150TH GETTYSBURG SOJOURN 25
Thurs., Sept. 12, 2013
Apparently the rain shower had caught everyone by surprise. Our company had laid out their bedding for the night and was eating their supper when the rain shower hit. Blankets, equipment, uniforms and muskets had been doused and everyone was miserably wet. The only problem the three amigos had were wet muskets, which would make for a rusty weapon in the morning.
Unfortunately when we stacked arms, my musket helped make the basic tripod. There were about four other muskets that were leaning against the basic tripod structure, along with cartridge boxes and belts draped over the bayonets. The owners of the other muskets had left for the night. So I would have to clean the rust off my musket in the morning.
I finally laid down on one of my rubberized gum blankets, which kept the moisture from the wet ground and grass from soaking me, used my frock coat as a blanket and pulled my other gum blanket on top of my coat to keep the dew off.
It had been a very long day of marching and fighting. I had no trouble drifting off to sleep. We had no more rain during the night, and I slept soundly.
On Sunday morning, as dawn broke over the fields at the base of the hill below us, the whole camp was abuzz eating breakfast and readying equipment to transport to their cars. We broke down the stacked of muskets, and I was able to clean mine thoroughly.
Usually, if there is enough time before the Sunday battle, re-enactors take their packs to their cars and wear just their leathers: cartridge boxes, haversacks, belts with bayonets and cap boxes attached, and their canteens.
We were slated to have an 8:30 fight this morning before Pickett’s Charge in the afternoon, so we wanted to get rid of the extra load for the day’s events. However, we found one of our travel buddies had partied hard the night before and had a bit of a hangover. He was mobile, but still “in his cups.”
Anyway, we all hoisted our packs and hiked about a mile to the vans where we deposited all unnecessary equipment. I have to admit, even though I was a little footsore and tired, I hadn’t felt this good, physically, in about five months. Believe it or not, the 150th Gettysburg had done me a world of good.