With pomp and pageantry, Waterloo, the Birthplace of Memorial Day, dedicated its newest monument during the weekend of Sept. 19-21, 2008. The village returned to the Civil War era when the American Civil War Memorial was officially dedicated in the three-day event. President Abraham Lincoln and General Robert E. Lee joined contemporary dignitaries including State Sen. Michael Nozzolio, Assemblyman Brian Kolb, and town and village officials.
The event began on Friday, Sept. 9. Civil War reenactment groups, including Reynolds Battery L, 1st New York Light Artillery, the 148th and the 140th New York Volunteers helped visitors experience the days
of the Civil War. Members of Reynolds Battery L, the 148th New York Volunteers Infantry Co. and the 140th New York Volunteers Infantry set up camp on Oak Island where they conducted signal corps displays, cannon firings, demonstrations of fire pit baking and cooking and other activities throughout the weekend. The National Memorial Day Museum on Main Street was open to welcome visitors and allow youngsters age 6-12 to enlist in the 148th’s Kiddie Company. Civil War Era displays were set up in Lafayette Park, where sutlers offered their wares.
An Illumination Ceremony began at 7:30 PM Friday evening with a parade that commenced at Vern’s Way behind the village offices. Led by President Lincoln (portrayed by John R. Baylis of Cassville) the parade included torches carried by members of the 148th Signal Corps and 57 students carrying luminaries. Members of the 148th provided a drum cadence for the march and the Seneca Soundwaves sang Civil War songs duringthe ceremony. Following remarks by speaker George Shadman of Sons of the Union Veterans and prayers, a cannon was fired by the Reynolds L Battery and the village’s church bells chimed in honor of the 57 local men and the thousands of others from the North and South who gave their lives in the Civil War.


Saturday’s events began with military drills, sutlers sales, Civil War era displays and musical performances in Lafayette Park and living history by
Civil War reenactors at Oak Island. Demonstrations included making hanky babies, cannon firing, quilting, and cooking over a pit fire. Members of the 140th New York Volunteer Infantry performed a temperance tableau at 10:30 am. Corporal Corey Gavette of Fairport, of the 148th, conducted drills from 10 to noon with the newly enlisted members of the 148th’s Kiddie Company. The youngsters were issued cutout wooden rifles and each received a kepi (Civil War cap) courtesy of the Waterloo Business and Professional Association.

The big parade to Lock Island stepped off at 2 p.m. Saturday. The parade formed on Clark Street and proceeded down Main Street to the Memorial.
The featured speaker was Frank Varney, who completed his Ph.D. in Civil War history at Cornell. He and his students were part of a group that
researched the Waterloo soldiers of the Civil War and helped compile their bios. His book, “The Men Grant Didn’t Trust” will be published in 2009.


Concerts on the Lafayette Park stage were performed by the Excelsior Cornet Band, Dan & Warren Authentic Civil War Musical group, and the
Bristol Brothers. The Excelsior Cornet Band, which claims to be New York State’s only authentic Civil War brass band, performed in concert in
Lafayette Park at 4:40 following the dedication of the American Civil War Memorial. The band also was featured in the grand parade down Main
Street at 2 PM. Founded in 2001, the band consists of a group of Upstate New York musicians dedicated to the performance of original Civil War
music on actual antique brass band instruments of the 1860s. The band performs the most popular melodies of the 1850-1870 period, as well as
patriotic airs, operatic melodies, marches and dance music by the era’s most renowned composers and bandmasters. All of the band’s musical
arrangements come from the handbooks of Civil War era bands or are arranged from the original Civil War era sheet music.

Following a dedication reception conducted by the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce on Saturday evening, the public was invited to a
Blue Gray Ball at the Waterloo Community Center, called by Liberty Band of Peter McDonald of Romulus and family.
A Civil War Era Sunday church service was conducted at 11 AM by Chaplain Philos G. Cook, New York Volunteers portrayed by Rev Benedict R. Maryniak. Historian for the town of Lancaster, NY, he is a retired social worker who worked for Erie County, the State of New York, the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers and in the Lutheran Church. He has written two books about Civil War Army chaplains, "Faith in the Fight" and "Spirit Divided, Civil War Army Chaplain Memoirs - The Union." Chaplain Cook was a Presbyterian minister from Buffalo. Also, from 4:30-6 PM on Saturday and 2-3 PM on Sunday, visitors had the opportunity to incise stars on the Memorial's Star Stone.
 
Women's Cenotaph
Contact Civil War Passages Dedication Ceremony May 25, 2007
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The Waterloo Fallen ~ 1861- 1865 Recommended Reading Dedication - Sept 19-21, 2008
Building the Memorial ~ A Photo Journal Noon Mark Dedication of the ACWM - on DVD