
characters before and after the disaster.
By Jim Wudarczyk
Free Lecture
On Sunday, November 9 at 11 a.m., the Holy Name Society of Our Lady of the Angels Parish will
host author of the book, Until the Morning Cometh: Civil War Era Pittsburgh, Jim Wudarczyk. Speaking
on “Pittsburgh on the Eve of the American Civil War,” Wudarczyk will present an informative and
amusing talk on some little known events that helped to spark America’s bloodiest confrontation. The
event will take place in the social hall under the parish’s Saint Augustine Church. It is free and open to
the public. No reservations needed. Refreshments will be served.
Anyone not familiar with the architectural beauty of Saint Augustine Church (built between 1899
and 1900) may wish to view the stain glass windows, hand carved altars, and artwork by attending the
10 a.m. liturgy at the corner of 37th and Bandera Streets in Lawrenceville.
as reprinted from Civil War News
Gettysburg, PA. ---With Gov. Tom Corbett's signing of July 2, the long-awaited specialty license
plate that benefits preservation of Pennsylvania monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park
became reality.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation design will feature a color photograph of the
Pennsylvania Memorial with the words "Gettysburg 1863".
The department will have applications and plates beginning Oct. 30, in time for the annual
Remembrance weekend parade on Nov. 15 and Remembrance Day on Nov. 19.
According to the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA), Act 109 of 2014 was
signed into law 17 years after it was proposed.
In 1997, soon after founding the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, state
Representative Harry Reedshaw of Allegheny County proposed that the commonwealth authorize a
custom license plate to benefit the preservation of the more than 140 Pennsylvania monuments and
markers on the battlefield.
His legislation gained considerable support but failed to be enacted.
In the meantime, the Monument Project created and sold a Gettysburg 1863 unofficial license
plate to be mounted on the front of vehicles. The GBPA was among the early backers of Readshaw's
preservation campaign and has sold the unofficial plate at virtually all of its events.
Readshaw successfully inserted the monuments preservation plate language into a Senate bill
that authorized several other new specialized plates.
The plates will cost $54, excluding annual registration, of which $23 will go to a dedicated state
fund. The fund will provide grants to nonprofit organizations to pay for the park to clean, repair and
restore specific monuments proposed the organizations purpose.
The funds will not be used for maintenance of the Pennsylvania Memorial because the park
received $1 million in federal funding for its maintenance in 2001, according to GBPA President Barbara
Mowery. The license plate will feature the monument because it lists all of the Pennsylvania troops at
The Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project and GBPA will continue fundraising for
perpetual endowment trusts for each Pennsylvania monument to ensure periodic cleaning even if there
is no sponsoring organization filing for a state grant.
During Remembrance weekend Readshaw and the Monument Project will introduce the license plate at
a Nov. 14 banquet at the Dobbin House. Social hour will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7. Tickets
are $35 single or $60 for a couple.
The 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Fife and Drum Corps, the GBPA-sponsored Venture Troop 1863,
will provide music.
Questions and reservations can be directed to Barbara Mowery at 717-783-0411, 717-891-6369
or [email protected]
Longtime roundtable member Harry J. Noss, passed away August 11th at the age of 79. Harry
attended meeting regularly with his wife Alaine. Harry was a U. S. Air Force veteran. He served from
1954 to 1958 and attained the rank of staff sergeant.
We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to Alaine and the entire Noss family.
Thank you to the following roundtable members for donating items for the book raffle.
Allison Barash, George Benko, Bob and Pat Gorczyca, Jim Horton, Rege Ricketts, Autumn Shuty, Dave
Smith, and Mike Sparlin.
By Allison Caveglia Barash
This month’s featured veteran is Michael J. Tulley, Jr. Michael was a Specialist 5th Class in the US
Army from 1968 to 1971. He served in Valley Forge General Hospital in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Fort
Dix and in South Viet Nam. He claims his enemy in Viet Nam was the malaria blood parasite. He was a
Medical Laboratory Specialist who tested the troops for malaria infection.
Many thanks to Michael for the important work he did for his fellow soldiers and for our
By Allison Caveglia Barash
The much anticipated Greater Pittsburgh Civil War Round Table calendars are here and will be
available for purchase at the October, November and December meetings.
These 2015 calendars feature photographs taken exclusively by our each calendar you buy, you
are helping to save endangered hallowed ground members. They were the twelve top vote-getters out
of the more than forty photos submitted. These photos of Civil War sites, ranging from Gettysburg to
Andersonville and many places in between, are all in full color.
Each calendar costs $12. The profits will be directed toward battlefield preservation. Buy one
for yourself and for your historically-minded friends and relatives. They make great holiday presents.
You can feel good knowing that with
If you would like a calendar mailed to you, contact Allison at the email address below or at 412366-3854, or send a check for $14 (includes $2 for postage) made out to "GPCWRT" to Allison Barash,
1610 King James Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15237. Indicate that you are ordering a calendar and include
your name and complete mailing address.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact John ([email protected]) or Allison
([email protected]).
It is time to start making plans to attend the annual holiday dinner and silent auction. A
registration form is attached at the end of the newsletter. Joann will also have forms available at the
By Allison Caveglia Barash
Those of you who have attended our December meetings in the past know that we have one of
the largest and best silent auctions around! Past auctions have featured over 100 different items
including period photographs, battlefield artifacts, Civil War art, patriotic and hand-made items, great
books, videos and more.
However, the Silent Auction is not possible without donations from our members!
So start cleaning those closets and consider donating items you no longer need or want to the Silent
Auction. While Civil War-related items are great, we will happily accept anything that is in good
condition (with the exception of used clothing). All appliances must be clean and must work. It is
important that our auction items are of good quality.
