Thanks for posting these pics. The 135th anniversary event was something special.
I had the honor to be serving as the Lt Colonel of the Western Brigade for that event.
We had almost 500 men in our one battalion alone. We had 12 companies. After arriving on Wednesday, I was exhausted by Saturday morning. Chris Ableson, the colonel, assigned an EMT to me for the rest of the weekend, with the orders to "Keep him alive". His name is Will Ott, and Col. Dave I think he is still with you on your staff. Sunday morning his home unit gave him a walking stick, bcause they felt sorry for him, having to chase me around all day Saturday. 500 men is a very large regiment.
The Culps Hill fight was my #1 all time favorite and best battle until the MMM Cornfield this year. We held the right center of the line, behind the breastworks, that we spent a couple of hours improving. The rebs came after us, wave after wave, I lost count of the number. Their "casualities" covered the ground in our front. Afterwards our men cheered the rebs, and went over the wall to greet and thank them for such a great fight.
On Friday, during the McPherson's Ridge scenario, Col. Ableson went down with the heat. I had just called the company commanders together to plan what we were to do next, when a messinger arrived from the brigade commander, Chuck Warnick, ordering us to retreat in disorder. My comment was that we can accomplish that with no problem at all. And we did..........
Our wings became seperated during the Wheatfield, and my wing, the right one, was getting pressed on three sides. I thought that the colonel was with the left wing somewhere behind us. So I ordered the color company to take the colors to the rear and find the colonel for a rallying point. As I was adjusting my liine, I looked out, and saw the Colonel, Adjutant, Sgt Major, Surgeon, and QM. walking towards us, from the front. Somehow they had lost the entire regiment. I still don't know exactly what the color company ended up doing.
Pickett's Charge, on Sunday was everything that every one has said it was. The size and scope was astounding to say the least. There was on CSA regiment, whose colonel was killed during that charge, and whose colors were taken by the 1st Minnesota. The reenacting unit, representing them had actual descendents in their ranks. ( I forget which one it was, but I am pretty sure they were a part of Kemper's Brigade). They came to our camp Sat night, to coordinate with us how we would play ot the scenario, and the capturing of their flag.
I still give them all the respect in the world, they were not interested in rewriting history, or trying to prove anything. All they wanted to do was to get it right, in honor of their ancestors.
After a bit of confusion, and assistance from the Cumberland Guard on our right, they got opposite us, and made their charge. They took their assigned casualities. The survivors got up to the wall, where their colonel "died" in the arms of his men, with the color bearers of the 1st MN holding both US and CS sets of colors standing over them. I had been on the far right of our line, and crossed the wall to get down to where they were. To witness that scene, honestly brought tears to my eyes, and while I had a pocket camera in my haversack, I didn't want to ruin their moment by pulling it out. So I simply saluted them, and their ancestors, and quietly walked away.
That moment left an deep impression on me. I saw firsthand the impact of having history first at events, and getting it as right as we possibly can. Not just to honor the menory and sacrifice of those who did for real what we just pretend to do, but for ourselves as well.
Since then I have not been satisfied with anything less, and I am looking forward to getting on that same ground next June. The hobby no longer has those numbers, but the ground is close to the original battlefield in appearance. And I know the hearts and vision of the organizers, and they will do all they can to "get it right". If that were not the case, I would not be attending any Gettysburg reenactment next year.
Army of the Ohio