On April 11, the Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum opened for the 2015 tourism season. The hours of operations are every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., through November 21, 2015. The opening was met with a couple of programs for the Friend’s membership base. Members from as far away as Kansas came to participate in the museum’s opening and programs.
This year the museum features a few new exhibits. The first is a display of mess equipment that soldiers during the Civil War would have used. The prime center piece for this exhibit is the English mess tin that was imported from Britain and issued mostly to Confederate soldiers. Soldiers may have chosen to use them, but often those bulky, unnecessary items were tossed or placed in storage. This exhibit also features a tin plate, cup, collapsible cup, flatware and an original piece of hardtack.
Another new exhibit is an artillery mounted services jacket that would have been worn by a Union artillery soldier. This jacket is a great example of the type of jacket that would have been issued mid-war. The case also showcases some smaller artillery items such as a shovel, and field glasses. Other exhibits are in the works and we hope to have everything in place by July 2015 for our 152nd Commemoration of the Monterey Pass Battle.
For the season opener, two main programs were given, that were offered solely to our membership base. For those of you who are not yet members, this is a great way to get the first opportunity to participate in programs that are not yet offered to the general public. The first program was the Maria Furnace Road During the Colonial Era. Most visitors to our park come to learn about the battle that was fought just one day after the close of the Battle of Gettysburg. But what many don’t realize is that this wasn’t the only major historical event that took place at Monterey Pass. The Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia went directly through Monterey Pass, then known as Nichols’ Gap. The lecture part of the tour also talked about the first settlements of the area. Several aspects of the French and Indian War were covered, including local Indian raids, which is an often overlooked piece of history to our area.
The second program was the Confederate Retreat from Gettysburg Overlooks Tour. This is a very unique program, in that from one of the overlooks, known as Virginia Rock, you can see the battlefield at Gettysburg. While from the overlook at High Rock, you can see the opposite side of the mountain, through the area that the Confederate Army retreated. Once both of these locations are viewed, it gives the participant a better understanding of the retreat, and how important Monterey Pass was to the Confederate Army and more importantly, the topography of the area.
Coming soon at the museum we will be offering books for sale on Monterey Pass, as well as other books on the Civil War in our area. We will also have paintings for sale that were done exclusively for the Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield, Inc. as a fundraiser. Be sure to pick up your copy while you are there. We will also have more brochures on the battle, as well as the new and improved driving tour.
On April 18, the Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield, Inc. held a special ceremony to re-dedicate the memorial to CPL Joseph Brubaker, who lost his life serving his country in the Vietnam War. His parents, who were locals to the area, constructed the original memorial on the property shortly after his death. Upon purchasing the property, one of the goals of the Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield, Inc. was to give this memorial a permanent home on the front of the museum, for all to see.
Joseph Brubaker, Jr. was born and raised in Blue Ridge Summit. Shortly after graduating from Waynesboro Area Senior High School, Joe joined the United States Marines. He was transferred to Vietnam in December 1966, where he became a Crew Chief with the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362, 1st Marine Air Wing. He served two tours in Vietnam from December 1966 to February 1969, earning the rank of Corporal. CPL Brubaker received 31 Air Medals and participated in over 620 combat missions. His last assignment was flying in support of Marine forces involved in Operation Lynn River, Da Nang, Quang Nam Province. Corporal Joseph Brubaker, Jr. was killed in action on February 6, 1969.
The ceremony honoring Corporal Brubaker began at 12:00 p.m. with a Posting of Colors by Sgt. Richard Billig, 8th and I Marines, Marine Corps League, Gettysburg Detachment. The Re-Dedication of the memorial and wreath laying was done by Alicia Miller, Chairman of the Friends of Monterey Pass Battlefield, Inc., James Funk, Jr., USMCR, Carlton Crenshaw, USMCR, Dennis Brubaker, who was Cpl. Brubaker’s cousin, and Philip H. Collins, Company B, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. The ceremony concluded with guest speakers Aubrey Yanzito for Senator Pat Toomey, Congressman Bill Schuster of the U.S. House of Representatives, David Keller, Chairman of the Franklin County Commissioners, Dennis Brubaker, James Funk, Jr., and Carlton Crenshaw. A special thanks goes out to Thomas Cantwell and John Gorman for planning this event.
The Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield, Inc. hopes that you will join them in the 2015 tourism season. New for this year, are the inclusion of campfire programs in the evening. These programs are a great way to learn more about local history, and the kids love these programs, so bring your whole family! They have many events planned that are open to the public, so please check their website often, http://www.montereypassbattlefield.org. Also, if you love history, and are interested in volunteering your time for the education of others, please let the Friends of Monterey Pass Battlefield, Inc. know, they are always looking for volunteers and new ideas.