Civil War Road Show travels to Muncy to honor 150 years
MUNCY – Sponsored through a grant by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission the Muncy Historical Society was able to bring the PA Civil War Road Show to Muncy to honor the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It was set up for four days at the Muncy High School Sports Field Complex. An expandable 53 foot trailer housed several interactive exhibits with facts and special programming on how the War was fought on the battlefields depicting photographs and utilizing sound effects to portray what life was like during this time when our nation was severely divided.
Several booths and tents were also staged to show how the soldiers lived and the resources they used to survive, although casualties were many. The 149th PA Bucktails Infantry Regiment performed re-enactments and drills on the hour throughout the weekend. Members said they have been traveling with the show since April and will finish their last show in October. They camped out on the field planning their meals, although some said they did stay in area lodging facilities on Thursday and Friday nights during the heavy storms.
The medicine table was one of the favorites for many as Robert Marut, a member of the 149th Infantry explained how there were no sanitation methods in place for them to treat the wounded soldiers. “We didn’t know much about germs and disinfectants back then,” he told a group of young children. Some of the so-called medicines they used were whiskey and opium, quinine, and white willow bark for aspirin. Many of the medicines were laced with mercury according to Marut. Turpentine was taken orally for colds and flu. “They used whatever they felt would work,” Marut explained. From this information they recorded what was used and what worked and what wouldn’t. Then they sent their recordings on to Washington DC and in 1870, six volumes of medical information was released. Morphine was discovered in 1804 by a German pharmacist. Ether was used as far back as 1275 and if too much chloroform was used on the soldiers, they died. Soldiers carried two canteens with them, one had water, the other had whiskey.
The Bucktails set up a small “recruiting station” which portrayed a living history camp brigade with a civilian surveyor, a chaplain, a medical professional and laundry duties. Bill and Florence McCarty from Muncy thought it was a great event for the area and enjoyed the slide show presentation. High School students were selling refreshments and t-shirts to commemorate the four day event.