When my son was four or five we took a trip to Tannehill State Park. I’ve written about the park several times, it is a civil war era furnace that was used to make pig iron. The iron was then shipped to other locations where it was used for aiding the war’s efforts. Today people can view the restored furnaces, camp, hike, fish, and tour the crafts cabins, among other things. That day we chose to hike, and set out towards the back of the park which lies on the other side of a mountain.
Andy was a little trooper and I remember being impressed how he was climbing up that steep hillside.
The park has an area located in the back about a half of mile away. It is a large field that is used for different events such as trade days. As we approached this area we could see something in the distance. It was then, while we stood above appearing across the field that we heard the voice of Rod Serling coming out of the clouds saying “You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”
For as far as we could see was a confederate encampment. It included white canvas tents, horses, soldiers, and artillery. The closest section to us that day was a medical division. We came down off the mountain and walked among the camp. There were hurting soldiers with medical personnel pretending to be doing whatever was possible to make them comfortable, and on display were all of these old civil war period medical instruments.
We had no idea that this reenactment had been planned, it was just like we had walked back into time. I’ll never forget that experience. If you ever attend a reenactment, that’s the way to go. The only problem is that this was twenty years ago, and I haven’t just happened to walk into another one since.
This past Memorial Day weekend, I visited another reenactment once again. Only this time I came in through the front gate. There was also a fee of a couple bucks to enter. Who knew. I gladly paid to enter this time.
I felt like I learned so much that day. Things that I hadn’t even thought about before. For instance notice the belt buckles above. The second guy from the left obviously borrowed one and turned it upside down. It makes sense thinking about it. These were poor people. It also makes sense for this reenactor, because he might be on the other side the next time.
I also learned what I would have considered a major disadvantage that could have lead the South’s demise. I watched as these Yankees unloaded these two cannons. They were delivered using two Ford F250 trucks. Now I never read that in school. Seriously, this team and their toys were very impressive.
I spoke with one reenactress who made the trip from around Mobile, Alabama. She actually plays two parts. Sometimes she is a trooper and other times she dresses in the period clothes as a bystander. There were several women fighting. One had a beard painted on her face. According to the reenactress I spoke with, women actually did this. One woman is said to have fought the entire war without anyone finding out her true identity, until the physical upon leaving revealed the truth about Mary Jane.
I would have loved to have had the opportunity to just sit down with this gentleman and listen to his story. It is easy to think of the white southern farmer when one speaks of the Confederacy. However, that wasn’t always the case. As with any conflict sometimes people have other reasons for pledging their allegiance.
A lot of times it is easy to think of ourselves being different from people living a couple of centuries ago. However, there is probably not too much difference except as a rule we might be a little cleaner.
Isn’t it odd that it took so long for someone to realize that this type of fighting might not be the most effective.
I happen to mention that this event wasn’t as large this time as I remembered it being before. A reenactor responded that the economy was the main reason. Many of the reenactors just can’t afford to travel as much anymore or spend the money needed for their equipment.
I also mentioned to someone that I could understand the visitors not being prepared with the correct clothing, but there is no excuse for the home team to be wearing those clothes in ninety degree weather. Seriously it was suppose to reach 97 degrees that day.
What a senseless war. Many southern families, including mine, lost members on both sides. It was truly a war that pitted brother against brother, and fathers against sons. God forbid that it ever happens again.
The above is a digital painting that I made using Snap Art 3. Click on it to see a larger version.