Lincoln Depot Museum Opening Weekend 2019

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Lincoln Depot Museum Opening Weekend 2019

April 26, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - April 28, 2019 @ 4:00 pm

Friday, April 26, 2019 • 7:30 PM – $5 Admission or $20 for Full Weekend Pass

Grant’s Friendship with Abraham Lincoln


US Grant first-person impressionist Kenneth Serfass discusses the General’s close relationship with President Abraham Lincoln.

President Lincoln had faith in Ulysses S. Grant when few people did. During the Vicksburg Campaign, calls went out for the President to dismiss Grant because he had bogged down “somewhere in Mississippi”.  Mr. Lincoln later said in Grant’s defense, “I really believe I am the only friend Grant has left. Grant advises me that he will take Vicksburg by the Fourth of July, and I believe he will do it; and he shall have the chance.”

The criticisms came in the form of letters, newspaper editorials, and delegations of irate citizens calling on Lincoln in person. The editor of the Cincinnati Gazette wrote, ‘Our noble army of the Mississippi is being wasted by the foolish, drunken, stupid Grant, He cannot organize or control or fight an army. I have no personal feeling about it; but I know he is an ass.'”  Lincoln’s response, “I can’t spare this man, he fights”.  Colonel Absalom H. Markland, a Washington postal official connected to Grant’s army made note: “Other friends may have wavered in their friendship for General Grant, and even recommended his removal from command, but Abraham Lincoln was faithful to General Grant through evil and good report.”

Because Grant began his civil war career with victories in battle, he soon was very much in Lincoln’s focus as a successful commander.  Lincoln endured criticism of all sorts about Grant, but had faith as to the outcome of each battle and campaign.  The Chicago Journal once published this exchange with a visitor who asked: “When will the army move?” Responded the President: “Ask General Grant.” The visitor replied: “General Grant will not tell me.” Responded the President: “Neither will he tell me.”

The two men sustained each other for what was to come before the surrender of confederate armies, and that shared responsibility built a profound bond between two people, and like-minded men regarding fairness and humanity towards a vanquished foe.   It’s not always told in battle reports and dispatches, but the stories of friends go much deeper sometimes.  This encounter will be a rare chance to see inside that friendship.

Kenneth J. Serfass, Gunnery Sgt USMC, retired
(as Ulysses S. Grant)

Gunnery Sgt Kenneth J. Serfass was born in Bethlehem, PA on June 18th, 1966.  He joined the USMC in 1984 and his final tour was with the First Marine Division Band during Operation Iraqi Freedom and retired from the Marine Corps in July of 2004 to become a music teacher.

Ken WAS a civil war reenactor and now is a first-person impressionist with nearly fifty years of study of his childhood hero, US Grant.  He now works as a full-time professional living historian portraying Ulysses S. Grant, presenting between 11 and as many as 23 appearances each month between February and November each year as his work season.

Ken began appearing publically as General Grant in 2009 while living in San Diego CA, even then speaking at events across the country and he presents in as many venues as are relevant to the life of Grant.  From horseback tours and rail road excursion rides, at living history and roundtable events to public libraries on a regular basis across many eastern and southern states, and annually in Southern California at Huntington Beach’s Civil War Days over Labor Day weekend, Ken is established firmly on both coasts.

He has appeared at Pamplin Park near Petersburg VA, and at several national park sites on an annual basis.  In 2015 he was invited to join The Federal Generals Corps, a living history organization hosting first person impressions of many of the most well-known Union generals in the American civil war, to be their “Ulysses S. Grant.”  This past July he presented at Petersburg NPS for the Crater Commemoration, and the following day at City Point NPS, Grant’s war time Virginia headquarters.  They now have invited him back to make this an annual occurrence.

He has spoken on Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign to the Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Association to develop broader civil war study among their guides.  He is the only Grant impressionist to present his own topical programs at the General Grant National Memorial, in New York City, presenting first person public interactive addresses, as General and also as President, and has developed Junior Ranger programs for NPS, bringing America’s youth closer to history.

Entertaining and educational, the spectrum of venues includes schools, all sorts of service and history clubs, as well as museums, and business groups seeking leadership training and inspiration.  Ken’s work has generated a great following of supporters and others who share his love or American history and the attributes of positive role models throughout our national past.  Many are happy to refer him to others so they too can talk to history and share in our rich heritage.

It is with a profound honor that he tells the story of one of America’s greatest military leaders and Ken takes it very seriously to reaffirm Grant’s place of honor among the most respected people of our nation’s history.  His passion for the subject is evident in his presentation, and it is hard not to be affected by his enthusiasm for his subject and believe that you’ve met US Grant in living history.

Saturday, April 27, 2019 • 12:00 PM – $10 for the day (includes admission to all Saturday presentations) or $20 for Full Weekend Pass.

