Meadville Civil War statue now restored, rededicated

Muster in the Park honors Crawford County Civil War soldiers

The Civil War reenactment group, Muster in the Park, held a rededication ceremony for the restored statue at the south end of Meadville’s Diamond Park on Saturday, Sept. 2.

The statue, formally known as the Peiffer Memorial, is dedicated to the residents of Crawford County who fought in the Civil War. Mattocks said that he has seen seventeen similar statues, but only Meadville’s is bronze.

The rededication ceremony started with a period band and speeches at Diamond Park gazebo. Then, a regiment of reenactors led a ceremonial march to the south end of the park, beside the statue.

Robert Mattocks, a corporal with the Bucktails, and a member of its board of directors, is a co-chair of Muster in the Park, the group affiliated with the Bucktails which ran the statue dedication as part of its three-day Muster in the Park Civil War reenactment.

“We are a part of the 150 Pennsylvania Bucktails and then there’s a subcommittee of Muster in the Park,” Mattocks said. “We’re all Bucktails, we all belong to the Bucktails, but Muster in the Park was a committee that was set up to do the statue and run the Muster in the Park.”

In a speech at the gazebo, Meadville resident, veteran and Crawford County Commissioner John Amato gave a few remarks about the importance of the statue as a memorial of the war.

“Even though we were not there that day, it is our duty to remember their sacrifice,” Amato said.

David Runner attended the ceremony with his wife, Gail. His nephew is a member of the Bucktails.

“It’s a great way to spend Labor Day,” Runner said.

Muster in the Park started after a Memorial Day ceremony in 2012, when a speaker mentioned how four companies of 100 men each gathered in Diamond Park to join the Union army. Starting on Aug. 28, 1862, it took until mid-September for the 400 men to officially form their companies.

It just gives you a sense of pride, because you’re taking care of something that they fought and died for

— Robert Mattocks, Muster in the Park

Steven Heine
The base of the newly rededicated Peiffer Memorial at the south end of Diamond Park. The statue was rededicated Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.

“At that time, I’m thinking, while I’m out there, I’m thinking, well, that could fit right in with a living history of the park,” Mattocks said.

Mattocks got the idea for the restoration and rededication of the statue after attending a similar event in Franklin, Pennsylvania. He said  the event was an abbreviated version of an actual historical dedication.

“What you’ve seen is a formal GAR, that is Grand Army of the Republic, statue dedication that they would have done back in the 1890’s,” Mattocks said. “That’s exactly what you’ve seen there.”

Mattocks said the 2017 Muster in the Park was likely the last.

“We set a goal to do it for five years, this was our fifth year,” Mattocks said. I don’t believe we will do that again next year. “

While there will likely be no more Muster in the Park events, Mattocks is still interested in holding Civil War reenactments.

“You have these events for so often, so many years and pretty soon, the same people kind of get worn out from it and there’s only so much different stuff you can bring to an event,” Mattocks said. “But we decided that we wanted to go a different direction in the future, a different kind of an event, try to keep it fresh.”

Mattocks said he feels the statue is special because of how it connects the past and present.

“Anytime you get around that, you do an event, or the dedication, and several people feel the same way, you can just feel the souls of the men looking down upon you, that you’ve taken an interest in what they’ve done back 155 years ago” Mattocks said. “I mean, there’s just no way in your heart you can’t feel that. And it just gives you a sense of pride, because you’re taking care of something that they fought and died for.”