Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Quiet Living History

Greenville OH

July 26-27, 2014

It seems to every event I attend, I forget one item of importance.  I forgot my skillet at Sharon Woods, so had to borrow a skillet to fry my food.  This weekend—I forgot my food.

After a rough night in my shelter due to allergies from the weather change, we had some donuts provided by the event.  Capt Sharp had plenty of extra bacon and corn meal, but required I cook the food if I were to share in it.  With the extra bacon grease, J.R. mixed in corn meal and water to make a sort-of pancake.

Most of the day Pvt John Farrelly gave the living history education to the spectators as they wandered through our camp, though we also drilled some to test Sgt Kletzli at command and put us in skirmish drills.

Being a timeline event, there were reenactors from every time period between the French and Indian War to the Civil War.  One of the groups there was a Yankee Civil War artillery group, who brought their cannon, but never fired it.  Three other artillery groups were there and fired their cannons.  One of the members of this group—I think they were something like “Ohio Valley Civil War Association”—was overheard by Sgt Kletzli to say to a spectator that it was disrespectful for a Confederate group to be there, as if we should try to forget half of America.  I don’t really know who that reenactor thinks he is or if he is representative of his organization—but the very comment left me with an extreme negative opinion of the group.  This was our third year here and their first, and what about representing a part of our history is disrespectful?  It advertised a level of stupidity of that group—the comment was highly offensive.

At supper, we wandered to the vendor area, where I purchased a gyro from a good selection.

Taking a slight break from the Civil War, J.R. and Tim Ellifrit introduced a bit of the other time-period they reenact by bringing a bazooka to test fire for a D-Day reenactment, after the public had dwindled for the evening.  I'm a little worried about the pictures we might see from this--a Civil War Confederate launching a bazooka.  It was cool to see--but at the same time, "farb" is going to be a comment we hear.  Well--it was out for just a short time, at least.  We went back to normal after they were done playing.

Evening came with the threat of thunderstorms and lightning flashed through the skies, but only a light rain washed the ground for about twenty minutes.  We gathered under a fly and J.R. read from an obituary he found of Colonel Hume Field, who served as commander over the 1st Tennessee Infantry during the Civil War.  It was fascinating to hear the story from another perspective.

I slept a little better that night, but still felt a bit like a zombie in the morning.  More donuts, and J.R. brought out salt pork, which he first boiled once to get much of the salt out, then battered them in flour and fried them in the bacon grease from Saturday’s breakfast, followed by more corn meal cakes.  I finally learned how to properly cook salt pork.

We held a couple of speed-shooting competitions for the spectators.

We drilled some, this time with Sgt Nyman in command, again with more skirmish drills.

The weekend did seem to go quickly, but perhaps it was because I felt I was in too much a daze from allergy problems.  It was an enjoyable weekend, and the organizers treated us exceptionally well—I look forward to returning next year.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Slow Yankees

Sharon Woods

Sharonville, Ohio

July 12-13, 2014

It was hot, and I was tired, so I tossed the very minimum of needs into my car for Sharon Woods, opting for a dog, my officer’s uniform, and basic gear.  I was in such a mood that I forgot completely to pack my skillet and eating utensils.

I set my dog as a shebang, hanging the ends over the front to provide a bit of extra shelter.  So long as it didn’t rain, it was plenty.  I set up against a tree to use the mulch for the soft ground, though it was sloped bad, so made it feel like I’d roll away if I wasn’t careful.

J.R. Sharp worked with Chris Edwards for most of the scenario planning.  Dave Julian took overall Confederate command, which gave me the opportunity to come as battalion major.

The 4th Ohio came to galvanize to help us with the expected low Confederate numbers.  The 9th Kentucky was also there in force.  The Confederate Marines was there as our artillery.

We formed for morning parade and I had a bit of difficulty getting them on line.  Working with the colonel, I determined that my problem was in not enforcing the companies to bring their guides to the line.  I was following a shortcut I had seen in having them simply dress to each other.

We were supposed to lose the battle Saturday, starting deep into the village and be pushed back to the field.  But the Yankees moved like a drunk slug.  It was clear they would not take ground from us—we would have to pull back and give it to them.

The battle went sluggish—the Yankees only advancing when we pulled back to give them ground.  Once we were finally pushed into the field, the men ran low on ammunition.  But the Yankees stopped to parlez, so the battle ended with us holding the field.

Supper was noodles and salad—a bit of a let-down from Ohio Village, but the meal from Ohio Village cannot be topped.

After supper, I relaxed awhile.  We could hear the music of the ball, and eventually Keisha Farelly came to me and asked if I could dance with Cheyenne, Trish Carte’s five year old granddaughter.

Making a child happy is always a good thing.  I took the short toddler to the dance floor, but the dance we were to do was the Spanish Waltz, a somewhat complex dance difficult to teach to beginners.  I tried working with her a bit with Keisha and John (who also were beginners at the period dance), and found failure.  Cheyenne was easily distracted and confused—we were making no progress—so I pulled us out to wait for the next dance.

The next dance was rather simple, being similar to the Virginia Reel, called the Liberty Reel.  It was energetic, and by the end of the dance I was drenched in sweat, but Cheyenne loved the dance.

I slept somewhat well.    The day went pretty quiet, with a couple games of Euchre.

We formed for battle.  There was a rather huge amount of attrition in the Yankee numbers, so the 4th Ohio switched to blue.

The battle started at the train depot, and was to push us back to the hill where we would defend and win.  This time the Yankees pushed much better, but clearly the 4th Ohio was also a significant portion of the Yankees we faced.

We were pushed back to the field and made a rush to the woods to make our stand.  Unfortunately, as we prepared our fight, lightning strikes nearby unsettled some of the soldiers.  Personally, I thought it was a bit early to call the fight, but the threat of electrocution was a bit too much, so we ended the fight there.