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Thread: A Private Looks at Wilson's Creek

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    West Tennessee
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    434

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    Quote Originally Posted by huntdaw View Post
    Here's my take on the event.

    I came with the express idea of remembering Missouri State Guard troops - Burbridge's Regiment was who I chose. Nobody ever remembers the State Guard. They weren't Confederate or Federal, they were the Missouri State Army put together to defent Missouri after Lyon had pulled his little act at Camp Jackson in May. Most people think that Missouri wasn't even involved in the war!

    I wanted to do something about that and pay these guys some due that they deserve. I put together a battalion. Many did not show. Some came and did not participate leading me to wonder why they were even there. Some came and made the best of it. Some came and whined about this and that and left. Some came and my patience with them ended. Some bridges were burned this weekend, others were built.

    Yeah, the toilet paper ran out but people managed. The Thursday tactical along sutler row was just asinine but my life doesn't revolve around that. We didn't have firewood delivered. Big deal, we were camping in the woods and there was plenty of deadfall. We never ran short of water on our end - can't vouch for anyone else. The cars in the camps were probably the worst I've seen at an event but hey, nobody should have been looking for reenacting Nirvana at an event like this.

    As a commander, I think the CS command and the brigade commands we were put into for scenarios did their best to make sure we were getting what we expected. I was asked over and over - 'are your boys happy?, are your needs being met?' and special requests to allow us to reach our goal were met with enthusiasm and assistance. I have no complaint whatsoever about the command on our side. They bent over backwards to accomodate us even though we were not the type of unit they were used to working with.

    So, all in all and despite the problems, we did what we came to do. Folks, I got something out of this event and I cannot say that about most mainstream events I have attended for the last decade. I've done this hobby a long time and could care less about another powder burner. I don't care if a round is fired or not. I think the battles are usually stupid and nothing like what they would have been.

    BUT, I felt the excitement in some scenarios. As we went up that hill on Sunday and I saw that hand painted repro of Burbridge's colors in front of us; man I felt something. As those colors went down and were picked up to wave again I felt something. As my men were taking hits, hollering about ammunition getting low, wavering, begging me to let them fall back, I felt something I haven't felt in a long time - the sense of being there. For me the Bloody Hill scenario will be one of the highlights of my reenacting career and I thank my boys for that and the command for giving me the ability to take that position in the ranks and do what we did.

    My thanks go out to my company commanders and the boys who pitched in for the duration to do this thing. I think we accomplished our goals and stood well for Burbridge and his men.
    Well put sir. I listed alot of cons and all, but the bottom line was, I enjoyed myself. Although, now that I've had time to think about it, I should've added the hit I took and where I landed, and the subsequent nickname my guys gave me on Saturday among the "ugly".

    Mr. Comer, I would fall in with you again anytime and follow you into the gates of h*ll if you were so inclined to go.
    John Spain
    4th Tennessee Infantry, C.S.A. / 25th Indiana Infantry, U.S.A.
    Bitter Brothers Mess
    Jeff Davis Independent Guard

    "JWNW"

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Galion, Ohio
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    1,123

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    One big unanswered? How many guys show'd up? I have read so far that the Yanks were out numbered but nobody has offered an actual count.

    I apologize for not attending myself. With it being only 3 weeks after Manassas plus the immense sums of $ already expended on it, our big deal Ohio event the same weekend, our battalion not attending, and the motor home still being stranded in Grantsville Maryland, plus a wife who already feels abandoned after all the above got added together, I just couldn't pull it off. My loss for sure, perhaps not yours!

    Harry
    Member 5th Texas Co. A/1st NC Artillery. Disabled Viet Nam veteran, 1970. I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4UcaLHaabY

  3. #33
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    Mar 2011
    Location
    Huntsville
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    632

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    BUT, I felt the excitement in some scenarios. As we went up that hill on Sunday and I saw that hand painted repro of Burbridge's colors in front of us; man I felt something. As those colors went down and were picked up to wave again I felt something. As my men were taking hits, hollering about ammunition getting low, wavering, begging me to let them fall back, I felt something I haven't felt in a long time - the sense of being there. For me the Bloody Hill scenario will be one of the highlights of my reenacting career and I thank my boys for that and the command for giving me the ability to take that position in the ranks and do what we did.
    Thanks for the post, Michael.

