In spite of reservations based on low Federal particpation at Brice's Crossroads a few years back, I attended the Vicksburg/Raymond reenactment. The weather was superb, there were no insects, registration was efficient, water was plentiful and the site was "sacred soil," which next year will become a National Park. The Federal camp was quite a distance from the sutlers however, and I never did see the Confederate camp!
The brass was General Crowder versus General King, both veteran commanders.
The artillery were superbly handled, there was horse-drawn artillery, and quality buglers on both sides, but only the Federals had field music of the first-rate fife and drums of the 7th Missouri U.S.
The first scenario was the Battle of Raymond in which the Federal forces were augmented by galvinizing Confederates. The battle lasted a long time with much advancing and falling back and the Confederate battle lines looked splendidly historic in butternut and gray. The only down side was the dismounted cavalry which to us privates opposing them seemed to reenforce the stereotype of being annoyingly non-military in deportment.
Most of us thought this was an acceptable scenario but looked forward to Sunday for the assault on the Texas lunette.
The second scenario was the Battle of Champion's Hill. Most of us privates disliked this one because it seemed totally out of the spectator's view and we felt our efforts were in vain. On the positive side, the Confederate casualties were amazing to see: the battlefield was literally covered with rebel dead and wounded, the likes of which I've never seen before. Quite impressive!
The much-awaited third scenario was the Federal assault on the 2nd Texas Lunette of Vicksburg which had been dug and constructed just for this event. We Federal privates agreed this was the most historically serious of the scenarios as General Crowder's mounted aide had removed his sunglasses. The Lunette looked forbidding and the Confederates waved their Texas flags from the works and taunted us with bugle calls and jeers. Following a massive artillery bombardment viewed by General Grant and his staff, the Federal infantry advanced with colors flying and field music urging us on.
It seemed only a volley or two was fired and the Federal line gave a loud manly cry and surged forward towards the works. A storm of smoke and fire erupted from the Rebel garrison and it was over like that with the glacis covered with Federal dead and wounded.
Following the scenario there was much fraternization amongst the former adversaries and backs were slapped and hands shaken.
What does a private make out from all this? A pretty dandy event in spite of everything and ending on a high note.
As we all know, the Father of Waters flows unvexed to the sea.
all for the old flag,