Manassas Living History - Manassas, VA


Manassas Living History
Oct 14-15, 2000

 Article by 1st Slifer

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Absolutely Beautiful…

These are the only words that come close to being adequate in describing landscape of the battlefield and the weather with which we were blessed to enjoy it. Although our numbers were small, we displayed for an appreciative public and an equally grateful National Park Service Staff a full, one-gun detachment, i.e. a horse-drawn gun AND a horse-drawn caisson. Horse-drawn, that was the theme throughout our presentations since it is that very special presence that makes us somewhat unique in reenacting and, in your humble 1st Sgt.'s opinion, forms a strong bond of kinship for us all with those we attempt to portray from so many years ago. Each presentation was opened by our young ladies, Misses Leah Stanley, Torie Long, Anna Frye and a friend of Leah's, Myra Perez taking turns driving the Marathon Cart with Pvt. Flirt in harness across the large pasture to the front of the audience. Captain Stanley put the scene in perspective for his listeners by reminding them that 140 years ago there were, essentially, only two modes of common transportation (widespread use of trains was still in its infancy)…foot or horse. This was followed by an explanation of the sidesaddle, during which Pvt. Flirt jumped into a nearby telephone booth to emerge saddled and bearing both Cpl. Ed Rhew and our colors…well maybe there wasn't a phone booth, but the result was the same. This provided the perfect segue' into the artillery demonstration. There were some frustrating moments for Cpl. Moose with the new wheelers, Bud and Billy (the horse not Horne), but the weekend turned out to a good training time for man and beast.

For those of you who were not able to attend, a little history lesson is in order…not only from "the Late Unpleasantness" but some recent history too! Both of the parent batteries we portray were engaged at BOTH battles at Manassas. We were able to take some time to tour and see where OUR guys were! The first battle was when a generous foe provided the 1st NC Artillery with its first guns! If you've never been to the site, I encourage you to do so. In the visitor's center, the NPS has a continuous video demonstrating artillery (Federal) maneuvering and loading. The alert observer can catch a glimpse or so of some of our own guys, most notably Sgt. Rhyne (hand bandaged to conceal the Confederate Battle Flag tattoo on the back of his hand). This is testimony of one our appearances on the silver screen…well, Ok, so it ain't silver and its pretty danged small, at least we got to be in it and get paid to boot! I'm sure that any of us who attended would be happy to sell…er…give you an autograph.

All in all, this was a great weekend. The campsite had permanent posts for the picket rope, a watering trough, and a gate that made one HUGE fenced in pasture. Other than Pvt. Flirt and Recruit Surprise deciding to take their own private battlefield tour on Saturday afternoon, the horses were well behaved as were most of the soldiers. Captain Stanley had some serious words with Pvt. Flirt about having set a less than positive example for new recruits. It should be noted that each morning we saw no fewer than 15 deer. One evening a six-point buck tried to stow away in Billy Horne's truck. That Billy sure does have a way with animals…hmmm.


Our campsite was beautiful, with ample room to maneuver a unit as large as General Stepp's infantry Division at Chancellorsville. I-66 was a constant reminder that our National Parks are always at great risk. This land is located about 20 miles from downtown D.C. and would be prime pickings for housing or industry. The park staff is ever vigilant to encroachment from the outside.

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