PHILIPPI, W.Va. – The Blue and Gray Reunion concluded its last day of activities on Sunday, June 5.
Between Thursday and Sunday, there were many smaller battles leading up to the final day, The Battle of Philippi.
To start the day off, there was a church service held at 10 a.m. that led into entertainment at the downtown gazebo. There was a cannon demonstration at 12:30 p.m. then the Confederates and Union were shown fighting in a re-enactment of the First Land Battle of the Civil War. To end the day, they held another re-enactment of Hanger’s Amputation.
The battle started at 2 p.m. to the sound of cannons going off. This consisted of the Union soldiers making their way across the Philippi Covered Bridge to have a gun fight with the Confederate soldiers.
The Union soldiers pushed the Confederates clear back through downtown Philippi, starting at the bridge. Victory in the Battle of Philippi went the the Union Soldiers, just like it did 161 years ago.
John H. Brasuk, the major behind Lurty’s Virginia Horse Artillery, spoke about how he felt that the town holds the re-enactment annually. He said, “It’s nice in the fact that it’s actually here. It’s actually in the town. It’s actually, you know, you’re not only doing it with the reunion part of it, but you’re actually doing it with the actual town. You know, you’re not making it up like doing it at Harper’s Ferry, and saying ‘well that’s Philippi,’ no, it’s actually in Philippi. Which makes it nice.”
Brasuk mentioned that this event is an important opportunity for the community to learn and remember this piece of history, because there is a lot of history that is not being remembered anymore. According to Brasuk, that is why they bring it alive with the gunpowder in the cannons and the guns.
The last re-enactment had to do with Hanger’s Amputation. A Civil War Research Engine talked about how James E. Hanger, a Confederate soldier, was wounded by a cannonball, which lead to him becoming the first amputee of the Civil War. A Union doctor gave him a Yankee leg peg which he did not like, so he ended up creating an artificial leg that had a joint at the knee and hinge at the ankle. He patented the “Hanger’s Leg” and created a Prosthetic and Orthotics company.
After a weekend of fun events and historical attributes, the 33rd Annual Reunion came to an end, promising to come back again next year.