The buildup of troops for Pickett’s Charge had begun.
There must have been at least 1500 troops rapidly occupying the woods in our general area alone. To our south, even more were being mustered.
About 1:00pm, a person portraying Gen. Robert E. Lee riding a gray and white horse that resembled Traveler, along with a staff of about three adjutants also on horses, began to ride amongst the troops and give short patriotic speeches. Wherever he went, he was surrounded with troops shouting, “Lee! Lee! Lee!” once he was through speaking.
We did the same thing when he came to address our unit.
About this time, our unit commander, General Jack King rode up to see how we were doing. He naturally resembles Lee more than anyone I have ever seen try to portray Lee during the 19 years that I had been reenacting.
Our immediate Commander, Lt. Col. Toren Blanco, approached Gen. King and shook his hand, and they had a small conversation. It looked as if Lt. Col. Blanco was thanking him for all he did to make this reenactment possible…and more meaningful for us than most reenactment units experienced. For example, we didn’t have to stay in one camp the whole time. We got to march more than most units. We got to reenact Culp’s Hill and two twilight fights in which the majority of the Confederate Units didn’t get to participate. Over a three day period, we got to fight in six battle scenarios. This would include Pickett’s Charge. Most units only got to fight in three scenarios.
At 1:15pm, we got First Call. We all ‘cootered up and fell into line. We Unstacked Arms and marched off to the grandest reenactment shoot ‘em-up since the 135th Gettysburg on this same farm.
As we marched, I felt a multitude of emotions: Satisfaction, because I had lasted the whole reenactment; Patriotic, because I was able to give thanks to our ancestors by participating; Élan, because I was a part of a veteran unit whose namesake and reputation for fighting was well-known; Sadness, because so many had been lost during this assault in 1863; and Camaraderie, because it was such a privilege to have these men as my Pards.