You might also want to consider donating a service like driving someone to the airport or baking
a cake.
Silent Auction donations will be accepted by Allison Barash and Joann Siriano at the October and
November meetings. If you have large or heavy items, such as furniture or appliances, please contact
Allison about them first before bringing them to the meeting.
Direct all Silent Auction inquiries to Allison Barash at [email protected] or 412-366-3854.
Thanks in advance for your generosity!
Pictures from the Fall Adopt-A-Position trip to Gettysburg
Left-Group picture at the 155th PA Monument
Right-Group after the battlefield walk with "Honorary Yinzer" Susan Strumello
Fall Adopt-A-Position 2014
By Ulli Baumann
We had a great turn out for our final clean-up weekend on September 13 and 14. Our touring
day was a bit rainy but the hardy bunch that we are, we soldiered on through fields and woods and
across Willoughby Run with our fantastic Licensed Guide, Susan Strumello. Susan gave us a wonderful
tour of the First Day’s fighting concentrating on two regiments, one Union and one Confederate. We
followed the actions of the 26th North Carolina and the 24th Michigan on July 1, 1863. Susan truly was
great and we will surely have her back for another tour soon.
In the afternoon some of us visited the Shriver House Museum on Baltimore Street. This
beautifully restored home of George and Hettie Shriver and their two daughters really is worth a visit. If
you have not already done so, you should visit the house.
We ended the day with a fun surprise dinner for Darlane who recently celebrated a special
birthday. We had an upstairs dining room at O’Rorke’s and were joined by a boisterous bunch of guys
from the adjoining room in singing “Happy Birthday” to Darlane. I’m sure she won’t forget this birthday.
On Sunday morning we gathered at the 155th PA for our clean up. Unfortunately, the park
service had not maintained the site at all over the summer and we had a lot of work to do. Without the
efficiency of the weed whackers it was not that easy to make the area around the monument look
decent. But with hard work, we succeeded somewhat. Some of us also did some repair work at the
beginning of the path to the monument site. Sincere thanks to all who participated and made this
another successful, fun and rewarding weekend in Gettysburg: Dieter Uckert, Carol and Bill Rodgers,
Janice Pietrone, Karen Urbanek, Helen and Wayne Young, Ruth and Micky Casey, Maureen and Tom
Uhler, Ron Erhardt, John Duffy, Helen and Rege Ricketts, Ruth McCartan, Darlane Abel, Joann Siriano,
Jean Pascarella, Joe Schulmeister, Margie and Bob Pender, Allison and Marissa Barash, Dan Baumann,
and our first time attendee and new round table member, Mike Marini.
Look for news on 2015 Adopt-A-Position dates in future newsletters.
Group clean up at the 155th PA Monument
Bob P., Tom U., and Dan B. spreading gravel on path
Photos courtesy of Ulli Baumann and Bill Rodgers
By Joe Schulmeister
The grand opening of the Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. on
Saturday October 18th.
The Battle of Monterey Pass was fought for more than 10 hours on a rugged mountain in a
blinding thunderstorm during the middle of the night of July 4th and 5th 1863. Just one day after the
battle of Gettysburg ended. The battle eventually spilled into Maryland early on the 5th, making it the
only battle fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.
The museum is in Monterey Pass Battlefield Park, which commemorates Pennsylvania's second
largest Civil War battle. The park is in Washington Township, Franklin County.
Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield Inc. and township officials will host the museum's
For more information on the museum and the battlefield, please see their website at or call 717-762-3128.
Darlane Abel sent the following link to famous people buried in various cemeteries in the area.
Round Table Officers
President: John Campbell (724-316-5859) [email protected]
Vice President: Richard Fellers (724-443-6519)cell(412-760-9476)
Treasurer: Joann Siriano (412-508-6256) [email protected]
Committee Chairs:
Bob and Margie Pender [email protected]
Field Trips :
Ruth McCartan (412-364-6132) [email protected]
John Campbell (724-316-5859) [email protected]
Richard Fellers (724-443-6519) Cell (412-760-9476)
Webmaster: Jim Lisica [email protected]
Newsletter: Joe Schulmeister (724 -453-3547) [email protected]
Raffle & Welcome Table: Allison Barash (412-366-3854) [email protected]
Adopt-A-Position: Ulli Baumann (717-394-1138) [email protected]
Greater Pittsburgh Civil War Round Table, Founded February, 2000
Founders/Co-Chairs: Allison Caveglia Barash and Ulli Baumann
First Board Members: Darlane Abel, Michael Graswick, Bill and Mary Stout
Greater Pittsburgh Civil War Round Table
11 Annual Ed Hahn Silent Auction and Holiday Dinner
Monday, December 15th, 2014
Location: The Hampton Community Center
Happy Hour & Viewing of/Bidding on Silent Auction Items: 5:30 PM
(B.Y.O.B at your table)
Dinner Served: 6:00 P.M.
Cost: $28 per person
Entrees: Chicken Romano; Sliced Sirloin Au Jus; & Lemon & Butter Tilapia
(Includes: Honey Glazed Carrots; Parsley Buttered Potatoes; Garden Salad; Rolls & Butter;
Petite Cheesecake and Dessert Tray & Beverages)
Please RSVP no later than December 8th
---------------------------------------Detach & Return with Payment
Name: _____________________________________
Phone Number:
Number Attending: ___________________________
Total Amount Paid: ___________________________
Return to Joann at the roundtable meetings or send to:
Joann Siriano
223 10th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15215
610 Warwick Lane
Cranberry Twp., PA 16066