Family Vacation, Civil War Battle, and Drama Explosion
A Brief Overview
The following topics will be discussed at length:
Memorial weekend is always a time to remember loved ones who passed away fighting for us, which is always a special time for my family as we're rich in military service. Typically we go to Copalis Beach for our vacation, but my sister really wanted to go to O'Sullivan Sportsman Resort since they have karaoke and a limbo contest. Speaking of the limbo contest, my sister got first place!
I'm really not one who enjoys heat, and boy was it sweltering. Especially with the muggy feeling that Eastern Washington is so renowned for. This added to the misery as the mosquitos had a full course meal on my legs (sorry for the graphic description). Despite the heat and bug invasion, it was pleasant until I got an email from my college professor. Before going on vacation you see I requested an extension on our upcoming assignments, however he didn't allow it. So all day Sunday from seven in the morning to seven at night I spent doing homework. Pretty much lost my sanity after I submitted all my work, alas that's college for you. Least Saturday was action packed and all around good fun.
Battle of Deep Creek 2015 - The Forest of Shadows
Before, During, and After the Battle of Deep Creek
On May 23rd I was at a Civil War re-enactment at Medicine Lake, Washington where I had the gall to bring my mini camcorder in the hopes of capturing the battle in a first person viewpoint.
This re-enactment also proved to me that there was some animosity between some of my comrade's. Our reenacting group is small as we only have a maximum of nine people, while most units have 15-20. From the first time we joined up with them, I couldn't shake the feeling that this group didn't really like the prospect of having new members, particularly those like my Dad and I who voiced our opinions. This started a domino effect during our second battle.
The first sign of trouble was when we were lined up preparing to form our battalion, when we did a sort of roll call. The purpose was to insure that the rear rank (those individuals had to say the number two) and front rank (those who said the number one) knew where they were battle formation wise. Well everytime that got to my Dad, he didn't say anything. (In the interest of dialogue, I will separate longer conversations from my above text)
The Sergeant: "Now come on *name omitted*, say your number like everyone else"
My Dad: "Nahh, I don't want to"
Sergeant: "Are you mad?"
Dad: "No I'm not mad"
Sergeant: "Do you want me to make you mad?"
Dad: "No I don't want to have a fight"
Sergeant (slapping his back playfully): "I know *name omitted*, I'm just messing with you"
Dad (smiling): "You know me"
I feel it is also important to mention that everyone accept me and the first sergeant are all veterans who served in the military, where both my Dad and the Sergeant were in the Navy.
Considering this was only my second reenactment that I was taking part of, I thought I would screw up more times especially with the loading procedures. Surprisingly it felt like second-nature and I was even able to load on the move, which is a tough thing to do while staying in a perfect parallel line, hearing cannons and muskets blasting relentlessly in your ears. Our first battle was in military terms a cluster fuck. In other words madness, but that's the fun of it since that's probably how a lot of the famous battles turned out 150 years ago. Our battle started out in glorious fashion as cannons and snipers fired back and forth, making the audience cheer and clap. Reminds me of the crowd at the battle of Antietam, where the battle that was supposed to be a walk in the park for the Federal Army turned into a complete rout, and the audience went running for the hills fearing for their lives. Now that I think about it this reminds me of another incident that also happened in the Revolutionary War.
Springing forward 150 years, and my group the Irish Jasper Greens were tasked with driving the Yankee line back. Simple task we thought. Unfortunately all seemingly fool-proof plans always go awry in the end, as we discovered we ourselves were being driven back, left and right my comrades fell and I was left with two options; fight it out and ultimately die, or flee and fight another day. I choose to stay and fight. I took down three before being surrounded and forced to surrender which I begrudgingly did. Our confederate battle flag was lowered and Ol' faithful stood there fluttering in the breeze. When the guns stopped firing both sides went to parade rest, took off their hats and a jugular played taps to honor the dead. Just like newly revived corpses we were reanimated and slapped each other’s backs and joked around how we totally blew such and such's battalion to smithereens. After our brigade firing from both North and South, we headed to our respected camps to lick our wounds and prepare for the second battle.
