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Blue and Gray Reunion opens Thursday in Philippi

May 30, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Thursday at 6:30 p.m. marks the official start of the 23rd annual Blue and Gray Reunion, with the Blue and Gray Choir performing at the gazebo in the Barbour County Courthouse square in Philippi.

"The Blue and Gray Choir consists of members of the community and surrounding areas from as far away as Charleston. We sing period music," said volunteer Doretta Brown.

Vendors will be selling traditional crafts and food in the Courthouse square beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday, however. The choir is set to perform again on Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Crim Memorial United Methodist Church between Pike Street and Walnut Street.

The event will last from Thursday to Sunday and will feature many historic events in remembrance of the Civil War and time period. Artillery demonstrations will take place throughout the weekend as well as reenactments of the Hanger leg amputation.

There will be between 40 and 50 stations set up to explain life as it was lived during the Civil War. The Battle of Philippi will be explained and there will be a demonstration of Irish Road Bowling.

Kid's day will begin at 8:45 a.m. on Friday and is expected to be smaller this year than in the past.

Fact Box

If you go

What: Blue and Gray Reunion?

When: Thursday through Sunday

Where: Philippi


"It will be a little bit smaller because the schools are letting out thanks to the redoing of the calendars because of snow days. It'll still be just as nice, just not as many kids," Brown said.

Registration for the Little Soldiers Battle will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Covered Bridge area. Children ages 6 to 12 may participate in the battle. The Little Soldiers Battle will take place at the covered bridge area at 10 a.m. the same day.

Lineup for Friday's parade will take place at 6:30 p.m. The parade will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will take place on Main Street. Following the parade there will be a fireworks display at 10 p.m. that can be viewed from anywhere downtown.

Adaland Mansion will host barn tours on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to the public, but a charge for the tour and tea applies. Adaland Mansion was built in the 1800s and has been restored to preserve its history. Today, the mansion is primarily operated with the help of volunteers.

"They dress in their Civil War best," Brown said.

Lady's Tea will also take place at Adaland. For more information about the tea and barn tours, call Adaland at 304-457-1587.

"The highlight of Saturday evening is the Civil War Ball at 9 p.m.," Brown said. "If Mother Nature smiles on us and it doesn't rain, it'll be on the courthouse lawn. If it does rain, it'll be in the gymnasium at the city building right on Main Street."

A reenactment of the amputation of Hangar's leg will take place at various times throughout the weekend. At 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, the reenactment will take place at Sutler Row (the bank lot at the stop light). Later at 9 p.m., the reenactment will take place by candlelight at the same location and again on Sunday at 2 p.m.

"They do a wonderful job and Noel Clemmer has a lot of original surgeon's tools. Some of them he got at flea markets and yard sales," Brown said. Clemmer will be acting as the surgeon in the reenactment.

The amputation reenactment will take place again at Sutler Row in conjunction with a discussion about Civil War period medical practices. Some tools from the period will be on display, including the federal doctor's field kit, medical supplies and commonly used herbal remedies, photos and other medical artifacts.

"It's pretty realistic, so if you have a week stomach I would advise you not to watch," Brown said. "He uses liver and stuff that looks like pieces of flesh when he throws it behind him. We have a thing that squirts like an artery that's been severed. He's actually sawing on a bone when he saws."

The train museum by the railroad tracks and historical covered bridge will be open and is free to tour, but a fee of $1 per person is required to view the mummies on display.

A Reenactor's Night Skirmish will take place at 11 p.m. Saturday where cannons are fired back and forth across the river.

"On Sunday we have an 1800s-style church service at 10 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church, the little white church at the stoplight," Brown said.

Sunday will also feature the artillery demonstration at 12:30 p.m. and the reenactment of the "First Land Battle of Civil War."

For a full schedule of events and more information about the Blue and Gray Reunion, visit or call (304) 457-4265, (304) 457-2368 or (304) 457-5183.



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