Elmer Ellsworth and Abraham Lincoln

Presented by – Civil War Author/Historian — Patrick A. Schroeder

Perhaps the most famous non-political celebrity in the country at the time of his death/murder, Elmer Ellsworth originally from Mechanicville, NY, started the “Zouave Craze in America.”  This program will discuss the origin of Zouaves; Ellsworth’s life prior to the time he became associated with Lincoln; his relationship with the Lincoln family; working and campaigning for Lincoln, the journey to Washington; his raising of the 11th NY Fire Zouaves; his untimely death in Alexandria, VA; and his funeral at the White House.

Saturday, April 27, 2019 • 2:00 PM – $10 for the day (includes admission to all Saturday presentations) or $20 for Full Weekend Pass.

Lincoln and the Surrender at Appomattox

Presented by – Civil War Author/Historian — Patrick A. Schroeder

The program will discuss Lincoln’s meeting with Generals Sherman and Grant prior to the Appomattox Campaign and his influence on the surrender terms.  Details about how the surrender meeting came about; incidents; personalities; primary source accounts; and details of the meeting that effectively closed the war and reunited the Nation will be covered, as well as the presence of Robert Lincoln at the McLean House on April 9, 1865.

Saturday, April 27, 2019 • 3:00 PM

Zouaves and Peekskill Connections

Presented by – Civil War Author/Historian — Patrick A. Schroeder

Patrick Schroeder, expert on Zouave units of the Civil War discusses the connections of Peekskill and the units that enlisted area residents.

Sunday, April 28, 2019 • 1:00 PM – $10 for the day (includes admission to all Sunday presentations).

Lincoln and the Surrender at Appomattox

Presented by – Civil War Author/Historian — Patrick A. Schroeder

The program will discuss Lincoln’s meeting with Generals Sherman and Grant prior to the Appomattox Campaign and his influence on the surrender terms.  Details about how the surrender meeting came about; incidents; personalities; primary source accounts; and details of the meeting that effectively closed the war and reunited the Nation will be covered, as well as the presence of Robert Lincoln at the McLean House on April 9, 1865.

Sunday, April 28, 2019 • 2:00 PM – (Outside on the LDM grounds).

Zouaves, America’s Forgotten Soldiers

Presented by – Civil War Author/Historian — Patrick A. Schroeder

A power point with more than 100 photographs of Zouaves both North and South.  Discusses the origins of Zouaves in North Africa, French Zouaves distinguished exploits in the Crimean War and in Italy, Elmer Ellsworth and “Zouaves craze” in America.  Slides demonstrate various styles of American Zouave uniforms.  Brief capsule histories on several famous Zouave units.  Reproduction uniforms brought for display.  Details of this unique uniform explained.

Sunday, April 28, 2019 • 1:00-4:00 PM – Included with Admission

General Grant Returns to the Depot

General US Grant (Ken Serfass) returns to the Lincoln Depot Museum to be available on site for small group or individual discussions and photographs.

Encampment on Grounds All Weekend!

Encampment will feature several Zouave units including 5th NY Duryee’s Zouaves, Cos. A & D, 15th NY Cavalry and 11th Connecticut Vols., with live firings, bayonet and arms drills, camp life and Grant and Lincoln’s review of the troops.  And MORE!

Civil War Author/Historian — Patrick A. Schroeder was born January 1, 1968, at Fort Belvoir, VA.  In the spring of 1990, he graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Historical Park Administration from Shepherd College, Shepherdstown, WV.  He has a M.A. in Civil War History from Virginia Tech.  From the summer of 1986-1993, Patrick worked as a seasonal living history interpreter at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.  In 1993, he wrote Thirty Myths About Lee’s Surrender, which is currently in its twelfth printing.   From 1994–1999, he was employed at Red Hill, the Patrick Henry National Memorial.  Patrick has written, edited and/or contributed to more than twenty-five Civil War titles including:  More Myths About Lee’s Surrender; The Confederate Cemetery at Appomattox; Recollections and Reminiscences of Old Appomattox; Images of America:  Appomattox County; Tar Heels; Sailor’s Creek:  General Custis Lee Captured with Controversy; Civil War Soldier Life:  In Camp and Battle; A Duryee Zouave; We Came To Fight: A History of the 5th NY Veteran Vol. Inf., Duryee’s Zouaves; Campaigns of the 146th Regiment New York State Volunteers; Pennsylvania Bucktails; The Bloody 85th; The Life of General Ely S. Parker: Least Grand Sachem of the Iroquois and Grant’s Military Secretary; Appomattox County; and With the 11th New York Fire Zouaves: In Camp, Battle and Prison.  Patrick resides in Lynchburg, VA, and has worked as an independent researcher, author, historian, and tour guide.  He has served as the Historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park since 2002.  In an effort to protect sites relevant to the Appomattox Campaign, Patrick has set up the “Appomattox Fund” with the Civil War Trust, to save land important to the climatic events of April 1865.


Lincoln Depot Museum
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Lincoln Depot Museum
10 S Water Street
Peekskill, NY 10566 United States
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Hon. John G. Testa

The Hon. John G. Testa served as the mayor of the City of Peekskill for three terms before being elected to his current position as County Legislator. A life long Peekskill resident, he also served on numerous nonprofit boards including two terms as President of the Lincoln Society in Peekskill, one of the oldest in the nation, and on the board of Westchester Community College.

