Appomattox Living History - VA

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Appomattox Living History
May 28-30, 1999

by Cpt. Dave Stanley

Click on a photo for a larger & clearer view..


Camp Site (42KB)As I eased the gearshift into park and ended the 354-mile round trip journey, I did so with extreme satisfaction and pride. In 1994 Appomattox Court House was the birthplace of the 10th North Carolina State Troops. We trained on a borrowed gun and had two horses and enough harness for one wheel team. Lee Garner took a list of names of all that attended training, which I still have in our scrapbook, and we muddled through gun training and hooking horses. Now, five years later we arrived with 3 guns, 2 limbers, harness and saddles for our 13 horses, and 24 officers, NCOs and Privates! Five wives and girlfriends were there providing their much need support to our operations. It was good to have a new potential recruit, Terry Helms, with us.
On the move (57KB)Joe Slifer was the first to arrive on Thursday, followed by the rest of the mob at various times on Friday. We were scheduled to conduct a living history and firing on Friday afternoon and we pulled that off with the exception of one small detail. While maneuvering toward the field we managed to "bump" a retaining wall that supported a culvert running under the road. Three bricks were knocked loose and the wall had a more "used" look when we passed over it for the remainder of the weekend. We maneuvered onto the field and demonstrated Civil War Artillery at its finest for the gathered crowd.
Camp Site (66KB)The remainder of Friday was occupied with setting up tents, making ourselves comfortable, and helping arriving members unload and setup their tents. One highlight of Friday's activities was the BULL. It seems a bull that was guarding his herd of 6 cows had chased the cavalry horses that were placed in the pasture. We took Casey and Little Joe into the pasture to determine how serious the bull "threat" was, only after a quick lesson from Sgt. Jim Lankford on bull etiquette. We also secured his promise to act as a clown if we needed to be rescued, I'm still wondering if that would have occurred. As Casey advanced, the bull retreated and the same thing occurred when Little Joe went up to him. The evening ended with 13 horses occupying most of the pasture, the bull being removed and the cows all watching as the horses ate their food. Does this mean that artillery horses are superior to cavalry horses? Friday night we went downtown and invaded one of the local restaurants and enjoyed visiting with each other as we took over the place. Many of us enjoyed visiting the porcelain throne for one last time, before we began to rough it in the field. We passed a quiet evening under the stars and with the landscape basking in the full moon glow.

Roger and Ed (58KB)  Saddling (54KB)  Camp Site (60KB)  Camp Site (61KB)

Cannons (46KB)As morning dawned on Saturday you could really enjoy the atmosphere of being in a Civil War community that looked almost identical to the way it looked 135 years ago. We hooked our first team and prepared to greet the infantrymen that were completing a 17-mile march over the same route followed by Lee's retreating army. After missing them by only minutes we went on a 1 1/2-mile trip on the old stagecoach road that went through town. We hooked the second team and gave an artillery demonstration with the section promptly at 9:30 a.m.. The new team stood much closer to the trail of the gun and never flinched when the guns fired. Acting Corporals Brandt and Hayer did a great job with their crews and gained valuable experience working as part of a section. We came off the field and did the first of many "section wheels." This maneuver was performed over and over during the weekend and at the proper interval. We provided a second demonstration at 3:30 p.m. The units added yet another maneuver to our demonstration, when we retreated by prolong! We did not fire, but the horses did so well with Ed, Billy, Chris and John (Glaze) driving. Jason Stewart and Jeff Sigmon both carried the guidon while riding which is another step toward perfecting our impression. When we wheeled off the field we trotted up a short hill and wheel again, and again until we stopped, what a great performance by everyone.

Saddling (33KB)   Saddling (45KB)  Demo Firing (56KB)   Team 2 on the move (52KB)

Camp Site (60KB)As the evening approached we sat under the "double fly" porch or under the shade of our single tree and talked about the day's successes. We all headed our separate directions for supper and before John Stewart and I returned we had offered a toast in memory of Chris Treants and what he had meant to us personally and our organization. Saturday evening's full moon again provided a haunting backdrop to the little town's quietness. Just an editorial note, this is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been!

Jim and Mike Lankford (51KB)   Camp Site (59KB)  Cannons (65KB)  Ladies (53KB)

Sunday morning's sunrise was beautiful! I quietly got up and went to the courthouse to watch the horses (still controlling the cows) and our respective camps as they began to stir to life. This quiet time allowed me a moment to reflect on what had occurred at this little hamlet in the spring of 1865 and its implications on this nation.
Memorial (80KB)After a quick breakfast we began to prepare both teams to take part in a memorial service at the North Carolina Monument. This was truly a team effort as I watched each of the gun crews assist their drivers in saddling. We met the infantry at the road junction west of town and continued our march to the monument. The drivers maneuvered into place around the monument and the ladies, then waited for the infantry and field music's arrival. We had a very brief, but meaningful memorial service for all the North Carolinian's who were involved in the war. Our flag was laid on the memorial along with the infantry flags that represent the Carolina Legion. After wreaths were laid, words were spoken and ranks were broken for men to have individual time, we reformed and returned to camp. Our first demonstration was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and we secured permission from Jimmy Blankenship (National Park Service Black Powder Specialist) to fire while retreating by prolong. The young team did very well which allowed us to incorporate it into our demonstration. Additionally, Danyel Moose rode Contessa with a sidesaddle and riding habit to help demonstrate to folks how important horses were in the 1860s as an introduction to our afternoon talk.

26th Marching (60KB)  To Memorial (51KB)  To Memorial (57KB)  To Memorial (46KB)

Reillys Bty saluting 26th (77KB)  A word from Col. Stepp (71KB)  In their memory (73KB)   SBS (75KB)

26th Demo (69KB)Our 2:15 p.m. presentation was a joint one with the infantry. We fired, retreated by prolong and fired again. The infantry deployed and fired and we ended by firing a Legion volley. The drivers picked up the guns and we wheeled one more time as we left the field. Men and women quickly got their vehicles and we broke down and headed home. I think all of us were weary at that point, but very, very content in a job well done!26th Firing (60KB)
Thanks to Lt. Stewart and all his helpers for keeping water and Gatorade in the coolers all weekend. No summary would be complete without thanking each and everyone for their attendance. Attendance is vital to make what we do successful! It is because of each of you that this hobby is fun for me!
Ladies (58KB)
Danyel, Lindsey, Amy   
Mrs. Horne (35KB)
Mrs. Horne
Mrs. Horvath (30KB)
Mrs. Horvath

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