University to honor Civil War veterans with commemorative concert, Medal of Honor display

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Purman's Medal resized 600

A commemorative concert featuring the Wildcat Regiment Band will offer a glimpse into the past through authentic 19th century brass band music, both military and social. The concert, “From Waynesburg to Gettysburg,” will take place Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at 7 p.m. in the Goodwin Performing Arts Center (GPAC) on the campus of Waynesburg University. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend. Reservations are required.

In period uniform, the Wildcat Regiment Band of Home, Pa., will present an accurate portrayal of a Federal Regimental Band of the American Civil War. The concert will feature guest speakers, and members of the 140th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Co. A Re-enactors, will attend in uniform to interact with the public.

“On a November day 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln defined the significance of the conflict that engulfed our nation. This program will commemorate his Gettysburg address and recognize the contributions made by Waynesburg College students in that struggle," said President Douglas G. Lee.

Honoring Waynesburg College's students and Civil War veterans, the evening will also feature a Civil War exhibit in the GPAC lobby. On loan from Gettysburg National Military Park, the Medal of Honor that was awarded to Lt. James Jackson Purman, an 1864 Waynesburg University alumnus, will be on display. The nation's highest military honor, the Medal of Honor is awarded by Congress for risk of life in combat beyond the call of duty.

A member of Company A, 140th Pennsylvania Infantry, Purman was awarded the Medal of Honor for helping a wounded comrade during the second day's fighting in the Battle of Gettysburg. In doing so, Purman was struck near his left ankle and laid overnight in the Wheatfield.

describe the imageThe next morning, though no major action took place where Purman lay, opposing pickets exchanged shots—one of which penetrated his right leg. Desperate for water, the Lieutenant called out to the enemy for help. A Lieutenant from a Georgia regiment brought him a canteen of fresh water and poured some of it on his enemy's wounds. He also cut off his boots to relieve the throbbing pain. The Confederate officer would eventually sneak Purman off of the battlefield, carrying him on his back while crawling on all fours.

Near sundown, a Union stretcher party carried Purman off the field. The next day, a surgeon amputated his left leg below the knee. Unfortunately, the soldier that he and Pipes had risked their lives to assist had not survived.

Purman later went on to become a prominent lawyer, physician and medical director of the Grand Army of the Republic. In later years he was able to introduce the Confederate officer that aided him on the battlefield to his friend, President Theodore Roosevelt.

“The contributions of Waynesburg College and Greene County to the war effort are significant. We have identified at least 35 Waynesburg students and graduates who served during the war. We are excited and proud to be sharing these stories with the community through this event,” said Courtney Dennis, event organizer and assistant director of alumni relations at the University.

To reserve tickets, visit waynesburg.ticketleap.com/waynesburg-to-gettysburg or contact Dennis at 724-852-7689.

Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu