Monday, October 1, 2012

Taking a Hit

Pioneer Village
Caesar's Creek
Waynesville, OH

Courtesy Civil War Sites
When I finally crashed on Friday evening at Pioneer Village in Caesar's Creek, I was reminded of sleeping under the street lights of Grove City.

But this time there was no electricity-there were no street lights.  It was the light of the full moon that gave the appearance of dusk all night long.

There was a definite lack of indigo-dyed coats at the event. I came prepared to galvanize, along with a few others, but we were fortunate enough to have a handful of Yankees to play with.

Capt Sharp was trying a few different things this weekend.  For Saturday, Sgt Mott played private or corporal or something, and Cpl Kletzli was brevetted to 1st Sergeant.  James Sturkler fell in with us as Lieutenant.

Due to the lack of blue targets, there did not seem to be much to the skirmish.  We came out on right by file into line, then advanced. We quickly deployed into skirmish lines and broke the company into separate platoons, ending with the first platoon-the platoon I was in-pinned down by cannon.  With the battery distracted with us, Lt Sturkler walked up with 2nd platoon from their flank and said, "Hi!" to the artillery crew, finishing the fight.

Much beyond that, I spent a portion of the day preparing for the ball, as I was to call it that night.  The ladies of the 1st served us a terrific fried chicken dinner.  The event probably served something, but I do not think it would compare to that fried chicken.

I do not call dances very often, but that is all I really desire.  Pioneer Village is of a perfect size for calling the kind of balls I like, so I am grateful to be given the opportunity here.

One dance I do not particularly care for is one called, "The Hat Dance".  I always try to skip it, but every time someone always requests it.  I think I am going to give up any thoughts of skipping it from now on.

In the past I have stayed with familiar dances as most already know them, so they are easy to teach.  This time, however, I tried a few new ones.  The crowd wore out before I could get to all the dances I planned, so I was only able to get to two new ones, one called "The Irish Washerwoman" and the other "The Physical Snob".

I had called the Irish Washerwoman once, something like seven years ago, but it is an easy dance to a tune of the same name.  The band had that song on their repertoire, so I thought it would be good to bring this dance up.

I had forgotten how simple the dance was.  Basically, four couples form a circle, march to the center, tap four times, back out, swing the corner, then promenade the partner.  There were enough dancers for two circles, and after about the first or second time, each circle started counting their taps.

It was not long, and at some point the circles somehow got out of sync, where one circle was counting just after the second circle.  It soon became a competition-the first circle counting to four, the second counting from five through eight, the first then counting nine to twelve, etc.  Soon it was a competition to see who could come up with the most creative counting means-such as switching to Spanish or German, or rattling off the words to "100 Bottles of Beer".  I think those dancers had more fun on that simple dance than any other.

The Physical Snob was a dance I had never called before, but it was not complex.  Unfortunately most of the crowd had left (it was after ten and getting late), so I did not have much to work with.  It called for three couples to form a line, and all I had to work with were five gentlemen and a lady.  The ladies are always complaining there are not enough men to dance with-they missed their opportunity here.  They were all relatively inexperienced dancers, but we still had fun with the dance, but I realized it was time to bring the ball to a close and had the band play the last waltz.

Courtesy Civil War Sites
Sunday was a new day with a new 1st Sergeant.  Capt Sharp brevetted Cpl Carte and returned Cpl Kletzli to his position.

Capt. Sharp's whole point of giving turns at 1st Sergeant was to give experience with it.  Although for Perryville next week I will be a bit out-of-touch with the inside of the 1st Tennessee as I will be on battalion staff, I'm sure Sgt Mott will return to his role as 1st Sergeant for such a significant event.

The skirmish scenario for Sunday was to be a continuation of Saturday, and worked out surprisingly well.  We won Saturday, so it was the Yankee's turn to win, but since our numbers were so much greater than Yankees, we had to set ourselves up to be in a bit of a state of confusion.  2nd platoon foraged for supplies through the village buildings, using our own gear and supplies as the bounty, while 1st platoon (where I was) passed the time with a game of Euchre on period cards.  And since they were period cards, Capt Sharp stayed out of the game-he complains that it is too difficult to tell difference between the different face cards.  Someone keeps suggesting I write a "K" or a "J" beside the faces, but would that not defeat the purpose of using period cards?

During the battle, I finished off my rounds as we pulled back to our camp, and then waited for a rifle fire to take a hit.

Jen Mott said my hit was spectacular.  Except that it felt like I jarred my teeth loose from my jaw.  Somehow, during my fall, I managed to rifle-butt myself in my chin with my musket.  As I laid in agony, I felt my chin to make sure everything was still in place-and had a bit of a shock when I found my fingers covered in blood after feeling something wet on my chin.  This was not a pleasant moment-there I lay, concerned I may actually be in a position to have to call for a medic-and the last thing I wanted was to get everyone mad at me for stopping the battle for a simple bump.  I glanced to one of the houses and saw Doc Gill standing in back and hoped to get his attention, but he was preoccupied becoming part of the scenario as the Yankees stormed forward.  Fortunately, when I pulled out my rag to blot the blood, Trish Carte came over with a damp cloth to help me out.  The injury was not bad-though I have a nasty-looking gash in my chin and an aching jaw, but otherwise I was unharmed.

I believe this event was better than the previous year, and I hope it continues to improve by attracting more Yankees.  The coordinators have already invited me to call next year's ball, so unless something comes up, I will return.

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