(If you didn't know...we went to the Skirmish at Chipco Crossing in period dress, staying with the 1st Florida Reserves and Civilians, in order for me to get reenactment footage for my Cow Cavalry documentary.)
We headed off to D. C. (not the District of Columbia, by the way), Friday morning. We had to stop three times and adjust the tarp over our load in the back of the pick-up truck...my knowledge of the horse-knot (aka the Bolin knot) came in handy. Around two hours later, we arrived at the museum where the reenactment was going to take place and set up camp--after we introduced ourselves to Mr. K (I like this man a lot). About the time we got finished, the L family showed up. One of their seven children had told me about the reenactment and invited us to come up...the L family: Mr. and Mrs., Samantha, Erica (the young lady above mentioned), Eldon (I think that's how he said it's spelled), Dana (a pretty girl), Thomas, Micah (a hoot!), and Philip. I had the strange feeling I'd seen this family someplace before. More people trickled in as the afternoon wore on...the S family: Mr. S, Rachel, Charley, Chris, and Katie. Even though we didn't talk much, I felt an immediate liking for "the other Rachel" and it seemed to be mutual. Whenever our eyes would meet we'd both smile--one of those 'clicks'. I also seemed to click with Charley and Katie pretty well. There was another family whom I can't remember their name, but they had four adorable kids and another one on the way: the kids were Mariah (the only girl), Noah (reminded me kind of another kid I knew 'way back when' :D), Josiah (buds with the younger L boys), and Gideon--he was cute as a button.
After the L's had been there a while (I gave them time to get mostly set up), I wandered over and, being myself, said something like, "I presume you're the L's?" Erica, being my contact (after a fashion), had to put up with me running my mouth at 90 miles an hour. That evening we played Rummicube (I'd never played it before). First it was just me and Erica, then Chris joined in...then Eldon, then Erica got out and Charley took her place, and then Chris quit and Rachel took his place. I was getting help from a girl named Amanda (reminded me quite a bit of one of my aunts) and later on from Eldon as the night got later and we were trying to wrap the game up. I forget who won.
We all headed for bed about 9-ish. It was already dark so no use staying up and getting eaten up anymore by misquitoes. (Next day, Mr. L noted that he'd accidently opened the flap of his and the younger boy's tent, instead of the 'curtain'...Micah commented about it this afternoon, too. They had skeeter's all night because of it.) I slept horrible Friday night (though I probably slept more than I thought I did), what with going to bed earlier than usual, the harder than usual sleeping quarters, and the TRAINS...they had to be going by about every 15 minutes! I'd be just about ready to drop off and here'd come another one!! (I can laugh about it now :}) There was one in particular that we were all talking about the next day. Eldon said he looked at the time when it went by--about 10:30. This particular train must have been traveling super fast because it shook the ground worse than the others did and was louder. I got a flight response to it--which is rather weird--but I was literally ready to jump up and get out of there! My common sense held me in place and I just laid there tense. It's rather awkward to get scared (I wasn't really scared--I mean not intellectually--but physically I was; if that makes any sense) by something that one knows cannot hurt them--however, apparently I wasn't the only one to get that feeling.
Saturday morning, after dressing and breakfast (I really didn't eat too much this weekend; I blamed it on the corset, but Savannah is probably right that I was just too excited to get hungry :D), I wandered around trying to determine if the schedule was correct in noting that 9:00 was going to be a presentation of the colors in both the Confederate and Federal camps. First I talked to Mr. K--no, his group (who we were with) weren't going to do it, so he sent me down to talk to "Mr. Scotty" in the Confederate camp. No, they weren't going to do it either. So, I headed to the Yankee camp. On the way, with Savannah, we bumped into whom I think was the 2nd in command down there and asked him. No, the Federals weren't going to do it either! Oh well....
