CNY Civil War summit re-enacted on its 150th anniversary

By WKTV News

TRENTON FALLS, N.Y. (WKTV) - It happened at Trenton Falls...August 18, 1863

150 years ago, on August 18th, 1863, William Henry Seward, former Governor of New York and then Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln organized a summit at Trenton Falls.

On Sunday morning, on this historic 150 year anniversary, some local historians held a re-enactment of that historic event.

In 1863, diplomats from Britain, Russia, Italy, Sweden, Nicaragua and France, along with President Lincoln, rode into Trenton Falls by train from Utica. Since there is no longer a train that comes into Trenton Falls, actors portraying each, rode in, symbolically, by horse on Sunday.

The dignitaries were invited by Lincoln to impress upon them the extent of the resources of the North, which was involved in a the American Civil War at the time with the South.

It is believed that this meeting in Trenton Falls was instrumental in convincing the diplomats that a Union victory was inevitable. 

Historians say it is interesting to note that the countries represented at this summit did not support the South following the diplomats' tour of the United States

"It kind of sends chills up and down your spine when you think that you're walking on the same ground that people walked on 150 years ago when there was a Civil War going on and helped to bring an end to it," said Linda Parker, one of the chairpersons of the Seward Committee which organized Sunday's events.

Andrew Roblee, the facilities manager at the Seward House in Aurburn who was onhand on Sunday says events like these just help point out how much of an effect William Henry Seward had on not only New York State, but this country as well.

"As the top member of Lincoln's cabinet, he had great input on a lot of major decisions, most notable is the signing of the  Emancipation Proclamation which Lincoln wanted to release earlier, but Seward was able to convince him not to," Roblee said.  "If he were to release it when Lincoln wanted to, it would have been seen as an act of desperation, so he (Seward) advised Lincoln to wait for a Union victory."

On Sunday, a plaque was unveiled that describes the historic summit.  It can be seen upon the entrance to the falls.

The trails will be open once again on Sept.21st & 22nd. And Sept.28th & 29th.

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