|Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association
Founded, 1959 -- The nation’s oldest Civil War battlefield preservation organization
P.O. Box 4087, Gettysburg, PA 17325 www.gbpa.org
The following is a news release from BSA Venture Crew 1861 – sponsored by the GBPA.
On Memorial Day, May 30, a veteran of the American Civil War buried in an unmarked grave was honored and remembered by current musicians of the 1st Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps, or PRVC, portrayed by Boy Scouts of America Venture Crew 1861 Fife and Drum Corps. The scouts and their leaders laid evergreen, laurel, and flowers, and posted a flag on the grave as proscribed by the short Funeral Ritual of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization formed by Union veterans after the Civil War. The musicians played “Taps” on bugle and appropriate Civil War fife and drum tunes including “Minstrel Boy” for this son of an Irish immigrant.
Thomas Judge, died shortly after the Civil War's end of illness and disease --rheumatism and consumption-- contracted in the War, and was buried in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Lancaster. Born in 1839, his family lived in Lancaster City’s North East Ward. He enlisted in June 1861 and served as a Musician in Co B, 1st Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps or PRVC (federalized as the 30th PA Vol. Inf.). Company B was raised in Lancaster and was known as “The Union Guard” because it was raised, in large part, from the members of Lancaster’s Union Fire Company. When the regiment was disbanded in 1864, he reenlisted in the 195th PA Volunteer Infantry and was mustered out in 1865. Thomas’s father had passed at the time of his enlistment. Thomas was his mother’s sole support, sending her much of his pay during the war. Thomas died on December 18, 1867 at the age of 28. His mother applied for and received his pension. Thomas remained faithful to his country and his mother to the end.
Thomas Judge has no living direct or collateral descendants according to research conducted by Peter Johnston, Associate Advisor of Venture Crew 1861 and local researcher Andre Dominguez, both veterans. “We --the musicians of the 1st PRVC-- are his family,” says Johnston. The Venture Crew is searching for a living relative of Thomas Judge to apply to the Veterans Administration for a veteran’s grave marker. The Crew leaders and officers have the research and will help with the application process. If a relative cannot be found, the Fife and Drum Corps is investigating other ways to place a permanent marker. In any event, the group is always happy to hear from descendants of the original 1st Regiment Field Music.
After the service at Thomas Judge’s graveside, the musicians of the moved to the adjoining Lancaster Cemetery to participate in the 126th Annual Memorial Day Service sponsored by Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), Lancaster Camp 19. The SUVCW is the successor organization to the GAR.
The SUVCW, with the music by the 1st PRVC, conducted ceremonies at the section of Lancaster Cemetery set-aside by the GAR for indigent veterans of the Civil War. The ceremony then moved to the graveside of General John Reynolds, killed at Gettysburg during the first day of the 1863 battle.
The Boy Scout Fife and Drum Corps was formed in February 2004 by local Boy Scout Troop 53 of Maytown, PA, and later as Venture Crew 53 to allow both boys and girls to participate. The Venture Crew rechartered in 2011 as Venture Crew 1861, sponsored by the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association in the BSA New Birth of Freedom Council. The group’s mission remains: “To Preserve our Civil War Heritage;
To Honor Our Nation's Veterans;
and To Promote the Ideals of Scouting.”
The corps portrays the Civil War Field Music of the 1st Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps (PRVC) and occasionally portrays Confederate musicians of Johnson’s Division in Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The year 1861 is significant for the group as it is the year when the original Pennsylvania Reserves were called up by Pennsylvania’s Civil War Governor, Andrew Curtin. The original 1st Regiment was formed with volunteers from Gettysburg, York, Lancaster and Philadelphia. The current twenty or so youth members, ages 11- 21, also hail from these counties plus surrounding areas in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
The group began reenacting at the 145th Anniversary of First Bull Run in 2006 and continues to participate in numerous living history events, battle reenactments, veterans' ceremonies, scouting events, community festivals and parades. They were featured in the August 2007 issue of Boys’ Life magazine participating in Gettysburg’s Remembrance Day ceremonies. The Corps performed for the 2009 rededication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and for Pennsylvania’s kick-off of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War in the State Capitol in 2011.
This year, they closed Pennsylvania’s 150th Anniversary observance with the commemoration of the stop of the Lincoln funeral train on April 22 in the State Capitol. In the Battle of Gettysburg reenactment last year, the group fielded musicians for both the Union and Confederate sides in “Pickett’s Charge”. This spring, the group performed for guests at the Preservation Ball in the Pennsylvania State Capitol Rotunda on March 21, benefiting the Gettysburg Monuments Project and participated in the 150th Anniversary of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Virginia.
A tentative schedule of events and contact information is posted at fieldmusic.org and on Facebook.###
Event photo attached: (L-R) Ryan Nedrow, Virginia Johnston, Lyndsey Nedrow, Lauren Nedrow, Elias Johnston and Nathaniel Johnston (Nedrows are from Lancaster PA, Johnstons are from Manchester MD)
Additional press photos are available at www.fieldmusic.org-- also on Facebook.
Michael Cassidy, Advisor
B.S.A. Venture Crew 1861 Fife & Drum Corps
P.O. Box 63; 104 East High St.
Maytown, PA 17550
home (717) 426-3941
cell (717) 368 1235
GBPA website: www.gbpa.org