I went back to the encampment (most, if not all of the 1st FL R&C's camp 'modern' in tents and trailers--at least at this event) and the boys were messing around with their rifles. I managed to get my hands on one...a reproduction Enfield (I forget the year--a 50-something probably). I shouldered it and of course it was too big for me (probably that's why it was Eldon's--being one of the biggest boy's; he's taller than I am and has big hands--and skinny. :D) Someplace along here it was discovered that the rifle Charley was supposed to use was fouled up pretty bad. They needed to clean it (obviously), but to do so they needed to boil some water. I offered the use of our propane stove; which offer was accepted. I sat on the tailgate of the pick-up holding a rifle while I watched Eldon clean the dirty gun. First he poured boiling water down the barrel. The water coming out the 'nipple' where the priming cap goes was gray. After it cleared up, he took a chunk of paper towl (admittedly cloth would have worked better) and put it through the end of the ram rod (like a modern cleaning rod it has a channel through it--something I didn't know). He swabbed the barrel several times with paper towel and poured some more water down it. Apparently, when the ram rod bounces just right, they know the weapon is clean. I found the whole process quite interesting. We all talked about something while the cleaning was going on, but I don't remember what it was.
At 10:30, a UDC group put on a fashion show...Miss Jeanie (I believe she and her husband are affliated with the 1st Florida Reserves and Civilians) was really the most period correct of the ladies. I was shocked at the lack of petticoats and corsets. The men were more amusing to watch than the ladies...there was the planter gentleman who twirled his cane the whole time and young Mr. Thomas C. in his Tennessee butternut uniform. He's got a fine, sharp black hat bespeckled with mud (most likely on purpose). He also has a clean black hat...but he only wore that to the dance. (Both hats worn at a cocky angle; Savannah's probably right that he's stood in front of the mirror to get it right :D )
At the close of the fashion show, two gents with their horses walked in. One was portraying a rider from Gen. Braxton Bragg (there was a slight jab taken at said general by said man--so slight that people less familiar with Bragg--and I don't claim to be an expert--might not have caught it). The other man called himself "Joe Cracker" and he explained the nature of a Florida Cracker's get up. He called western saddles "Hope" saddles. I'll leave it to your imagination to fill in the details. ;)
All along this time I was reading a paper that Mr. K had loaned me; he said I couldn't keep it because he hadn't been able to find the link again! :D I finished reading it while listening to him and Mr. 'Cracker' and a few other gents talk. Savannah and I talked to Mr. 'Cracker' some too. I also had several good--not necessarily on topic (aka Cow Cavalry)--conversations with Mr. K.
I didn't attend the noon officer's call (where they planned out the battle) either Saturday or Sunday (today), but I did talk to Mr. K about it. Saturday I filmmed from by the Federal camp, but today I filmmed from the top of the hill on the Confederate side. I got a great shot of the 1st Florida R&C's coming along by the moonshine still. If I had only been a spectator rather than filming, I think I would have been quite tempted to let out a 'go-get-em!' kind of yell. As is, I had to keep a lid on emotions and focus on framing. I look forward to looking at my footage, but I really need to finish editing the SCV Cross Dedication ceremony, so I may wait awhile. (Besides, I will have to make room on my hard-drive--again!) Among some others of what I think are going to be great shots, was the Confederate cannon (right down the bore!), Charley being dead (he's just a kid so it's particularly touching), Johnathan with his flintlock next to the old man with the flour sack hat, Mr. Doug limping away, Mr. L and Eldon running away (they came back)....I really think today's footage was better than yesterday's, but I like the fact that I got front and back footage of either side.
Saturday evening, before the pop luck supper this group does, I helped Mr. L, Thomas, and Erica roll cartridges. Technically, I suppose the cartridges were already rolled (I think Thomas said he and Eldon and rolled them), but Mr. L was measuring out the black powder while Thomas held the paper tubes (one end being securely twisted). Thomas then handed the tubes with powder in them to either his sister or I. I got the hang of it pretty quick and enjoyed folding and tucking the ends. Erica and I got confused a couple times over how many cartridges were in the plastic bag on her lap. I think we did 100...
