Why I took my grandson to 150th Shiloh
My eldest grandson is now 16. I started taking him to reenactments when, as he described himself" was an irresponsible 14 year old boy. His first Confederate uniform was a mixture of sutler row gear and a fine jacket I had made for him by Andrew Kasmar. Since he was a large 14 year old he was able to handle a musket well and he was bright enough to quickly learn the manual of arms and battalion evolutions.
Along with the small local battles he was able to participate in many of our battalion events here in Indiana and many times carrying the colors. Right off the bat he insisted on sleeping on the ground in a dog tent and was gaining a growing appreciation for "grandpa's authentic uniforms and defarbed musket". And then he began reading soldier accounts on his own and at times hits me up with barrages of questions that sends me back to the books.
Having done a few of the national events myself I always told him that if he ever was able to join me on the battlefield at a national event all other events, including battalion events, would be pale in comparision. Of course he saw photos of the nationals I went to but I cautioned him that photos just do not, and cannot, capture the scope, the spectical, the awe, and the sounds of thousands on the battlefield.
And so he turned 16 this year and I took him to the 150th Shiloh. We formed the company and in the battalion we were the color company, We were in Huckabee's Division, Third Battalion, and Third Company. We marched in behind the 47 cannons which began their cannonade and when finished our battalion did the by right of companies to the front between the cannons.
The photo attached was taken by the Surgeon in our company, Joel Pond of the 2nd Virginia from Wisconson. The last four national events I attended the 2nd Virginia consolodated into the company I captain, the 50th Virginia.
As we passed through the cannons and crested the hill that was the first sight my grandson saw. And his reply was "Grandpa, you were right. Nothing can compare with a sight like this!". It appears that the Yanks in the photo were the 15th and 6th Ohio boys. He noted on how fluent they moved on the field of battle and even from a distance he could see they took their impressions quite seriously. And the sight of those boys took his aim quite a bit higher towards the "I want to learn to portray a more authentic impression".
A photo is worth more than a thousand words, but the subject matter is by far more important. What you did, and how you did it, can make all of the difference in the world educating the public - and someone's grandson.
Jas. T. Lemon
Captain, 50th Va. Co. D