    Steve
    Steve Sheldon

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    I was told by General Way, the overall Confederate commander, that right at 3,000 reenactors were there. And there was a clear force imbalance of Rebs over Yanks, but not one that was crippling to the event.

    Phil McBride

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    228

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    Route Step,

    It was obvious they were cycling your battalions in pretty smoothly. We would just take breathers while they came onto the field. We didn't mind, and for the most part the reb leadership was very stand up about it. We heard a rumor one CSA battalion refused to go into one battle because they wouldn't get enough trigger time. But you know how event gossip goes...

    The Army of the Frontier had two battalions, the Frontier Brigade and the AoP, with each battalion numbering MAYBE 65-75 guys. Our company (24th MO) had 18 guys at the Cornfield on Friday, and when Dom came through the ranks after the Sunday fight I think we had 17. I believe there were at least 2-3 other Federal battalions to round out the division, with the Muddy River Battalion being one of them. Those guys looked pretty sharp for the most part. But I agree throughout the Fed ranks there were horrible impressions and drilling ineptitude abundant. Well, except for the 24th Missouri of course.

    Looked for you guys on the field. Saw Fred Y but couldn't find y'all. Ah well, next time maybe.
    Mike Phineas
    Arlington, TX
    24th Missouri
    Army of the Frontier
    www.24thmissouri.org

    \"The floggings will continue until morale improves...\"

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    181

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    I have mixed feelings about this event. My disappointment was the near disregard for history for the Saturday morning battle. As someone who has put together an accurate 3rd Missouri Lyon's Fahnenwacht impression since the Camp Jackson Affair, I was looking forward to finishing it out. Which means a complete rout of the camped rebel forces by artillery barrage, Sigel marching in, poorly placing his troops, and having them rout completely off the field after one good volley by the rebel forces. Unfortunately, it appears burning powder is more important than history. The battle on Saturday morning was just another stand up fight, with cavalry and artillery on both sides that should not have been there, and federal battalions getting on line and fighting it out. Does this mean that the majority of reenactors would not have fired a shot? Yes, but aren't we here to portray history? For my part, most of my company ran, and I saw a few others, but most did not.

    I was not at the friday battle, so I can not comment on it, but the other battles did not go much better. Both of them ended with the sides about 50 yards apart awkwardly staring at each other. It seemed not to be a deliberate attempt to bust the scenerio, but a complete lack of planning to portray it right in the first place.

    On to the good side, the scope of the battle was impressive. It's been a while since I've seen such large numbers. I give credit to the rebels for taking ample casualties and strewing dead and dieing all over the place, the artillery for packing extra powder, and the several wagons about the battlefield. My unit, Holme's Brigade, had good room for our Sibley tents. Distances between things were good, not too far but not packed together. I came prepared, packed light and experienced no logistical issues. I had fun. I wish they charged less for the spectators, a few of my coworkers didn't attend because of spectator prices, but the crowd was good so I guess they made their money. The beer garden, period photographers, Sutler of Fort Scott, and Lodgewood made Sutler row worth going too.
    Tim Surprenant
    Holmes' Brigade
    Battalion of the Common Soldiers

    Camp Randall Armory
    Maker of Contractor Lockplates for M1861 Rifle-Muskets and NC State Rifles
    www.camprandallarmory.com

  7. #37
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    54

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    "Calarader"
    Posts
    444

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strawfoot View Post
    Wow, reading these posts I'm wondering if I was really at Wilson's Creek... This was basically my first time back in the field since Rich Mountain, almost five years. Hanging till the end, and getting out of there without a swarm of ticks on me was my primary goal. Everything else was gravy. Look, this event was what it was. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see it wasn't going to be an authentic event, so you just gotta make the best of it.

