Civil War Encampment at Jackson Homestead August 3-4

Historic Newton Hosts Civil War Encampment at Jackson Homestead

August 3-4, 2013


(Newton, MA, July 8, 2013) Soldiers will march, musket volleys will echo, and campfire smoke will fill the air on the weekend of August 3-4, 2013, when visitors to Newton’s historic Jackson Homestead will have a chance to step back in time for a glimpse into the life and times of a Union Army regiment. Come see the 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry of the legendary Irish Brigade, which was raised in Boston in late 1861 and drew recruits from Newton and surrounding towns.


In observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, Historic Newton is presenting a living history encampment on the Jackson Homestead grounds. On both days—Saturday, August 3, 10:00am to 5:00pm, and Sunday, August 4, 9:00am to 1:00pm—visitors will witness military drill and camp life, learn about the hardships Civil War soldiers endured, and discover the role of the civilian women who supported them.


The event will also serve as a tribute to John Ryan of Newton, who served as a private in Co. C the 28th Massachusetts, was wounded five times during the war, and kept a journal of his experiences. Ryan later went on to serve in 7th Cavalry during the Indian Wars. After returning home, he joined the Newton Police Department and rose eventually to the rank of Captain.


During the living history encampment, the 28th Massachusetts will conduct regular demonstrations of military drill and musket firing. Children's activities will include 19th century toys and games and mock drill led by one of the 28th's soldiers.


The encampment will take place in the yard of the Jackson Homestead. Visitors should come prepared to spend time outdoors, and to sit and walk in uneven grassy areas. Water and kettle corn will be available for purchase and there will be a special program of presentations and exhibitions.


Presentations will include:

·         Saturday, August 3, 8:30 AM A Re-dedication ceremony for the Captain Ryan Memorial will take place off-site in West Newton at Captain Ryan Park.

·         Saturday, August 3, 2:00 PM - Costumed lecture presented in the persona of Clarence Barron, a reporter for the Boston Evening Transcript, inside the Jackson Homestead. David Smith of the Civil War Roundtable of Greater Boston and the Massachusetts Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission will speak about John Ryan and other men like him who from Newton and surrounding towns who volunteered to serve in the 28th Massachusetts.

·         Saturday, August 3 and Sunday August 4, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM - A special exhibition of Civil War artifacts from Newton will be on display inside the museum from on both days. Featured items will include a militia jacket worn by Newton native and later Mayor William Bentley Fowle Jr., as well as a sketch his son sent him in February 1863 while Fowle was stationed at Beaufort, South Carolina, and the letter he wrote in reply, thanking his son for the drawing. Military items on display will include a sword, cartridge box, document case, and canteen. There is also an on-going exhibit on women’s fashion during the period.

The original 28th Massachusetts was recruited in late 1861 in the Boston area, trained at Camp Cameron on the Cambridge/Somerville line, and saw action in most of the Civil War’s major eastern theatre engagements: Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Overland Campaign, and the siege of Petersburg. The 28th was present for Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox and marched in the Grand Review through Washington, D.C., marking the end of the war, before being mustered out of the service in June 1865. Among all Union regiments, the 28th Massachusetts ranked seventh in total losses. Roughly one-quarter of the 1,746 men who served in the unit were killed, died of wounds or disease, taken prisoner, or reported missing. To learn more about the Irish experience in the American Civil War and both the original and recreated 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, visit


This event is sponsored by Historic Newton in collaboration with the City of Newton, the recreated 28th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and the Civil War Roundtable of Greater Boston. Historic Newton encourages inquiry about and exploration of the history of Newton, within the context of the wider American story. We oversee the Jackson Homestead, the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds, and Newton’s Historic Burying Grounds. We also collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit historic artifacts of local significance, and offer public programs in the form of seminars, workshops, tours, and discussions. The Jackson Homestead was built in 1809 and served as a stop on the Underground Railroad leading up to the Civil War. For more information about Historic Newton, visit