150th Gettysburg Sojourn, part 9

stacking arms and waiting for battle at Gettysburg, 2013

Hurry Up and Wait – the same old story for soldiers anywhere

As usual, it was the same old story that has existed in every army since the dawn of creation; Hurry Up and Wait. At the bottom of the hill, we stacked arms again and went to sit down amongst the trees.

It never ceases to amaze me what and where I will sit while reenacting as opposed to back home. I sat down next to a tree in the dirt, with weeds all around me, without a thought about how dirty I would get or what kind of critters might be in the weeds. Back home, I would no more go out and just sit down under a tree in my yard than the man in the moon.

vernon dutton and pards waiting

Anyway, after another 20 minutes we formed up and marched back up the hill we had come down, although by a different route. Once at the top, guess what? We stacked arms again and were allowed to wander around the area. Thank Heavens there were some portable toilets and a water tank nearby. I got rid of some fluid from one part of my body and resupplied another.

I finally sat down in the shade with some of my pards and we dozed off for a few minutes. I woke up; got restless; and walked around.

There was a battery of six cannons at the top of the hill, and they had been firing off and on for about 20 minutes. I went to the crest of the hill, to the left of the battery, and what a panorama! You could see for miles. Looking down below us I saw Union troops and their cannon giving counter battery fire to our boys. It was a sight to behold.

Just about that time, we were given orders to form up, and away we marched down the hill. There was a 6 company battalion in a column of companies in front of us. Each company had about 16 to 20 men. Our 7 companies also were marching in a column of companies. I chanced a quick glance behind us and saw another battalion. The hill seemed to be swarming with Confederate troops in all kinds of uniforms of all different colors.

I always enjoy portraying Confederate Soldiers because there is no uniformity of dress. Each soldier is able to provide his own rendition of what his idea of dress was for his unit.

At the bottom of the hill, we ran into Union skirmishers. We pushed them back and engaged their main unit.


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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