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Commodore Percival Drayton, Union Hero of the Civil War


Presents a New Program via ZOOM

Commodore Percival Drayton, Union Hero of the Civil War and Philadelphia

SUNDAY, October 4, at 1:00 pm

Presented by:  Captain Jack Lieberman (USN, retired)

Please send a request to reserve a virtual seat for this outstanding presentation by replying to this e-mail at

Percival Drayton was the son of a wealthy South Carolina Congressman William Drayton. He entered the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1827, and served continuously up to the Civil War, being posted to stations that included the Mediterranean, the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Brazil, Paraguay and at the Naval Observatory, Washington, DC.   His older brother, Thomas Fenwick Drayton, was a West Point Graduate and a United States Army officer who remained loyal to the South and became a Confederate Brigadier General.  When the Civil War began Percival was stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, but was soon given command of the warship “USS Pocahontas.”  He commanded the vessel in the successful Union Naval assault on Port Royal, South Carolina in November 1861.  In that action, he fired upon troops and positions commanded by his brother Thomas who was commanding Confederate troops on shore in a literal, classic instance of the   “BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER” phrase often used to describe the American Civil War.

He was promoted to Captain, US Navy in July 1862, and was assigned to Admiral David Farragut’s West Gulf Squadron and commanded Farragut’s flagship USS Hartford in the celebrated Naval assault and capture of Mobile Bay, Alabama in August 1864. The bay was heavily mined (tethered  mines at that time were called TORPEDOES).   Farragut ordered his fleet to charge the bay. When one of the Union Monitors struck a mine and sank, the other Union ships began to retreat.  Farragut could see the ships pulling back from his high perch, where he was lashed to the rigging of his flagship.   “What’s the trouble?” he shouted through his megaphone to the forward lookout.  “Torpedoes!” was shouted back.   “DAMN THE TORPEDOES” said Farragut, “FOUR BELLS – CAPTAIN DRAYTON, FULL SPEED AHEAD”   The bulk of the fleet then succeeded in entering the bay. Captain Drayton died August 4, 1865 and was buried in St John’s Church in Washington, DC, however his remains were exhumed three months later and he was re-buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Philadelphia, on November 18, 1865, next to his father, William Drayton.

You will be sent a link with a password that will enable you to access the program within 24 hours of the start of the presentation.

As a lover of history, you know how critical it is to keep history alive, especially today!  We very much appreciate your continued support for the GAR Civil War Museum

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Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum & Library Open House Program

Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 1:30 pm
Walt Lafty, Historian
‘Death in December’– the Battle of Stones River, Tennessee
The Battle of Stones River was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the Civil War. Of the major battles of the war, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides, including a number of prominent Philadelphians.

Battle of Stones River from Wikimedia commons

FREE & Open to the public!
Historic Ruan House • 4278 Griscom Street• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19124 •
(215) 289-6484 •
Off street parking in the rear of the Museum.
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General Meade Visits General Meade School

On May 31, 2019, Civil War General Meade visited the General George G. Meade School, 1600 North 18th Street in Philadelphia.

General George Meade is played by Andy Waskie, Vice President and Historian of the Grand Army of the Republic Museum in Frankford. He addressed 200 kindergarten, 2nd, 3rd and 5th grade students at the beginning of their annual end-of-school year “Play Day”.

The General’s spirited remarks were well received and many questions about the Civil War were answered.  The students received rewards for achieving reading goals, attendance and all around cooperation. The assembly program also included a class dance performance.

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In the afternoon the “Play Day” for the whole school included games, snacks and drinks that was fully funded by the General Meade Society of Philadelphia.

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Grand Army of the Republic June Program

G.A.R. Museum & Library Open House Program

FIRST Sunday ‘Open House’ Civil War related History presentation
Sunday, June 2, 2019 at 1:30pm

Senior Level Leadership at Gettysburg
by Col. Mark Eshelman (Ret.) Professor at the Army War College

Col. Eshelman will talk about senior level leadership from the perspective of a War College faculty instructor using the battle as a case study to teach students who have been successful at tactical level, but are entering a new level of leadership where they will need new skills and ways of thinking.  These are also the senior level leadership points to consider.  The War College hosts students for a two or three day program consisting of a Gettysburg Battlefield Staff Ride and subsequent senior leadership seminars.  These groups are senior leaders from both private and public sectors, mostly senior executives from businesses using these events as a sort of “off-site”  learning center.

FREE & Open to the public! (Donations accepted)
Historic Ruan House • 4278 Griscom Street• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19124
(215) 289-6484

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Grand Army of the Republic Museum February Program

Timed perfectly for Black History month, the GAR museum will offer a program by Ed McLaughlin – the U.S. Colored Troops stories from the Philadelphia National Cemetery on Sunday February 7th at 1 PM.  The doors open at noon to give you time to browse some of the displays.

We were there in January for the concert of the 28th Pennsylvania Regimental Brass Band conducted by Russell D. Hoffmann.  Mr. Hoffmann is the founding music director and conductor of the Newtown Chamber Orchestra.  It is a unique experience to hear the music of that era as the troops would have heard it during the war.

We also did periscope broadcast of the first half of the concert and had quite a few viewers stop in to take a look.  The musical selections are available on our YouTube channel or if you have time click on them below.  They run about 20 minutes in total.   This is only the first half of the concert.

Selections include: Hail Columbia, Concordia March, Last Rose of Summer, O Hills O Vales of Pleasure, General Birney’s Quick Step, Esmeralda/Sultan Polka, Santa Anna’s Retreat and Light of Other Days.

Part 1


Part 2