3:00 pm (Old Fields Burying Ground)
On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Old Berwick Historical Society invites the public to an outdoor talk entitled "A South Berwick Soldier at Gettysburg and After," at Old Fields Burying Ground on Sunday, June 30 at 3:00 pm.
The cemetery is located near the corner of Vine and Brattle Streets. Admission is free and the event will be held rain or shine, and will last approximately an hour. Comfortable shoes are recommended.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1 to 3, 1863 and is often described as the turning point of the Civil War. The Union forces defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's invasion of the North.
Twenty five South Berwick citizens are known to have fought at Gettysburg, including Joseph Hayes, who eventually became this town’s most decorated soldier.
Cemetery event participants will walk to Hayes’ grave site, where local historian and Berwick Academy history teacher Bradley Fletcher will trace Hayes’ career during and after Gettysburg.
Raised on Academy Street in South Berwick, Joseph Hayes attended local schools, including Berwick Academy, then went on to Harvard and became a civil engineer. When war broke out, he enlisted as a Major in the 18th Massachusetts Infantry. He served the Union as a general officer in the Civil War and eventually became Brevet Major General of Volunteers.
At Gettysburg he was a colonel and in command of the 18th Massachusetts Infantry, which had 139 men. They were placed in reserve between Cemetery Ridge and the eastern edge of the Wheatfield.
Fletcher's talk will trace Hayes' subsequent service in the last half of the war, his imprisonment, wounding and promotion, through the surrender at Appomattox.
The website of the Old Berwick Historical Society, www.oldberwick.org, includes write-ups on five South Berwick historic cemeteries and a database of over 7000 graves.