I finally made to a reenactment. I’ve been living in Virginia for 25 years, promising myself every year that I would go this year. All the hoopla about this event that I’ve been hearing for months finally gave me the resolve to do it this year. It’s one of the biggest reenactments ever put on, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
It was so big, people had to park in designated parking lots and take a shuttle bus to the battleground. Everything went like clockwork, and we were in the lot at 8:30 am, and at the event by 9:15. We did have to take a short walk, about a 1/4 mile, but walking by soldiers on horses, getting ready to take the field added to the excitement.
The weather cooperated, to a point. There was no chance of rain, but the heat was incredible–101, I think. We were lucky though–there were tents set up for shade, and we managed to grab a couple of chairs inside one, and were able to sit there comfortably for the duration. People in the high priced seats, the grandstands, were sitting in direct sunlight, so I didn’t feel too bad about taking the cheap “standing room only, $25” option.
The battle started around 9:30, but the skirmish was way off, in a treeline, and all we could see was clouds of smoke from the gunfire. But, as the battle went on, the soldiers moved closer and closer, and were eventually right under our noses, firing rifles and cannons at each other. It was very exciting, watching history unfold right in front of us (well, use your imagination a little), but the heat got to us eventually. Around 11:30, we gave it up.
Before we left, we had some lunch, and ended up sitting next to a reenactor. He was from Cincinnati, and had come with a friend that had participated in the 100th reenactment 50 years ago, and wanted to be in this one, too. He was 81 years old. I wanted to walk over and get a picture of him, but he was sitting somewhere else, and I just couldn’t force myself to take the walk.
We got a little surprise when we asked how to exit. They had set up ropes blocking the way we came in. When we asked how to get out, we were told we had to walk around the opposite side of the battleground, which was about 2 miles. Problem solved when we asked for medical aid. We got a cart ride out. Whew, close call.