SIDNEY — Sidney native Phil Spaugy will return to his home town for Sidney, Ohio’s Civil War Living History Weekend to open the event’s educational program. Spaugy will speak about Ohio’s role in arming the Union, specifically discussing the arms and accoutrements of the Federal infantry soldier with an emphasis on soldiers from the great state of Ohio.
In addition to collecting the firearms of the U.S Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Spaugy’s collection includes longarms altered for the states of Ohio and Indiana in 1861 by Miles Greenwood. That collection was awarded the prestigious “Best Military Arms” display award at the 2017 Ohio Civil War Show in Mansfield, Ohio.
Located in Cincinnati, Greenwood’s Eagle Ironworks produced iron products for the Federal Army. In fact, his refusal to sell military products to anyone other than the Federal Government caused Confederate sympathizers to set fire to his buildings on three separate occasions.
Spaugy’s interest in Greenwood’s work is due in part to Greenwood developing a process to rifle the barrels of smoothbore muskets. That process greatly enhanced the accuracy of the weapon.
A smoothbore musket could be expected to accurately hit a target at a distance of several dozen yards. Rifled muskets were reasonably accurate at a distance of 500 yards. Stated another way, a soldier could generally hit their intended target seven times for every fifty shots fired with a smoothbore musket. The same soldier could hit the intended target approximately 48 times with a rifled musket.
”My grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Jackson Center, Ohio. She instilled in me her love of books and history,” Spaugy said. “I have had a lifelong interest in the American Civil War since age seven. I started collecting items from the period at age 16.”
For the last 45 years, Spaugy has been a member of the Union Guard, Company A, 19th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The group is a part of the North-South Skirmish Association (N-SSA).
“During my time as a member, I have served on the N-SSA Board of Directors for more than 20 years,” Spaugy stated. “I have held the offices of Commander, Midwest region, National Inspector General, National Deputy Commander, and Paymaster. From 2013 to 2016, I had the honor of serving as the National Commander of the organization.”
As a member of the N-SSA, Spaugy has had the opportunity to live-fire almost every type of firearm issued to both the Union and the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Although his primary area of weapons collecting has been Civil War longarms associated with Ohio, Spaugy’s interest in the war goes well beyond that area of study.
“Spaugy has extensively researched the soldiers, battles and campaigns of the famed Iron Brigade of the West, of which the 19th Indiana was a member regiment. He has a special interest in the actions of the color guard of the 19th Indiana at the battle of Gettysburg.
“My good friend Lance Herdegen and I took great pride in doing the research behind the Don Troiani print ‘The Black Hats’. That lithograph depicts the gallantry of Sgt. Major Asa Blanchard of the 19th Indiana at the Battle of Gettysburg on the afternoon of July 1st,” Spaugy stated.
Spaugy is vice president and co-owner of Aviation Sales Inc., a provider of aviation services to the Miami Valley general aviation community. Aviation Sales, Inc. is located in Vandalia, where Spaugy and his wife Amy reside. Together they have supported a number of philanthropic causes
Some of those include the support of the Seminary Ridge Museum (Gettysburg), the funding that enabled the creation of the Ohio display at the Civil War Museum in Kenosha, and funding the wayside marker that details the wounding of Lieutenant Colonel George McFarland of the 151st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry (Gettysburg).
Along with Phil Harris, Spaugy raised the funding needed to restore the badly deteriorated statue of Brigadier General Solomon Meredith. That statue marks the general’s grave in Riverside Cemetery, Cambridge City, Indiana.
Spaugy is a descendant of both the Fahnestock and Ziegler families of Gettysburg. He also counts among his ancestors Civil War soldiers who served with the 61st, 142nd and 87th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the 34th, 57th, 71st, 81st, 99th, and 147th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and the 26th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.
Spaugy’s presentation is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. It will be the first of nine presentations on various topics scheduled for Sidney, Ohio’s Civil War Living History Weekend. Following Spaugy’s presentation, he will remain on site through the afternoon, sharing with park visitors the information he has learned about the weapons he will have with him on display.a number of weapons from his collection.
In addition to educational presentations, the weekend will include daily battles, ongoing skirmishing, and the opportunity to visit with Union and Confederate reenactors in their camps and learn more about the Civil War experience of soldiers. There will be events both Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18.
“We are delighted that Phil’s schedule allows him to present this weekend,” Mike Barhorst said. Barhorst has chaired the committee that has planned the event since its inception in 2016.
“Although he’s been on our radar for a long time, his schedule has precluded his attendance in the past,” Barhorst said. “Visitors will find his presentation both fascinating and educational.”