The annual Vespers service marking the anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Carthage will have a new look and move to a new location this year.
Residents, reenactors and others will remember the 152 anniversary of the first true battle of the American Civil War at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, at Carthage's Park Cemetery on Baker Boulevard.
This is a change from the traditional location, at the Battle of Carthage State Historic Site on Chestnut Street on the east side of Carthage.
Steve Cottrell, Carthage Historian and author, said organizers decided to move the event to the cemetery to remember a Civil War Veteran, buried at the cemetery, who served at the famous Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
Pvt. Moses Waldron, a veteran of the famous Pickett's Charge, the battle that forced Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to retreat from its invasion of the North, is buried at Park Cemetery.
“July 5, 2013 will also mark the 150th anniversary of the first full day of Gen. Lee's retreat from Gettysburg,” Cottrell said. “You may already know that after pounding each other to a bloody pulp for three days, July 1-3, the two great armies spent the daylight hours of July 4 in a somber faceoff, perhaps also trying to partially recover their sanity and military bearing. On the rainy evening of July 4, Lee began his retreat, so July 5 was the first full day of that retreat and the Federal forces, battered and exhausted, did not hasten to pursue, much to Lincoln's fury.
“So how do we tie this in with Carthage? Well, it just so happens that a Confederate veteran of Gettysburg is buried at beautiful Park Cemetery in Carthage. Not only that, but just a few years ago, the cemetery manager was successful in obtaining a handsome, marble military stone for him. The mortal remains of Pvt. Moses Waldron, of the 28th Virginia Infantry, lie jut south of the old caretaker's house at the top of the hill as you enter the main gates of the cemetery on Baker Street.
“So it will come to pass that we shall observe the 152nd anniversary of the first-scale, daylong land battle of the Civil War, Carthage, and the 150th anniversary of Lee's retreat from the largest land battle of the war, Gettysburg, near the grave of a veteran of Pickett's Charge.”
People attending are advised to wear cool, comfortable clothing, bring water, sunscreen and bug repellant and be prepared to enjoy period music and honor those who fought in song and prayer.
For more information, people can call the Carthage Convention and Visitor's Bureau at 359-8181.