In Southern California, a special presentation by Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War helps to ensure historical discussion about a Civil War soldier and medal of honor recipient who lived the later part of his life in Fallbrook, California. It is always exciting to see new interpretation and discussion starters at historic sites.
On February 25, 2018, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Mary Jane Safford Tent #92 of Temecula, presented and dedicated an authentic Grand Army of the Republic 1890 medal and a Civil War reproduction Union uniform to the Pittenger House. Presentations were given by President Lynette Harmon-Canales and Senior Vice President Dawn Byrd-Beresovoy; the ladies shared about the history of the Grand Army of the Republic, the symbolism incorporated into the medal, and the details of the replica Union soldier uniform. Carolyn Ganoe, curator of the Pittenger House accepted the donation by President Lynette Harmon-Canales. Roy Moosa, President of Fallbrook Historical Society and Museum sponsored the event and featured the movie of the afternoon – The Great Locomotive Chase – to help honor Sgt. William Pittenger, Medal of Honor recipient, and start discussions about the Andrews’ Raid.
The replica uniform and medal will be displayed at the nearby Pittenger House in Fallbrook, which stands not far from the final resting place of this Union man.
The event was well-attended and offered an opportunity to discuss California’s place in Civil War history and the post-war era when many veterans came to the Golden State. Emerging Civil War editor Sarah Kay Bierle received an invitation to the event and happily attended.
Though perhaps not as dramatic as battlefield land preservation, the conservation and preparation of material displays enhances teaching opportunities and gives visitors to historic sites – like the Pittenger House – a better appreciation and understand of the past and its people who were influencers in local communities.