By Derek M.  Otto

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Civil War Society of Western New York held its second meeting.  The society was formed with the Echoes Through Time Civil War Museum.   The goal of the Civil War Society is to offer speakers and events relating to the American Civil War.

Thomas Place, who heads the group, opened with an update on the Civil War Trust preservation of the Chancellorsville and Wilderness battlegrounds.  The Civil War Trust is only $50,000 from completing the $1.75 million preservation of the 355-acre site.   The Civil War Trust is close to its Oct. 31 deadline and is just shy of the total amount.   

After the update, Mike Lavis of Blasdell presented on the life of the Civil War soldier.   Lavis presented a  variety of tidbits on the culture of the army during the war of rebellion.   For instance, soldiers had their own language.   “Going to see the elephant,” was the phrase that the soldiers used to describe going into battle.  As Lavis explained, most of the soldiers came off from farms.  The biggest thing they would have seen before the war was the circus coming to town.

In his hour-long presentation, Lavis described medical issues and some of the misbehaving and punishment that occurred in the army’s culture during the war. One story he shared was how the officers abused their power by having luxury train cars when regular troops were left in boxcars. At one stop, the regulars detached the officer’s car from the train and the train left them at the stop.

To learn more about the Civil War, The Civil War Society invites you to join them every last Wednesday of the month at the Lucy Bensley Center, 23 North Buffalo Street, in Springville.   The meetings start at 7 p.m. and offer a lot learning opportunities.    Last month’s meeting focused on CAMP, the group attempting to save the Civil War Memorial in Little Valley.

The next meeting is Oct. 26, and the theme will be Civil War ghosts.  The Echoes Through Time museum is open Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 39 East Main Street, Springville.