Historic preservation and celebrating America’s history have played an important role in all of Testa’s adult life. He has served as a Revolutionary War reenactor with the 1st New York Regiment of the Brigade of the American Revolution for over 40 years.

As a Common Council Member and later Mayor of the City of Peekskill, he played a fundamental role in securing the property the Depot resides on and in getting the grants from the Empire State Development Corporation and the New York State Department of Environmental Protection that have financed its transformation. Now, in his role as President of the Lincoln Depot Museum Foundation, he is dedicated to not only completing the physical side of the project but to establishing a nationally-recognized organization that will sustain itself for the foreseeable future.

To learn more about Mr. Testa, go to

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Brian D. Caplan, Esq

Mr. Caplan has more than 26 years’ experience litigating a broad range of entertainment, intellectual property and commercial matters. His clients have included recording artists and producers, publishing companies, record labels, personal managers, business management, accounting firms, professional athletes, and dealers in fine art. He is a member of the Westchester County and New York State Bar associations, the Copyright Society of the United States, the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers, and the Friar’s Club. He is an avid collector of Lincoln, Civil War and baseball related photography.

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Hon. Catherine E. Pisani

Hon. Cathy Pisani, a life-long resident of Peekskill, has served the community most notably as a City of Peekskill Common Council Member/Deputy Mayor for sixteen years and a Peekskill High School educator for thirty-six years. She has enthusiastically participated in various and diverse areas of civic life, including her current Board Memberships: Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s Foundation, the Lincoln Society in Peekskill and the Executive Committee of the Retired Teachers/Peekskill Faculty Association.

Cathy Pisani’s energies and commitments over the years have focused on Peekskill’s improved economic growth and development through such boards as Peekskill’s Industrial Development Agency, Youth Board, Human Relations Commission and the Paramount Center for the Arts. Currently, she is a member of Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce and Peekskill Museum.

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Jeffrey Sweet

Jeffrey Sweet is a lifelong resident of the area, and has been involved in many civic organizations for his entire adult life.  He has a diploma from Syracuse University, and directed Labor Relations at the Westchester Medical Center for many years.  Thereafter, he was Vice Chair of the NY State Workers Compensation Board until his retirement.

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Andrew F. Amenn

Andrew F. Amenn, a resident of Yorktown Heights, NY, is currently a Corporate Vice President in the Finance Department of New York Life Insurance Company (New York Life”).  Andrew has spent nearly twenty-four years at New York Life in multiple controllership roles; with his primary responsibilities covering oversight for financial statement preparation and the creation of management financial reports.

Following the events of September 11, 2001, Andrew joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY where he served as an Infantryman.

Andrew served two tours of duty with the 10th Mountain Division as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and he saw service in Fallujah and Iskandariya (September 2003-2004) and Iraq’s capital, Baghdad (August 2005- January 2006).  After six months, his second tour was cut short when he was wounded by gunfire while on patrol.

Andrew graduated from St. John’s University, with a BS Accounting, he also graduated from Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, with an M.A. in History.  Andrew is also a member and Finance Officer of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 21, representing Westchester and Putnam counties.

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Barbara Kerasiotes

A life-long resident of Peekskill, Barbara Kerasiotes has dedicated her life to serving, and bettering, her community — both in her vocation as an educator as well as on the boards of numerous civic and cultural organizations.

As a long-time Board member and past President of the Lincoln Society in Peekskill, during her presidency she spearheaded the fundraising efforts to restore and renovate the almost century-old historic Lincoln Exedra on South Street, overseeing the project from inception to completion.

Barbara has been an educator and guidance counselor in the Lakeland School District since 1991; while serving on various school and district committees over the years, she has also been a member of the Westchester College Conference Board of Governors as well as a member and panel moderator for the BOCES Northern Westchester/Putnam College Conference for the last twenty-seven years.

A co-founder and Officer of the Westchester Hellenic Association, she has also served as the Director of its Afternoon Greek School for the last eighteen years.

Barbara has donated her time and expertise to many other causes, including serving as a trustee of the Putnam/Northern Westchester Women’s Resource Center, serving on the Executive Board of the Paramount Center for the Arts, and a member of the Rotary’s Lapolla Scholarship Committee.

She holds three degrees: a B.S. in Business Administration/Marketing and English Literature from Mercy College; an M.S. in Counseling from Fordham University; and an M.S. Ed. in School Administration from College of New Rochelle.

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Paul R. Martin III

Yorktown resident Paul R. Martin III is a professional historical artist, illustrator and art teacher in the Pearl River School District. He received his BA in art from Southampton College and his MA in Drawing from Long Island University. His drawings and paintings have been exhibited throughout the New York Metropolitan area for the past 20 years. His original art and prints are on permanent display at the R. E. Lee Civil War Research Center and Library, The Civil War Library and Museum of Philadelphia, The Pentagon, the United States Congressional Building, West Point, and hundreds of private collections throughout the country.

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