Salem Reenactment - VA


Salem Reenactment
May 8-9, 1999

by Cpt. Dave Stanley

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

On Friday morning many of Reilly Battery's members departed their homes for the long drive to Salem, Virginia - specifically, Roanoke County's Green Hill Park.
John Glaze and I left from Springfield, VA promptly at the agreed upon 0700 hour. We traveled to Calverton, VA to get some of the horses that would participate in the reenactment. Three hours latter we had horses loaded and were winging our way south. The day was beautiful and the Shenandoah Valley was alive with spring colors. Within four hours we pulled into Green Hill Park, the exact time that 1Lt Stewart, Mimi and Jason had arrived. Capt. Houser, from the 2nd Virginia Cavalry, escorted us to our camp site along a stream, almost totally hidden from 20th Century-isms. We than began to set up.
Later that evening, Jim Nelson, his wife, and Emmanuel May brought the commissary which we enjoyed all weekend long!

Our commissary personnel

Jim, Emmanuel and Kathy (71KB)
Jim Nelson, Emmanuel Mays and Kathy Nelson
Kathy Nelson (108KB)
Kathy Nelson
Emmanual Mays (51KB)
Emmanual May
First mistake, we had left the picketing equipment with Sgt. Mike Rhyne who we knew would arrive late. John Stewart, John Glaze, Jason Stewart, Mimi, Ed Rhew and I set up our tents and then sat back to wait. As dusk arrived we still were missing the guns. In addition, the sky around us had begun a light show of it's own. Around 2100, John Stewart and I walked back out to the gate then breathed a sigh of relief when we met Mike Rhyne and Chris Moose. We got everyone settled in before the rain began. Alas, many of us slept rather fitfully, missing John Glaze's campfire stories and wondering if the rain would stop.
Resting  (64KB)Saturday, dawned bright and sunny, several other members had arrived during the night so we had both guns and enough men to man them. After a Jim, Kathy and Emmanuel breakfast we began to work. Gunners worked on crew drills after helping  saddle the horses. We conducted a joint mounted drill late in the morning with the 2nd Virginia. If Barney thought I smiled at Colfax, he should have been at Salem. Three teams of horses maneuvered on a huge polo field almost flawlessly. Wheeling, turning, doing left and right abouts, each individual team worked so well as a battery that the cavalry stopped to watch us! 1Lt. Stewart and I both were a bit excited to say the least. The men and horses were great.

picketline (73KB)
Picket line

Chow Line (77KB)

Packing Blanks Rounds (50KB) Packing Blanks (57KB)
Preparing blank rounds



Grazing (72KB) Clipping hoof (96KB)  Saddling (78KB)
Preparing to ride



Chris and Mike resting (48KB) Gary (66KB) Milton (64KB)
Resting at the camp site

Guidon (67KB)We returned to camp to find that Sgt Rhyne and Cpl Brandt had put the gun crews through their paces. They were ready to go. The commissary provided another great meal and we were off to fight the Battle of Kelly's Ford. We lined up and moved out. We crossed a ford on a creek and went into line. What a sight, moving 3 guns by horse across the polo field to our deployment area. The 20th Century disappeared when we moved into the woods, still in line, to wait the beginning of the battle. Truth is, the battle was hokey... and this is being kind. We looked great as we moved out onto the field and  into our firing positions. We had stayed in a line and by doing a "Left Flank March" moved toward the enemy. We unlimbered and the 2nd Virginia and our old team (Ed Rhew and Chris Moose) stayed behind the guns while the young team moved off to the side with their riders (Bill Long and John Glaze). We fired by battery, by piece and individually until the Yanks got lucky and shot Major Pelham. The battle ended when his body was evacuated from the battlefield. Just a note: the horse drawn guns were equal to the non-horsedrawn guns in number - 3 horse drawn guns and 3 ornaments.

  Prep (60KB) Prep (43KB) Prep (56KB) Tom and Bill (64KB)



Prep (56KB) Ed (51KB) Firing (24KB) Firing (47KB)

After a dinner of steak and peach cobbler, 1Lt Stewart, Mimi, and Jason Stewart went the dance. One of our horse teams and a gun packed up and departed that evening. Joyce Stanley and our daughter, Lindsey, arrived that evening as did Billy Horne. A highlight of the evening was swapping lies with the 2nd Virginia and sipping something stronger than water.
Bill Horne (65KB)Sunday was also sunny and clear when we awoke. The commissary served us our last meal and packed up. We reassigned men to the gun and saddled the horses. Much of the morning was consumed by packing up and getting ready to leave after the battle ended. We planned the battle sequence of events to include fighting a delaying action at the ford.
John and Powder Monkies (68KB)Our gun, along with the 2nd Virginia's gun, opened fire on the advancing Confederates (yes, we wore blue the second day) to open the battle. Our fire was so intense we halted their advance long enough for the supply wagons, infantry and cavalry to escape safely - no doubt they all whispered a prayer of thanks to St. Barbara as they crossed the creek. We crossed the ford and redeployed to contest its crossing. Many of the men were distracted by what appeared to be a convention of red birds or robin red breast in the trees to our front. The distraction turned to laughter when we realized it was the confederate artillery in their Sunday best!? We were pushed back to a third position where the 2nd Virginia's gun was captured. We narrowly escaped. We rolled into our last position where we had trouble with a "hung round." The battle was soon over and although it was again hokey,  we had performed well. We crossed the ford for one last time and pulled the gun out to the parking lot. We unhooked and unsaddled horses, loaded the gun and horses, and pulled out of the parking lot promptly at 1500.

Mike, Dave and John (72KB) Cannoneers (43KB) Moving (34KB) Setting up (38KB)

This was another great training weekend, men and horses performed the best they have to date. A very special thanks to our commissary and ladies, their support continues to be outstanding.
Lindsey Stanley (109KB)
Lindsey Stanley
Mimi and Joyce (60KB)
Mimi Stewart and Joyce Stanley
Danyel Moose (71KB)
Danyel Moose

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