As I go into my experience at Pioneer Village, I would just like to say that many seem to treat my writings as after-action reports. They really aren't. They are merely my observations, sometimes opinions, of the sequence of events that occur. They are my perspective on things--and nothing more. When I go to an event as a private, there are many things hidden from me, so I see things often at the lowest level, and never the big picture. When I go as a battalion officer--I see things from a different perspective--but again since I'm not in charge, the whole picture is not always available to me. Large national events have thousands of reenactors--but I am only going to be exposed to a minute fraction of that number, so my story only reflects that corner of the picture. Even with small events I rarely interact with the Yankee side--or if I galvanize, I would not see the Confederate side, so at best, my story is only half the picture. I also mean no offense to the parties I write about, but occasionally I do step on some toes. My goal with this blog is to primarily write about my experience, but also, as a secondary goal, to better the hobby. I do sometimes let my emotions control what I write, not always thinking through the ramifications. I apologize if you take offense at what I write and ask to look beyond what is offending you and at what you can do to fix problems that get noted; I would love to return to an event with issues I note and find those issues corrected. If you wish to discuss matters with me, feel free to send me a note on my contact page--I am willing to listen to anything you have to say, so long as you keep it civil. It is not without precedent for me to alter to my writings.
I am continually surprised by the growing popularity of my blog, receiving the occasional compliment for it--that someone is actually reading it--so I am not yet used to the idea of just how much care I must take with what I write. These United States is a great country, where I am free to write what I want, but with that great freedom does come great responsibility, and a true exercise of freedom is to execute true responsibility.
With that said, Pioneer Village started on good footing. I arrived early Friday morning to assist Joe Bellas with his high school class in a bit of living history--and possible recruitment. The kids were bright and inquisitive. Shawn Swart, Jim Kletzli, Chris Silvers, and I all assisted in demonstrating a life of the soldier--even giving the a bit of drill.
Saturday brought a sunny and warm day. The morning was quiet. For the afternoon battle we tried what we did for Ohio Village, which was to continue the scenario beyond the battle and have a medical scenario take care of the dead and wounded.
It started with Jared Springer and I on picket duty. Suddenly, from the woods behind our camp, several shots were fired by the 7th Kansas. They descended upon us with shouts of alarm as the 1st TN formed the company to respond--they had just given the first call and had hardly started equipping themselves when the fighting started.
We were pushed back, and then the rest of the Federal forces joined the field, but in the end, we pushed them from the field and won the day.
After the battle, we carried wounded off toward a tree for Doc Gill to tend to. James Sturkler was one of the dead. George Moore came to his friend and said a prayer over him, then balled over him theatrically. We stripped him of his gear, then carried him off the field. We gave the spectators a taste of the horrors of war.
That evening we enjoyed a superb dinner with the 7th Kansas.
A little while after supper and after a cannon nightfire, I called the ball. The dancing went well, with about a third more dancers than the year before. I stood with most of my tried-and-true dances, but did try a new one I learned called "The Irish Quadrille". I had never even seen a quadrille prior to the Jackson MI, but I took notes at Jackson and was able to teach it pretty well. There were a significant number of new dancers, so I had a bit more work teaching the dances, but it was an enjoyable evening.
Sunday started on a mournful note. Michael Hernandez, commander of the 9th Kentucky, passed away about a month ago, so both Federals and Confederates came together to perform a memorial ceremony in his honor. I did not have much exposure to the man, but the few times I met him, he was a good man. I served under him a couple of times at Monroe, and he was on my wing at Perryville, when I was on the battalion staff. I could see that he will be long missed. My regret is not having the chance to get to know him better.
Beginning with that ceremony, the sun never shone that day. It even drizzled a little in sorrow for him.
At one point during the day, the captain of the 7th Kansas came over to discuss matters with Capt Sharp when we heard gunfire. It appeared that some of our men engaged members of the 7th KS in an impromptu skirmish. Capt Sharp seized on the opportunity and took the 7th KS captain at gunpoint over to the fighting, instructing the 7th KS to lay down arms, and they would be allowed to leave the field with their captain.
But, the 7th KS had other ideas. Their captain ordered them to open fire, taking a hit with the first volley. Skirmishing continued for awhile, until some from another Federal unit decided to join in. Fighting was quickly halted when Sgt Kletzli realized they were pulling their ramrods, which is an extremely dangerous situation.
The battle began later that afternoon. As guest commanders, Gary Evens and Edd Sharp were brought in to participate. The 9th KY handled the left side of the battlefield, with the 1st TN handling the right.
Things just went sour from there. I'm not real sure what went wrong, and I can't really do it justice.
At least Hartford City in two weeks will be a new start.