“To Honor Our Ancestors”


Many times during the course of our re-enactment history we have been asked as re-enactors, “Why do you re-enact”? What is

 it that motivates you to do what you do? What connection do you have with the American Civil War”? Why do you re-enact a

Confederate or Union unit? So, as an addition to our Genealogy section, we have decided to include this section to attempt to

answer those questions. As re-enactors, most of us have a direct connection to this brief turbulent period in our history.

Several of us have ancestry who fought, or contributed to the greatest conflict ever fought in the Western Hemisphere (see

below for listing). You ask, “Why do we re-enact”? Well, some of us do it to educate others, to pass on the knowledge we have

learned, but most of us do so out of respect, honor & dedication to our ancestors. Their duty & sacrifice helped make this

great country what it is today. It is only befitting that we honor those who gave so much in so short a time in our nation’s

history. Many people say that history is in the past & we should just leave it alone & forget about it. Why bring up a “bad

subject”.  However, we disagree & the Constitution of the United States of America, the one in our nation’s history, guarantees

this right, to disagree. Voltaire said it best, “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death the right to say it”. The

study of History, is the study of ourselves. To study ourselves, makes us better people. The only “bad subject, is the one no

one is willing to understand or talk about & the only bad question is the one that is never asked. Regardless of its unpopularity

with some, the American Civil War still remains part of our nation’s history & deserves our respect to honor it. It is interesting

that so many Americans know so little of their own nation’s history. I have personally experienced some of the most

pronounced historically un-educated individuals within our own society, with regard to the American Civil War. Some of the

questions I have been asked, ie; “Did we really have a Civil War in this country?”, “When did this happen?”, Or my personal

favorite, “Why aren’t there any bullet holes in any of these monuments?” , only supports the fact that many Americans know

little about their own nations history. Although, there are no stupid questions, some can be called questionable, to say the

least.  It is also sad to note that people from other countries know more about our country’s history then we do. Why do we re-

enact a Confederate/Union unit? To answer this question you must first realize that no matter what the color of the uniform

that was worn, ALL were Americans. We may not agree why they fought under a certain banner, or gave an allegiance to a

certain state, but we must understand, that we did not walk in their shoes & we have never experienced a “Civil War”, as they

did. Brothers fought against brothers & fathers fought against sons. The American Civil War was the most tragic, horrific

conflict we have ever fought as a nation. America, in 1860, was different than it is today & state’s rights were much more

pronounced than they are today. Mass transit & communication were restricted to how fast your horse could travel, or how

fast the rail system could transport you or your correspondence. Keep in mind that even the railroads were not standardized

from state to state, in 1860. States were isolated, to some degree & relied heavily on their internal resources to survive &

conduct commerce. America was already divided into individual states & individual economies. Thus, our population was just

as diversified. “The same land, the same God, but different dreams”. It would only be correct & proper to recognize ALL of the

Americans who so gave their dedication & sacrifice for what they believed, even though it may not be what you or I believe.

To enlighten you on some interesting facts, Did you know that the state of New York almost seceded from the union? It lacked

only 2 votes to secede. Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina & Tennessee only seceded after Federal troops were sent to South

Carolina. They thought it to be in direct violation of the Constitution. The number one port for slave importation was New York

Harbor. On the modern state seal of New York there are 2 slave ships sitting in NY Harbor, the state of NY likes to call them

Cargo ships now, to be more politically correct. According to the Constitution, it was legal for a state to secede from the

Union. New York was a major advocate of this issue, especially during the construction of the Constitution of the United

States & refused to sign it unless they were reserved the right to secede if they felt so inclined to do so. However, it was

illegal, under the Constitution, for the president of the United States to send military troops into a seceded state to force them

to return to the Union. So who was justified, is a matter of where you lived & what you believed in. “Hind-sight” is an

interesting concept for all of us, as we are allowed to pass judgement on the actions of others with never having to

experience any of the factors or hardships which caused the decision or outcome in the first place. In 1860, our nation was a

different place than it is today, and we must keep this in mind when we refer to it & its people. The souls of 623,026 soldiers

deserve our recognition, honor & respect.

Listed below are our membership & their ancestors whom we honor & dedicate ourselves too. For, without their sacrifice we

would not be the United States of America.


Capt. Pete Gilbert Jr. (118th N.Y. Commander)


*Ancestor: (Great-great Grandfather) Cpl. James Farden (1841-1903)


Born: Ireland

Homestead: Lisbon, NY

Enlisted: Age 21 years, 106th NY, Co. C, Vol. Inf., July 21st, 1862 @ Oswegatchie, to serve 3 years, mustered in as Pvt. Co. C,

August 27, 1862. Drilled @ Camp Wheeler, Ogdensburg, NY.

Some Unit Battle Actions: Mine Run Campaign, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg Campaign(returned during,

after 1st wound), Cedar Creek & Appomattox (not present due to 2nd wound).   

Wounded: Cold Harbor, VA., June 1,1864 – head, severe (right ear shot off). Sent to Alexandria, VA hospital. Promoted Cpl. June

1st, 1864. Returned to unit upon brief stay in hospital (a few days).

Wounded: Fisher’s Hill, VA., Sept. 19th, 1864 – left arm, severe. Sent to Satterlee Hosp. in W-Philadelphia, PA. Out of action

remainder of war. Mustered out: May 17th, 1865 while in Satterlee Hosp. Lost 40% use of his left arm due to wound.

James returned to his farm (Lisbon, NY) after the war. Several years later while attempting to shoe a horse, he was kicked in

the head & was killed.

James Farden is buried in Lisbon Cemetery with his wife Harriet.


*Ancestor: (Great-great Uncle) Pvt. John Farden (older brother of James)

Born: Ireland

Homestead: Lisbon, NY

Enlisted: 60th NY, Vol. Inf., Co. B, Sept. 9th, 1861, Drilled @ Camp Wheeler in Ogdensburg, NY.

Assigned guard duty for Washington/Baltimore RR for about 6 months (Nov. 1861 until May 1862).

Unit suffered from severe loss “due to illness” while on guard duty.

Listed as “Deserted”: May 1862 (possibly due to illness, but records are in-complete).

John returned to the family homestead near Lisbon, NY (1862); Never to re-join the unit (60th NY). It is thought that John did

not re-join the 60th NY or the war, upon his recovery from illness so that his brother James (106th NY) could go off to war. As

 John returned in May 1862 & James left in August of 1862. John took over the care of the family farm in Lisbon, NY. John

never married.

Some Unit Battle Actions of the 60th NY: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Look-out Mt., Sherman’s March, Capture of Columbia,


Buried: Lisbon Cemetery, near his brother James


1st Cpl. Daniel Reandeau (118th N.Y. Adjutant/Treasurer)


*Ancestor: Cpl. Lewis Benware

Enlisted: Sept. 10th, 1861, 60th NY, Vol. Inf. Co. # E, Drilled Camp Wheeler in Ogdensburg, NY.

Captured August 15th, 1862: Sent to Florence Prison, GA. & then to Andersonville Prison, Ga. (among the first 500 to enter the

prison). Lewis survived Andersonville prison & the war. Lewis wrote extensive memoirs of his war experiences & life as a

prisoner of war. Those memoirs are in the process of being published due to the extensive & dedicated work of his ancestor

Dan Reandeau to bring them to life.


Links to various genealogy pages


History and Genealogy Search Engines 


 Annotated Civil War Letters of William Wood