Kelly's Ford Reenactment - Remington, VA

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Kelly's Ford
Mar 16-18, 2001

Article by Sgt. Mike Rhyne


We had decided to try something new this year and the 2nd Virginia Cavalry had recommended Kelly's Ford. Little did we know when we decided to attend that it would become a such a challenge. Most of you know that John Stewart, Mike Rhyne and Chris Moose provide a large percent of the lift for our events. Chris, Dirk and Billy are the drivers we use at most every event. A black cloud descended over us the week prior to the event both literally and figuratively! John Stewart had pneumonia, Chris had to work, Mike had an operation on his knee, Dirk had to coach and Billy had an illness in the family. To make bad matters worse it rained much of the week prior to the event and since Kelly's Ford is a crossing over the Rappahannock River, we figured the bottlomland where the reenactment would be held would be very wet. What a great time to cancel out and stay home.

After numerous phone calls we came up with a plan and enough people committed to make it happen. Mike Rhyne took one gun to my house at Colfax, Bill Long, who normally pulls a horse trailer, pulled the gun. By using the bare bones minimum number of horses, Gary Price, who normally pulls the third gun, and I were able to get the right number of horses to field the two teams. Committed gunners arrived in the right numbers and we were able to field a section. Mercifully, the rain held off and the ground had the capability to absorb more moisture than we thought it was capable of.

Confusion reigned at the organizer level and after John Glaze and I had pitched our tents in the area we were told, we were told to move. By Friday evening we had all the equipment we needed on the ground and the personnel to operate it all tucked up next to the Rappanhannock River. Emmanuel May had offered to provide commissary support and Jim Nelson loaned him his equipment, so we ate high on the hog all weekend.

Soccer in Fredericksburg took me away almost all day Saturday and since the bridge over Kelly's Ford was under repair this trip was about 30 minutes longer than it should have been. We were given overall command of the Federal Artillery (total of 4 guns). The artillery combined with about half of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry (galvanized) and an infantry company comprised the total Federal Command. The Confederates had 6 guns and an equal amount of Cavalry, with no infantry. The site was a good one for both the reeanctors and the spectators. The battlefield and surrounding area could have easily support a total of 1000 - 1500 reenactors.

In my absence on Saturday, 1st Sgt. Slifer was promoted to acting Captain in charge of all the guns, leaving Sgt. Lankford and Sgt. Horvath to exercise control over their guns as the Chiefs of the Piece. The section performed flawlessly during the afternoon's hour-long fight. Emmanual fed us well all though Saturday and after supper, we spent a long evening of BSing around the campfire. Since it was John Glaze's last event with us, we all enjoyed his stories one last time. Boy, will he be missed!
As we prepared for the fight on Sunday we hooked a six-up to the Parrott Rifle and pulled it around for some great photos. We then let the young boys who were present drive the team with the assistance of the drivers. This was a grand sight to see and perhaps it was a glimpse of the future. As we rolled out to fight Sunday afternoon the section must have presented an imposing sight, no doubt striking fear into our Confederate foe. We were provided initial pre-employment support by the other guns in the battery as we moved into firing position on the field. The Confederate gunners overshot us as we went into battery and took them under counterbattery fire. Working closely with our infantry and cavalry support we seized control of the field and when the "Gallant Pelham" made the mistake trying to be a cavalryman and not staying with his guns, Corporal Glaze emptied his saddle with an well-aimed shot. I must say the 2nd Virginia trooper who played Major Pelham did an outstanding job of acting and coming off his horse at the canter! This really added a degree of realism to the fight. One of our guns began to retreat by prolong as we prepared to withdraw across Kelly's Ford. The Federal Cavalry left them unprotected for just enough time to allow the Confederate Cavalry to overrun them, but they quickly drove
the Confederates back recapturing the gun and a grateful gun crew. We continued to withdraw providing fire support until the battle ended. We then packed up, said our good-byes, including a special recognition of John and Alys Glaze, and headed home.

The event organizers were extremely happy to have us attend! They would like to make this a fully mounted event in the future, as the battle truly was! I will remember this event as one where the NCOs took charge and were able to function as they did in the Civil War and throughout time! Thanks to everyone who attended and supported this event.

Capt. D.L. Stanley, Cmdg.

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