The second and subsequently the tipping point was when we were walking down the tree line, to the stahing area. Now as you probably heard in the above video, that a confrontation started. During our challenging descend down a hill face, the battalions that were behind us were getting antsy to get into the fight. Which I can sympathize as the sounds of cannons blasting and heavy fire got me twitchy. My Dad was in front of me as this more heavy set fellow dubbed T was behind me. I was in front of my Dad and caught up with the Texans that were straggling towards their own battle line.
As I take a moment glance back not seeing my Dad by my side, I see T start to shove my Dad harder while he was taking his time down the hill. First time he shoved my Dad was okay with, now though he was just being a bully. That was when my Dad had enough.
Dad: "Just stop it"
T: "Stop what?"
T: "But I didn't push you" he says smiling
Dad: "If you push me again I'll deck you"
T: "Alright mate" *in a mocking British accent*
My Dad was officially pissed. He raised his gun and shot a blank off with such force, the gun bucked like it actually had a bullet inside. Least he was able to channel his rage into that shot, rather than the guy's face.
After losing my camcorder twice in tall grass, and finding it again by shear dumb of luck we saw the tables turn on us.
Our commander was leaving to pursue a degree in theology and methodology in Rome, where he wants to become a priest. No offense but the way he bashes people online, and how he doesn't have compaction towards others tells me he probably won't make it as a priest. Although I could be wrong, and this new pathway might change him for the better who knows. The reason I say the tables were turned is after the guy apologized to my Dad via Facebook message (to me sounds sheepish) I then got a message from our commander. In his message it states, "Due to the severity of the argument between your Dad and T, I feel it is in the Irish Jasper Greens' best interest to have you two leave our group. You are hereby kicked out of our group." To say I was shell-shocked is an understatement, I felt betrayed by those I considered my friends.
What followed next was a complete explosion on the WCWA Facebook page. Drama spilled onto there from groups accusing members of tampering with living quarters, writing vulgar slurs with mashed up marshmallows which were dried onto a table (I'm not making this up either), and ousting of board members for having relations with members wives'. The page looked like world war three with all the comments flooding in like troops on a battlefield. It's a shame really cause I had a great idea to get more interaction between re-enactors and the public audience, alas. What's even more sad is the actions and comments of others have caused us to lose members and our presifent has just resigned today, talk about drama.
I’ll share with you my idea for a more interactive experience:
Ideas for Civil War Reenacting
I have an idea on how to make the reenactments more engaging for both reenactor and audience alike.
Before the start of battle, scouting parties would be deployed from both sides. The group of 4-6 scouts (reenactors who have less than three years of experience), objectives include the following:
- Survey the battlefield/enemy encampment
- Drive off enemy scouts if found
- Ascertain information from civilians in the field
If scouts became engaged with rival scouts, they will return fire accordingly as they retreat back to camp. Scouts that were “shot” will be able to rejoin the battalion after the battle has commenced, while the surviving scouts relay the information and then rejoin their units.
Duties of the Federal/Confederate Scouting Party:
- One scout will be responsible for calling out what he/she sees, they will need Civil War era binoculars to do this.
- One scout is responsible to confirm what he/she hears and writes down the details on a notepad.
- All other remaining scouts will be guards who will provide protection for their non-combatant comrades, and cover the rear and subsequent flank of the scouts as they acquire information.
- Upon coming across civilians, the scouts will attempt to bribe or persuade the civilian to give them any information regarding the enemy. The civilians’ job is to either refuse all attempts of coercion, or to succumb to them and divulge details.
This simple addition can provide for far greater enjoyment in the years to come. However there is a time limit for scouting. The scouts will have to work as a team, to gather as much information as they can in a 20 minute time period, before they have to come back to camp. We as a club wish to honor and respect our ancestors who fought in this war, then we should help the younger and older generation leave with a greater sense of awe. Seeing the chaos and confusion of a battle is great, however as we all know the Civil War wasn’t fought like that. Scouts were sent to determine who was where and if their army even stood a chance.
*Author’s Note: This is why I've been absent for so long, and I hope you understand. Next week is finals for me, so I'll do my next post the week after as my last final is online and due on Sunday.*