Camp Fitz-John Porter Celebration Saturday, October 6th from 2-4 pm

This free, family friendly event will feature re-enactors, story tellers,
children’s games, music, walking tours & more!
Meet us at the base of Flint Street by the Genesee River to enjoy the fun!

Fitz-John Porter Flyer .pdf

Here is a press release Just received from John Curren:

Rochester, NY - Calling all Canal enthusiasts, Civil War buffs, urban neighbors and historians - On Saturday, October 6th from 2-4 p.m. join us during Rochester’s River Romance weekend for a commemorative living history event along the Erie Canal Extension of the Genesee River. The banks of Rochester’s waterways will come alive with tales of the Underground Railroad, Civil War, and Erie Canal as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Camp Fitz-John Porter, a Civil War training camp. This event will be an important tool in revitalizing the neighborhood surrounding the encampment and will bring local and national history alive for many residents who do not know the neighborhood's significance. 

PLEX Neighborhood President Dorothy Hall is proud to welcome the Rochester Community for the event: "The celebration is important for the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood and Rochester to educate people about the history that was once part of this southwest riverfront community."


There will be an abundance of activity throughout the afternoon, thanks to a grant from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor:

  • Self-guided walking tours that will utilize the canalway trails and encompass the historic Camp Fitz-John Porter and the Plymouth Exchange Neighborhood (PLEX)
  • Costumed historical figures including Fredrick Douglass and other Freedom Seekers by AWKAABA: The Heritage Associates
  • Military drills performed by the famed 140th New York Volunteer Infantry
  • Live cannon firing demonstrations by Reynold's Battery
  • Live period music that will engage the audience by Excelsior Brigade and Coreopia
  • Children's games
  • Proclamation read by city officials
  • And more!

Attendees will travel back to the fall of 1862 - a time of historic change in Rochester that reverberated throughout New York State and beyond. The dialogue opened through this event will break down barriers and create an open line of communication among the residents, businesses and historians of the PLEX Neighborhood. People will leave with a feeling of camaraderie, an understanding of Rochester’s involvement with national reform movements, and an appreciation for the Erie Canal. The PLEX Neighborhood will be recognized for its rich history and future potential with heritage tourism as a tool for economic redevelopment.


David Knoll, a PLEX resident and member of the Neighborhood Executive Committee is planning to volunteer the day of the event. He says, "I'm pleased that PLEX's ties to the Underground Railroad, the Civil War and Rochester's early canal and industrial history will be brought to people's attention by this event. We have one of the most beautiful views of the Genesee riverfront and downtown Rochester. The extensive wildlife near Camp Fitz-John Porter river bend make this a rich outdoor habitat in an urban setting." Join Knoll and all of the other volunteers for a great celebration of our community, rich cultural history and bright future!

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Comment by John Boutet on October 11, 2012 at 3:29am

Here is a Collage and an Album of pictures Mark Sweetland took at the October 6th celebration:

Click the link below to see the album:

Link to Shutterfly Album of Camp Fitz-John Porter 150th Celebration.

Comment by Mark Sweetland on October 8, 2012 at 5:10am

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this premier event.  The community owes a huge thanks to John Curran for his literally years of preparation leading up to a grand enrichment to the history surrounding the camp.  Many other volunteers obviously were involved, and the reenactors did a fantastic job.  It was a very enjoyable and educational afternoon.  Thank you to everyone!  If you did not make it this year, plan to in the future!   

Comment by John Boutet on October 8, 2012 at 12:14am

Pictures from John Curran:

150th Anniversary Commemoration of Camp Fitz-John Porter
PART ONE: Starting point of riverfront progression of re-enactment scenes
150th Anniversary Commemoration of Camp Fitz-John Porter
PART ONE: Starting point of riverfront progression of re-enactment scenes
Above: P1040527 Freedom Seeker enactors from Akwaaba: The Heritage Associates 
Transition: each passage in time to the reenactment sites was guided by the Excelsior Fife and Drum Corps
P1040513 Excelsior Fife & Drum Corps passing by encampment 


PART THREE: Rochester during the early days of the Civil War
Rochester's City Historian Christine Ridarski and fellow actor react to the newspaper headlines of 1862 
and reflect the sentiments of local citizens.
P1040538 City Historian Christine Ridarski at right

P1040550 Audience progression along riverfront reenactment scenes
PART FOUR: Civil War recruit training at Camp Fitz-John Porter in 1862
P1040554 Fife & Drum group led progression to each sequential scene
P1040505 140th NY Volunteer Infantry with flag
P1040495 140th NY Volunteer Infantry reenactors


PART 5 Historical Overview of Camp Porter leading up to Mayoral Proclamation 
P1040555 Author Brian Bennett recounts Camp F-J Porter History
P1040558 Mayoral proclamation read by Bruce Wilder (at tent)


Conclusion: Frederick Douglass reflects on the 1862 period after troops departed camp prior to the Emancipation Proclamation
P1040560 Frederick Douglass reenactment by Dr. David Anderson


Post Commemoration Demonstration: Cannon-firing by the Reynolds' Battery

P1040569 Downtown Rochester skyline
Overview series:
P1040489 Flint Street; river bend Camp memorial site at rear; rarely accessed by the public
P1040516 Memorial plaque; community garden (Tyler Breen Eagle Scout project)
P1040493 Rochester skyline; tour boat; enactors
P1040587 Future guided by a rich riverfront history

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