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Colonel Crowther Foundation provides programs at Royer Living History Weekend

The Colonel Crowther Foundation, a Civil War living history education group, provided programs for the Royer Living History Weekend last Saturday and Sunday, May 19 – 20.
The program present during the daytime hours utilized a two-station format. At the first station, soldiers, in period uniforms, greeted visitors and talked with them about military life in camp during 1862. The discussion also expressed the concerns most soldiers had about what was happening at home. During this time the wife assumed extra burdens, having to take care of matters that the husband would have performed had he been home.
At the next station visitors met ladies in period attire who talked about the obligations they had to perform in their husband’s absence while on military duty. These were not easy times for the wife of a soldier. She had to perform duties that were new to her in addition to keeping the home up and worrying about how she would cope, especially if there were small children in the family, if her husband did not survive this terrible conflict. As a Union wife, she would also worry about a Confederate invasion of this part of central Pennsylvania.
A new program was presented Saturday evening. Those attending the program learned about the experiences of residents of the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia as they observed the Union forces gathering across the Rappahannock River and the invasion of their homes during one of the major battles in the eastern theater of war.
Foundation Board of Directors member Deb Topinka read passages from the diary of Jane Beale, a resident of the city and witness to the battle. The reading of these passages gave special emphasis to the pain and hardship experienced by the civilian population. Foundation member Joe Topinka provided military and personal views of the battle as seen through the eyes of a Confederate officer. Two letters written by Colonel James Crowther, who commanded the 110th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers during the battle, documented the service of that regiment. Foundation Secretary/Treasurer and board member Carol Hileman read the letter Colonel Crowther wrote to his wife Sarah and foundation member Susan Leppert read the letter he wrote to his sister-in-law Olivia. Foundation President Bob Hileman, Jr. provided commentary and, using illustrations from Harper’s Weekly newspaper, enabled those attending to acquire an understanding of this troubled time in American history.
Many favorable comments were received from those who attended the program. Several people stated that a living history program helps them to understand the real feelings and actions of the people who were involved.