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Thread: Gettysburg, 1998 - For your viewing pleasure

  1. #11

    Default 135th Memories

    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.

    Mike Lavis
    49th NYVI
    Army of the Ohio

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    North Carolina via Kentucky
    Posts
    262

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    Hi Mike,

    That was the 28th VA from Longstreet's Corps that worked the scenario out with the 1st Minnesota.
    Thanks,

    Terry Shelton
    1st Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, Co E CSA
    1stky.org

  3. #13

    Default 135th Memories

    Thanks, Terry,

    I'll be sure to remember it. Longstreet's will be at the BGA event, so when I go over to the other side, to visit some friends, I'll try to find them and pay my respects.

    Their efforts were in stark contrast to the 130th GB event. The Western Brigade was to be the Vermont Brigade, and change front forward to fire into the flank of Kemper's Brigade. A few months before the event all the officers were given copies of how to preform the manuever, and we studied it carefully. Then on Saturday we went out and drilled it, over and over.
    We were ready and excited about it. But some idiots on the other side decided that what their ancestors had done was not good enough. So they were going to change history, and exhibit their manhood by sweeping us off the field and actually winning that battle. They were going to prove that they were better than the real Kemper's Brigade was. (It didn't work, we got angry and stopped them)

    I only mention it, because 5 years later it was on our minds before the gentlemen from the 28th came into our camp to talk over the scenario. Like I said it was a stark contrast, and an honor to be a part of what was so meaningful for them.

    But scenario breaking and changing history is for another thread.

    Mike Lavis
    49th NYVI
    Army of the Ohio

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Danville, Virginia
    Posts
    49

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    I'll choose quality over quantity any day of the week.
    Gary Elliott
    18th Virginia Infantry
    Company B
    "Danville Grays"

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary E. View Post
    I'll choose quality over quantity any day of the week.
    Though sometimes quality equals quantity in its own way

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,134

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    Can't we even talk about a dang event from almost a decade and a half ago without someone turning it into another boring Us vs Them attack, Elliot?

    WTH
    Yuma gonna luv it

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Augusta, Georgia
    Posts
    497

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    Quantity -v- Quality
    That event had BOTH! I think I met Brandon Jolly and "Dave "Coffee" Palmer that year and saw them again at that event. Two fine, fine reenactors and living historians... they still impress me. This was back when it was still "one hobby". While that had its good and bad points, it certainly helped the turnout in 1998!

    FWIW...
    I'd rather hear about memories of that event, good or bad, than see this thread turn down that tired road of "US-v-Them".
    John Wickett
    Carpetbagger

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    114

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    I agree with John on all that he posted. It was one hobby at that time and the days of the "mega" events where almost everyone in the hobby supported it. People got what they wanted from the event and seem to find a way to get along and not have the us vs them mentality on both sides of the equation.

    And also to John's point.
    A few other memories from this event. This was the last "mega" event I did with what is still favorite horse. He was my first horse and we both broke in to the hobby at the 130th Gettysburg. By this time he was a seasoned horse and performed everything I would ask him to do. Those of us who ride at events know that the enjoyment of mounted reenacting is almost entirely based on the performance of the horse. They can make the weekend perfect or terrible and even sometimes dangerous. Once you find a good one, you certainly know it. He got lymes disease a year or so later and foundered very very bad. The good news is I nursed him back to health and now he is my living history horse at events I don't do as much riding. He still has the heart for it and gets very excited when he sees the other horses, but he just doesn't have the hooves for the stress of hard riding. He never went to another "mega" or hard campaigning event again.

    I also remember being camped up on high ground on the outskirts of the event site. We had a great site with shade for the horses and the best breeze that could be expected for a Gettysburg event. For some unknown reason, my friend and I decided to walk to the trucks for something on Sat. afternoon. We needed something which for the life of me I can't recall, but it needed to be carried back to camp. Because we usually pack our saddles and ride into camp from the parking lot and had been riding the site for a day or so, we forgot how far of a walk it was to the trucks. About half way there, we thought this is too far, but lets keep going. When we started to walk back, we couldn't believe we were dumb enough to go all the way out and then walk back carrying stuff. I got a real appreciation of the infantry guys and all the walking they do at an event and how spoiled I was to be a trooper.
    I am sure others have "the walk to the car" stories from that event cause it was so big.
    Rob

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    40

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    Awww how cute! I was there, then I wasn't and then I was there again. I participated on Friday and Sunday. I had to work a 14 Hour Day in Jefferson MD on Saturday so I woke up at the first bugle at 7AM, humped ALL my stuff out, got in my car, worked 14 hours with some unruly children (I ran a house in a residential treatment facility for middleschool age kids) on next to no sleep, drove all the way back up and played the "stumble through the camps game" at O-Dark 30 looking for my campaigner unit which of course had moved locations during the course of the day. I think I finally put my head down on my knapsack at about 3AM! Was worth it to come back for Pickets Charge! Farbs present or not... the numbers were impressive! Since I was in the 1ST Bat. over the fence, the farbs were all behind me anyway and I coudn't see em. As for farby Yanks.... well you all looked the same to me anyway in your blue suits
    Brad Ireland
    Old Line Mess
    4th Virginia, Company A, Stonewall Brigade
    Calvert Arms Fifes & Drums

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Hoboken, NJ
    Posts
    394

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    If memory serves me correctly this is where for Pickets Charge we did "zones" we all drew lots zones 1-4, prisoner and survivor. The officers yelled the zone and bam men just dropped like flies. Us v. them be darned. When you see hundreds of men drop almost all at once it's eerie and no matter if their jacket was made in Pakistan or Wisconsin it was a sight to see. I drew survivor and walking back over that field of carnage was humbling to say the least. Knowing that, my god the horror the original cast must have witnessed was unparallelled to anything I was currently looking at.
    Brandon English
    Farb

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