    When I get to an event, the first question out of my mouth is, "where's the water...?" Everything else I just figure out as I go along. I was in the 1st Fed Div at Raymond in 2001. The water situation at that event could've been summed up in one word: dangerous. Wilson's Creek was nowhere near that bad, in fact I was pleasantly suprised with the water situation. They ran out for awhile on Saturday, no big deal. The problem was corrected and we pressed on. So the port-a-johns listed a little. Really?

    Firewood? Never was a problem. Camp site? We were all aware of the lady discovering cancer, and what the organziers were up against. But to tell the truth, they did a commendable job of clearing that area. OK, so we tripped over a few roots. Big deal.

    I showed up and soldiered with one of the best Federal companies west of Iowa in Cal Kinzer's 24th Missouri, and drilled under one of the best drillmasters ever to don a uniform by serving again with Dom dal Bello and his AoP. Learned some new calls listening to the best civil war bugler in the land. I didn't hear any bitching, whining, or complaining from any of my pards in our entire brigade, comprising both the AoP and the Frontier Battalion. It was a bully time, just like old times. A dead whale or a stove boat.

    I guess it's all in your expectations. It's great to be back in the field.
    +1!!! I must agree, over all good event. One way i can tell a good event......brought out a new guy and he had a blast! Formed up w/the AOP and mostly stayed in our hidden camp. Only thing that took us out of the moment was the odd visitors making a short cut to the parking lots. I hope they got as many Chiggers as I did!

    Oh, one more point..........is there really a CW Re-enactor out there that does not hide a small roll of TP in your haversack??? The port-a-johnnies ALWAYS run out!
    "In the heat of battle it ceases to be an idea for which we fight... or a flag. Rather... we fight for the man on our left and we fight for the man on our right... and when armies have scattered and when the empires fall away... all that remains is the memory
    of those precious moments... we spent side by side."

    Paul Bennett

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    228

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    Quote Originally Posted by codymobley View Post
    I also enjoyed when the battle was over, as the Union soldiers were retreating across the bridge the crowd cheered and applauded them.


    This was very cool...
    Mike Phineas
    Arlington, TX
    24th Missouri
    Army of the Frontier
    www.24thmissouri.org

    \"The floggings will continue until morale improves...\"

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    205

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    I like it when Phil's got his blood up. Reminds me of some of what helps him to fit in with the Ground Hornets when he hangs out with us.

    I really had a good time at the event. Most of my thoughts have already been echoed here in one way or another, though it can't be said enough times that the Friday "battles" were nothing better than a monkey ****ing a football. In all my years of reenacting, watching that cannon banging away from BEHIND the spectators was one of the worst things I've ever seen. Then, I noticed that a woman in a red-trimmed skirt was loading it. Several people should be ashamed of that one for multiple reasons.

    The inability to enforce "no cars in camp" until late afternoon on Saturday was ridiculous. Heck, the parking passes in the windshield give the owner's name and unit, so it wouldn't have been hard for the organizers or the various CS command structures to tell the morons to move. It's one thing to endure a tick filled forest for a few days, but it's just that much more difficult to ignore the bunch of lazy idiots using the field right outside your campsite as their own personal parking lot.

    Signing in at the registration tent on Thursday went very quickly, and the staff was friendly and helpful. The Saturday and Sunday battles were handled much better than Friday's. Not a high standard to shoot for there, but they seemed well-run from my very limited perspective. The only complaint would be standing around formed up in the heat and sun, but it's still cooler there than home is these days. We never ran out of water, our porta-potty was sufficiently maintained, and the deadfall we picked up and used as firewood cooked our food just fine. It looks like at least a few others had a different experience with these last items.

    Something I really liked was that we could see who the US regulars were from across the field. That was a nice touch, and some obvious effort went into it. There were also orange-trimmed dragoon jackets present, which was another nice touch.

    There's been mention about the US:CS ratios present at the event. From what I've read, present at the actual battle were 5400 US and 10,125 Southern (CS and state troops). Granted, this isn't the same ratio that would be present at all points of the battlefield at all times of day, but there is some accuracy to the numbers at the reenactment.
    Phil Graf
    Texas Ground Hornets
    "Touch me and I'll sting"

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