7:30 Saturday night brought the highlight: the dance!! Mr. K had asked me to take some shots for him so he could make trailers out of them, so I sat out the Grand March and a waltz (or two) and a polka (or two). He is part of a band called "7 lb.s of Bacon Mess Band". They are great! :D
Away, the caller, the fathers, and the "Yankee in the highland pants" made sure that no girls had to dance with girls. I REALLY liked that. We did the Virginia Reel several times--once I danced it with Thomas L, another time with Eldon...There was the Snowball Reel (it starts like the Virginia Reel, then devolves into a continual 'strip the willow' until you get back to the top, then you break off into a polka); I danced that with the "Jimmy Palmer" look alike from the Federal camp. (If you don't know who Jimmy Palmer is, he's a character off NCIS...) Eldon attempted to teach both Savannah and I how to waltz. "It's always the outside foot..." Now, let's see if I can remember that... :D I danced a polka with one of the youngest Federal boys...he didn't know what he was doing anymore than I did--so we bounced around together bumping into other people and laughing the whole time. He asked me how long I'd been reenacting (um...never...this is my first time) and told me this was his fourth and "obviously, I haven't picked up on the dancing yet!" We did the Patty Cake Polka; I started that one with "Jimmy Palmer" (it's a mixer) and ended it with him. I really like they way they did that one--starting out slow and speeding it up til it got almost too fast! It was SO MUCH FUN!! I danced the Cumberland Reel with Micah L (10)--he'd gotten me figured out earlier in the day, so he (he calls himself the "clown of the family") just walked up to me with a stinkery grin on his face, left hand tucked behind his back, and just floped that right one out to me. He said nothing--didn't have to0. I laughed and took the proffered hand. At one point, Savannah and I were talking to Eldon, and he told us that if there was any particular dance we'd like to do, to talk to the band and the caller (Mr. Doug). The next break, I was standing over by my camera (getting a drink), and I saw Eldon heading for the bandstand. He looked at me and gave me a signal to "come over here". By the time I reached them, he was already talking to the band about the dance we girls had mentioned--the Gay Gordon. Mr. Doug wanted to know how it was done, so I 'borrowed' Eldon (I don't think he minded), and walked through it (teaching Eldon at the same time). Soon the whole room was walking through it, then the band started playing and it picked up some. Anyway, once we were done, I asked Eldon what he thought of it and he said he really liked it and it was a new favorite. I have to agree...the Gay Gordon and the Virginia Reel are my favorites! There was the Broom Dance--kind of like musical chairs with a broom--or in this case a mop with a face drawn on it (different from what my family knows as the Broom Dance). We also did the "Hat Dance"--more what we know as the Broom Dance. I'm sure there were other dances, but I can't remember them right now. I danced with "Yankee's" and Confederates, short and tall, thin and thick, and only once with Savannah (well twice, but we got broke up. :D ) The highlights of the dance for me were Micah's little hand flopping out there in front of me, dancing the Gay Gordon, and just laughing and dancing til my feet were worn out :D (Sounds like the whole thing, doesn't it?)
*Disclaimer: dances mentioned above were not necessarily danced in said order... :D
Saturday night I think everyone slept better. There weren't as many trains and we were all tired from the dancing. However, sometime around three in the morning the whole camp was waken by blaring hip-hop. It sounded like there was a car parked on the road right there...I wondered if it was a black person protesting the Confederates. When I mentioned it this morning to Mr. L, he said he had the same thought, though it didn't turn out that way at all. After awhile he called the police and two minutes later, Mr. S called the police (they compared phone records :D). Mr. D (who also preached this morning--exhorted might actually be a better term; but I'll get to that) walked down the hill to find out who was being so distruptive and found out that the people with that horrible racket were actually across the road, on the other side of the rail roal tracks! (Probably between 1/2 and 1 mile away.) Anyway, I think everyone went back to sleep and slept pretty well after the racket quit.
