‘American Towns at War’ Set for Tomorrow at Heritage House

BROOKVILLE, Pa. – The story of two small towns, Falmouth, Virginia, and Brookville, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War is the subject of a one hour made-for-television film created by the Jefferson County History Center that will be shown one time only at the Heritage House in Brookville on Tuesday, April 19, at 7:00 p.m.

The event is free.

Director Russ Streiner notes that “this is not a typical Civil War production as it focuses on the personalized stories of the home front hardships that were created in the wake of significant numbers of men leaving their mothers, wives, and children behind and is as devastating as the direct casualties of the war itself. The home front hardships were real throughout America’s small towns both North and South.” Streiner will be attending the event to discuss how the film was conceived and brought to production.

“The Civil War is often told through the eyes of combatants, leaders or through the prism of large cities like Philadelphia, New York or Chicago. We hear very little about these small towns, although these communities supplied the majority of the participants for the war effort,” said Ken Burkett, Executive Director of the JCHS in Brookville. “It is impossible to tell the story of all of these small communities so we have selected two, one in the north and one in the south, to speak for every small town and village.”

The struggles faced by the two towns is quite different and yet similar. Falmouth sits on the north shore of the Rappahannock River and was occupied by northern soldiers for four years. Stafford County was the site of the winter camp of the 100,000 strong Army of the Potomac. Falmouth, due its strategic location, was actually on the front line and suffered severe damage.

Brookville was sheltered from the conflict by many miles, but her sons served in every major theater of the war which had a dramatic impact on the people left at home and they were often camped in Falmouth. “We selected Brookville because of the rich, documented, Civil War history,” said Burkett. “The Civil War home front is very much a story of a changing society for women who had to provide for their families, taking over the responsibilities of their husbands and sons. We also have a shift for Blacks in the area with runaway slaves moving through here and local freemen, who left their home to join the new “Colored Troops.”

“American Towns at War: Hope Deferred” is the story of those small town people, both north and south, who endured the horror of a civil war. Both bore the burden of sacrifice. The location footage was shot in and around both Brookville, Falmouth, VA, and Stroudsburg, OH.

This film was made possible with grant funding from The Lumber Heritage Region of Pennsylvania, Walmart, the Jefferson County Hotel Tax Committee, and many generous private donations.

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