150th Gettysburg Sojourn, part 12

Vernon Dutton at GettysburgWhen Joe, Randy and I got to camp, we took off our sweat soaked frock coats and hung them on the tree branches to dry. Our shirts were as wet as if they had come out of a washing machine.

Musket cleaning was the first order of business. We must always have a clean rifle for each engagement. So, I got out my cleaning kit and got the rifle barrel clean with water and a brush. I then made sure the passageway from the cone (where you put the cap for each firing) to the barrel was open, so the spark created by the cap would ignite the powder in the barrel.

photo Enfield Pattern 1853

Enfield 1853 close up
Source: ThayerAmericana.com

Once this was done, I restocked my cartridge box; got my canteen, and headed to the water tank. I drank plenty of water and settled down for a quick nap.

I was still feeling hot and tired so I mixed some Gatorade powder with water in my tin cup and drank it. I felt a little better after a while, and by this time, my shirt had dried.

We weren’t going to have another battle scenario until late in the afternoon. So I rested some more in the tent.

I finally woke up, went to the campfire, and started talking with one of the men from Massachusetts by the name of Dan. He had been in the business world, gotten laid off in 2009 and decided to start over. So he took a job with a law firm in western Massachusetts and started law school. He was in his second year and had made a complete turnaround of his life. He had a wife and kids, and I thought he was one of the most courageous men I have ever met. You meet some of the greatest people in the world at reenactments.

Anyway some of the men had gone to the sutlers and began returning. I was thinking about not going on the twilight fight because it was purely voluntary.
However, Joe (who is about as old as I am and has had a knee replacement) said battle scenarios were what he had come for, and he was going. So I couldn’t let him go alone. I said I would join in, also.

We got called to form up about 5:30PM. So we ‘cootered up and got in the ranks.


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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