Joe and I tackled the hill. I knew that if I ever stopped, I’d never make it.
When we topped the hill, there was a man seated at a makeshift booth. I tried to ask where our unit was, but was so out of breath in the 95 degree temperature and 60% humidity, Joe had to do all the talking.
At the top of the hill, there was a large open field. On one side, there were portable toilets and a large tractor trailer full of water. On the other side of the field were various paths leading into woods, and we could see many tents scattered throughout the wooded area.
Just as we were getting ready to enter our path, a pickup truck stopped beside us and General King greeted us by asking how the Arkansas Boys were doing. We exchanged some pleasantries, and by this time, most of our eight men had made it up the hill. So we all ambled toward the woods.
We saw the signs for our unit and diverted toward a row of tents that were occupied by about eight men. They were all sitting under a tarpaulin fly. It had started to sprinkle, and we asked if we could put our gear under their tarp. They said, “certainly,” and we shed all our gear.
It was getting on near dusk, and all my Pards wanted to go to the Sutler area – a tent mall with about 40 vendors. I decided to stay in the camp area and recuperate from that first hill.
Everyone headed out as it began to rain. I was trying to get all the gear they had left out in the open under the fly. One of the eight men said I could stow our gear in one of their pup tents that wasn’t going to be occupied during the event. So, I gathered all the equipment and filled the pup tent.
I thanked the men profusely and sat around under their fly. They introduced themselves, and I was absolutely astounded. The men were from western Massachusetts and were portraying the 3rd Louisiana. It is very rare that men from the North portray Confederate units.