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 Posted: Fri Feb 17th, 2006 11:58 pm
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javal1
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For those who don't know Harry Readshaw, he's done more for Civil War preservation than any politician I know. Trust me, he's a politician I trust (and you may never hear me say that again!)

Readshaw incensed by Gettysburg Vandalism

Will establish fund to repair damaged PA monument

HARRISBURG, Feb. 17 – The bugle is calling out for Readshaw’s Raiders to saddle up again; this time to help repair the Pennsylvania monument at Gettysburg that was toppled and heavily damaged in an act of vandalism early Thursday.

The Raiders are the volunteers and contributors who assisted state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Allegheny in his successful campaign to ensure the funding for repairs and cleaning of the more than 140 Pennsylvania monuments and markers on the hallowed battlefield.

Today, Readshaw appealed to his Raiders and other groups and individuals involved in Civil War historic preservation to come to the aid of the three Gettysburg monuments severely vandalized this week and fund their restoration.

Sometime on the night of Feb. 15 or the morning of the 16th, vandals pulled the bronze figure of a soldier of the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, known as Collis’ Zouaves, from its granite pedestal near the Sherfy house on Emmitsburg Road at the famed Peach Orchard. The figure is of a bare-headed soldier ramming home a cartridge in his rifle while bravely facing the Confederates.  When it fell, the statue heavily damaged an ornate wrought-iron fence that has surrounded the monument since it was dedicated on July 2, 1886. Damage to the bronze figure includes cracking and breaks on its base and the loss of the soldier’s ramrod.

The other two vandalized monuments were another bronze statue honoring the 4th New York battery at Devil’s Den. The head of the statue was removed and taken. A portion of a granite sculpture in tribute of the 11 Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry along Emmitsburg Road not far from the fallen 114th PVI monument was also pulled down.

Photographs of the damage can be viewed on the Internet at http://www.civilwarinteractive.com.

The 114th was formed in August of 1861 by local volunteers recruited by Philadelphia lawyer Charles Henry Tuckey Collis and fought in many major engagements through the end of the war in 1865. The “Zouave” designation was due to their unique uniform, based on those worn by French troops in North Africa.

Announces fund and first donation for 11th Pa. monument repair

Readshaw  said the proceeds the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project endowment fund was to receive from the annual Civil War Preservation Ball in the State Capitol Rotunda will instead go into a special Monuments Project fund to help restore the damaged Pennsylvania monument and the wrought-iron fence.

The popular ball, sponsored by the Victorian Dance Ensemble, will be held from 7-11 p.m. Saturday, March 25. It is open to persons in appropriate Civil War attire or modern suits and ties for gentlemen and dresses for ladies. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 per couple. Music will be provided by the 28th Pennsylvania Regimental Band.

Readshaw said money collected for the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry Monument Fund will be turned over to the Gettysburg National Military Park as restoration work is ready to begin.


Donations should be mailed to:

114th Pennsylvania Infantry Monument Fund
c/o Rep. Harry Readshaw
122 Irvis Office Building
House Box 202020
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2020

 
More information about the monument repair fund and the Preservation Ball can be obtained by calling Readshaw’s Harrisburg Office at 717-783-0411 or by e-mail at Gettysburg@pahouse.net.

Readshaw concluded with a challenge to organizations and individuals in New York and Massachusetts to establish similar funds to cover repairs to their damaged monuments.

“I hope that’s a forgone conclusion since a lot of people in those two states are probably as ticked off as people here are,” Readshaw added.

Harsher penalties for monument vandals?

The latest vandalism at Gettysburg has prompted Readshaw to begin researching state law regarding intentional damage to monuments and historic sites to determine if penalties are appropriately harsh.

“While nobody was hurt, this was a planned, heinous act,” said Readshaw. “This wasn’t like someone spray-painting initials on a cement wall. Unless they have a serious psychological problem they had to know this was going to shock people across the country. Given the nature of this act, I hope the federal government will use all its resources to find the perpetrators because, if they are willing to do something as repulsive as this, what are they capable of doing next?

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