Living History at Oak Island

Some highlights from 2023

Event Map

Events will be held on Oak Island, at the M’Clintock House on East Williams Street and the American Civil War Monument on Locust Street
(Acoustic Trio. Guitar, Mandolin and Upright Bass)

will perform at Oak Island before the fireworks from
6:30 pm till 9:20 pm
   Stay at Oak Island for the fireworks by Pyrotecnico
beginning at 9:30 pm


More than 150 years ago, many soldiers from the Civil War came marching home. Many did not. In Waterloo, beginning in 1866, widows and family members visited the graves of the fallen soldiers to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  The practice of remembering those who fought for freedom has continued each year in Waterloo, the Birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo will host a Living History encampment on Oak Island featuring the following units: 148th NY Volunteer Infantry, 33rd New York Volunteer Infantry, the 7th NY Cavalry, Reynolds’ Battery L 1st NY Light Artillery, and members of the US and NY Engineers.

There will be encampments with reenactors presenting Living Histories of Civil War camp life including many events such as camp cooking, children’s crafts, military training and drills, a Grand Review with President Lincoln, presentations by Civil War surgeons, morticians, sutlers, photographers, artillery with cannon fire, commands by Harriet Tubman and support by the Christian Commission and the Sanitary Commission.

Activities will include musket cleaning and cannon firing, cooking, children’s games and crafts, musical performances, and a Sunday church service.

Since 1964, the recreated 148th NY Volunteer Infantry has been educating the public and paying homage to the original group of men who set off from the Finger Lakes area for the seat of war in the fall of 1862. The original 148th served with distinction in battles at Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Drewry’s Bluff, Chaffin’s Farm, Fair Oaks and numerous other battles and skirmished in the Appomattox Campaign in 1865. It saw five of its members earn the Congressional Medal of Honor, and one of its members, General John A. Murray, was a key figure in establishing a national day of remembrance for all the men who gave their lives during the way.

Citizens of Monroe County, mostly men from Rochester, organized the historical 140th NY in 1862. After a brief stay in fortifications around Washington, DC, the 140th saw action at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. It met its most severe test at Gettysburg. No sooner had it arrived on the battlefield than the 140th was ordered into action on the slopes of Little Round Top. Although it was successful in defending the hill it was a costly victory, with 133 men killed, wounded or missing, including its commanding officer, Col. Patrick O’Roarke.  In the winter camp of 1863-64 the regiment was outfitted as Zouaves, with flamboyant uniforms patterned after elite French army units.  When Grant took command of the Federal forces, and began the march to Richmond, the 140th lost 384 of its men in 39 days.

The 33rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the “Ontario Regiment”, recruited companies at the start of the war from Seneca Falls, Waterloo, Geneva, Canandaigua, Palmyra, Penn Yan, Geneseo, Nunda, and Buffalo. This regiment was mustered into United States service for two years. When the Regiment’s two years were up, the “three years’ men” were transferred to the 49th New York Volunteer Infantry, and the 33rd Regiment mustered out on June 2, 1863, at Geneva, New York. The Regiment sustained 30 men killed in action, 17 mortally wounded and 105 due to disease and other causes.  Its most severe losses occurred in May of 1863, just a month before mustering out, in the assault on Marye’s Heights at Fredericksburg during the Chancellorsville campaign. Included in the 221 killed, wounded, or missing were 4 men from Waterloo who were killed in action or mortally wounded.

The 7th Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry, the “Northern Black Horse Cavalry” and more properly designated 1st Regiment New York Mounted Rifles, was a cavalry regiment of the Union Army during the American Civil War. This regiment was organized at Troy, New York to serve three years and mustered in on November 18, 1861. The regiment, left the state November 23, 1861, and served near Washington, D. C., until March 31, 1862, when, not having been mounted, it was honorably discharged and mustered out. During its service it lost by death, of disease, seven enlisted men.

Reynolds’ Battery 1st New York Light Artillery was formed in the Rochester NY area in September 1861.  It went on to serve throughout the war first with the Army of Virginia and then the Army of the Potomac. They were a part of every major battle in the East from mid-1862 through the end of the war in April of 1865 including Antietam, Gettysburg, Petersburg and many others.  Over the course of the war, 11 of its members were killed or mortally wounded in action and another 29 died from disease.  The re-enactment group is chartered by the NY State Board of Education with the stated purpose and objectives to inform, instruct and educate the public as to the life and trials of a Civil War Artillery soldier during the 1860s. Reynolds’ Battery today consists of 65 Military and Civilian members with three reproduction 3″ Ordnance Rifles and one of 5 workable Traveling Battery Forges in the country. 

May 24-26, 2024

158th Consecutive
Memorial Day Observance
May 30, 2024

Celebrate Commemorate Volunteer Form




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