SEEING THE ELEPHANT-PART 2

SEEING THE ELEPHANT-PART 2

Saturday morning a few of the unit member’s wives cooked us breakfast of bacon, eggs, and bread along with steaming hot coffee. Food cooked over a fire in a camp setting seemed to bring out more favors in anything you eat. I was stuffed to the gills and loving it.

After breakfast Pard and I looked over the equipment I had brought and we got it in some semblance of order. He showed me what needed to go on first and what to string on my belt. I didn’t’ have a haversack. So this was one of the first things we were going to purchase at the Sutler’s.

The Sutler Area is a different world. The best description is an outdoor tent mall with many vendors that can provide anything you need dealing with reenacting.
You could walk into the Sutler area in civilian garb and walk out with everything you need to be a reenactor. From muckets to muskets, from socks to hats, from buttons to brogans the Sutler Area has it all.

Our unit was assigned to a Brigade in the Trans-Mississippi Voluntary Infantry. We were assigned a Lieutenant by the Brigade, since we didn’t have an officer in our unit. He knew nothing about 19th Century warfare and none of us did either, except for Pard.

Our Brigade prepared for our first battle scenario by drilling in an open field. There were 3 other units beside us in the Brigade. I had Second Sergeant Stripes on my jacket and was put at the end of our company line because that is where the Second Sergeant’s post is located. It was taken for granted that I knew what a Second Sergeant was supposed to do. Since I didn’t, I got yelled at a few times and was trying to understand what I should be doing. Pard tried to help, but he had to remain quiet in the ranks while the overall commander was giving commands. Needless to say I quickly understood there was a lot more to this than just dressing up and going out and shooting a musket.

Well, we drilled as well as we could and went back to our camps to eat a light lunch and get all our accoutrements (equipment) ready for the battle.

Pard and I made a quick trip to the Sutlers and I purchased a haversack, which is like a big satchel where you store your food, eating utensils and plate, candles, matches and any other necessary items.

We got back in time to get all our accoutrements on, which is known as “cootering up” in reenactment jargon. After some initial maneuvering we got into our place in Brigade Line. We began to hear some cannons booming and my pulse began to race. I was ready to SEE THE Elephant.

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About Civil War Reflections

Vernon has been a Civil War buff since childhood, but had been inactive in Civil War history for over two decades. However, in the early 1990s his interest was rekindled after watching Ken Burns’ “Civil War Documentary” on PBS. He particularly became interested in the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and decided to learn more about this epic struggle.
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