Sunday, May 23, 2010

Civil War reenactment

So many options of what to do with our remaining month, so it's hard to decide what to do on a weekend. There were many competing choices, but this week we settled on a Civil War reenactment. It's the last major one before we move back as most of the major battles that are reenacted around here are in July.

The Battles of Spotsylvania 2010 Civil War Re-enactment and Bluegrass for Battlefields Benefit Concert was the official title.

The description:
"Re-enactors will stage the Battle of Harris Farm, the last day of fighting during Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's May 1864 clash with Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's forces at Spotsylvania Court House. A costly stalemate, it was the commanders' second encounter as Grant began the Overland Campaign that ended in Lee's surrender at Appomattox 11 months later."

There were various tents set up as we entered with vendors and people to talk with. Lots and lots of Civil War era costumes.

Many different flags.

The hospital tents.

We brought our lawn chairs and got a great view with not too many people around. Watched the Confederate line being assembled.

Interesting to see the range of costumes and accessories.

The general was the first to come over and explain why there were so few spectators in our section. Apparently the people who come routinely know that the noise is greatest near the cannons.

Trench digging and barricade building with trees scavenged from nearby. There were five cannons on the side near us.

The Cavalry arrives!

Loading the cannon. The crowd around us got ready to cover their ears.

The battle started. Was fun to watch the progression. Hear the Cavalry had dropped off some guys in the middle of the battlefield.

The smoke at times made it hard to see what was going on.

Even though the two front lines were really close together, most of these guys survived. We couldn't figure out if they were aiming at each other or behind for the larger group of people.

The Union was advancing, time to get the horses out of the way.

We could finally see the Union troops.

Trying to get the troops into orderly rows.

Using the tall grass as cover didn't seem to work. Cheers erupted from the spectators as the Union had to retreat. One guy near us commented that Virginia is obviously a southern state. We hadn't really thought about it, but was obvious from the crowd that was there to observe. After the bugle played, the battle was over and all the "dead" and "wounded" soldiers stood up and marched back to their sides to clean up.
The weather was starting to get unpleasant, so we headed back to Fredericksburg to get out of the rain and then came back for the Bluegrass concert. As we drove past the rows of tents and the re-enactors struggling to cook over smoldering camp fires in the rain, made me appreciate not living in those times!

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