This morning at 10 we had church. We did some singing...thankfully, the lead singers were Mr. K and Mr. Craig (with their guitar and mandolin--respectively), so I didn't have to strain my voice. I think I ended up harmonizing. At one point, Erica (who was sitting next to me) made some mention about something "it's too high!" Which I can certainly understand; which is why I've figured out how to harmonize. Mr. D (excuse me, Rev D. ;] ), while certainly of a more Arminian stripe than ourselves, exhorted us to "get in alignment with God's Word". He used his own self as an example of how rebelling and not seeking God's glory (my words, not his) cause us great heartache. As Savannah said, "It was edifying..." It was, even though it wasn't what I am used to sermon-wise. We also took communion; Rev. D made mention that they (being his church I suppose) take it every week (like us!).
After church, Mr. Bret asked if we'd take his family's picture (the family with the four adorable kids mentioned earlier)--so Savannah did and then he took our picture for us. They are a really nice family. I danced with him a couple times last night. I'll say right here and now that the 1st Florida Reserves and Civilians is a great group of people...I look forward to seeing at least some of them again at Brooksville! (Mr. K told us to come stay with them, since they'll be there...) I asked Erica if they were going and she said she didn't know--"But I know which way I'll put my vote." (In favor.) Samantha agreed with her on that. :)
The battle took place at two and went off great. While on Saturday the Federals won, the Confederates took the field with glory today. Before they got started though, while I was still setting up, I got a surprise visit. I looked up to see Thomas C. coming up the hill. He reached the fence, put an elbow on it and started talking. I find him somewhat hard to understand because he talks fast, has a slight lisp, and his accent it a bit different than what I'm used to around here. Anyway, he wanted to tell me that he and one of his buddies have a group: the Liberty Guards Mess (I have to go to the website soon). Anyway, they do Cow Cavalry stuff. (As a side note, it's fasinating to watch that young fellow on the field--he carries himself like he knows what he's doing--very serious like.) He told me that he'd write the information down after the battle and give it to me. Well, he forgot. So, I put on my business woman hat (I had on my cowboy hat by now as the camps where closed and the public was gone :D), and chased him down. Not literally...he was helping take down a booth when I walked up with my pad of paper. I think he was slightly flustered because he had forgotten, but he wrote down his name and telephone number, then went off to talk to his mom about his brother's number (up until that point I didn't realize his mother was there--most of the time I saw him he was with Mr. K). When he came back, I got him to write down the name of his group. (Since I had really yet been unable to understand what he said!) I also gave him my last business card. Very polite young fellow...I'm not used to being addressed as ma'am--particularly by a fellow someplace within my age bracket. (I'd guess he's somewheres between 17 and early 20's...I'm a terrible one for guessing ages.)
We said good-bye to folks shortly after that and headed home. I gave girls hugs and shook boy's hands. Charley, Eldon, and Micah weren't too hesitant to shake hands, Thomas was, because his hand was dirty (they were cleaning guns), but I told him "don't worry about it". I also had to tell Johnathan not to bother about it, "I like gun oil!" I made sure to say good-bye to Mr. L (he was really nice and made sure we felt at home), Mr. Bret (because I liked him; he has a beautiful family), Mr. S, and Mr. Doug. Philip wouldn't shake my hand...I asked him if he were bashful, and he said "yes", but I didn't believe it. :D So I satisfied myself by messing with his kepi. It was great to see a bunch of little boys out there in minature Confederate uniforms....they were so handsome. :D
I had a thrilling, "Ye-haw" of a time :D Still, it was kind of nice to come home and actually take a shower...my head was really beginning to need it. I'm hooked....I want to keep attending reenactments--particularly with this group. Christian, primarily homeschooled...fun :)
I promise I will post some pictures soon--but it's too late tonight.