CivilWarTalk Throwback Thursday, 1-7-2021

James N.

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This week Throwback Thursday revisits Old Washington Historic State Park, Arkansas, site of many reenactments and living history events in the 1990's and 2000's. Washington is located in the southwest corner of the state near modern-day Hope and on the 1800's road to Texas that passed through the site that became the twin cities of Texarkana, Ark.-Tex. In this photo from 2010 Bradley Garnett and I are standing beside the 1870's courthouse that replaced the one from a decade or more earlier that also served from 1863-65 as the capital of the Confederate State of Arkansas, and which is still standing nearby. Old Washington is a wonderful place to visit, with several historic homes in addition to the courthouses and a period church and picturesque cemetery. This annual event usually occurred in the Fall, Oct.-Nov. and featured a small reenactment every other year.

Anyone else having (preferably) old Civil War-related photos, mementoes, or memorabilia from reenactments, living history, or other events or vacation or other travel they would like to share with us is welcome and encouraged to do so in this weekly thread!
 

Rusk County Avengers

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I'll contribute some throwbacks this week.

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This is a reenactment that closed its doors about a year or two ago at Liendo Plantation near I think Hempstead, TX. Supposedly George Custer and his wife Libby stayed there in the early days of Reconstruction, Custer sparing it from destruction as the family there nursed Libby back to health when she took ill. For this reason whenever I was there you could see an actor portraying Custer wildly riding around the battlefield on his horse blazing away with I think, Colt M1873 Peacemakers! (Its been many years since I was there, I could be misremembering.)

As to the accuracy of the story, I honestly can't say. One tidbit of history there that is known is a Confederate training camp was there, Camp Groce if I remember right. In the first picture a younger, teenage, farby me can be seen in a dark coat 8th from the left.

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If I remember right these were taken I think in November, 2008.
 

James N.

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This is a reenactment that closed its doors about a year or two ago at Liendo Plantation near I think Hempstead, TX. Supposedly George Custer and his wife Libby stayed there in the early days of Reconstruction, Custer sparing it from destruction as the family there nursed Libby back to health when she took ill. For this reason whenever I was there you could see an actor portraying Custer wildly riding around the battlefield on his horse blazing away with I think, Colt M1873 Peacemakers! (Its been many years since I was there, I could be misremembering.)

As to the accuracy of the story, I honestly can't say. One tidbit of history there that is known is a Confederate training camp was there, Camp Groce if I remember right. In the first picture a younger, teenage, farby me can be seen in a dark coat 8th from the left.

That part is preposterous because by the time Custer got to Texas the war was well over and he had arrived at the head of Reconstruction troops and NOT his famous cavalrymen from the Shenandoah Valley and Appomattox. On the march Custer began his post-war period of extreme dislike by the men he commanded who didn't see why they were still being deployed since the war was over and resented his insistence on enforcing discipline and Regular Army regulations on them. (They were still volunteer troops.) Not only Libby, but his aide and brother Tom and even his father Emmanuel all accompanied them since fighting was over and no trouble was expected. Custer went all the way to Austin where he occupied a house (still standing on the campus of UT), but proved as unpopular with the Texans as with his men and was fairly soon recalled and replaced.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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That part is preposterous because by the time Custer got to Texas the war was well over and he had arrived at the head of Reconstruction troops and NOT his famous cavalrymen from the Shenandoah Valley and Appomattox. On the march Custer began his post-war period of extreme dislike by the men he commanded who didn't see why they were still being deployed since the war was over and resented his insistence on enforcing discipline and Regular Army regulations on them. (They were still volunteer troops.) Not only Libby, but his aide and brother Tom and even his father Emmanuel all accompanied them since fighting was over and no trouble was expected. Custer went all the way to Austin where he occupied a house (still standing on the campus of UT), but proved as unpopular with the Texans as with his men and was fairly soon recalled and replaced.

I think the whole event was kind of preposterous, a dog and pony show, BUT it was a very fun event. I only ever attended twice, but in later years they built earthworks, then tore them down and went back to the "good ole days" for an event before it closed its doors.

I wish I had pictures, but I remember the Saturday evening ball at the Plantation house was a real picture perfect happening. The Plantation itself was a great place, with slave quarters that were real nice still standing. 2008 was my last time there, and I fear my memories are fading into the winds of time. First time I was there with a Cavalry/Artillery group, they handed me an Enfield and detailed me as a sharpshooter that was LOADS of fun and contributed to me staying in reenacting. It was my third ever event, and a neat one.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Seeing these, I wish now I'd given in to blandishments by my friend Doug @1863surgeon and attended it at least once.

Here's some photos from 2008:

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All these pictures are from the second time I was there. I was 18, still in high school, and had just been gifted my first muzzleloader, a Euroarms M1841 Mississippi, by my mother as she knew I wanted to get out of the artillery and into the infantry, and between normal things for a teenage boy working a minimum wage job, I couldn't afford one. Fortunately for me, while my parents seldom agreed on anything, they did agree they didn't trust my young self to make the five hour drive to Hempstead, so my Mother made a weekend out of it with both her children, (I still don't know what all her and my brother did while I was reenacting), but her being there these pictures were taken. Otherwise I wouldn't have them as I'm terrible at getting photos of events.

Heck while down there me and another guy and former reenacting buddy found his uncle's moonshine stash after all the adults went to bed, which made for a memorable evening with muskets. But that's a story for another time....
 

James N.

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That looks at least as good as Pleasant Hill and other events in the Trans-Mississippi I've attended in the past. Of course, there are NO Federals to be seen in these photos! At events like this there are seldom more than a handful of galvanized Yanks, and for the battle only - what about that at Liendo?
 

Rusk County Avengers

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That looks at least as good as Pleasant Hill and other events in the Trans-Mississippi I've attended in the past. Of course, there are NO Federals to be seen in these photos! At events like this there are seldom more than a handful of galvanized Yanks, and for the battle only - what about that at Liendo?

Oh the very first picture is part of the Federals. You can even spot the Zouaves in there.

Federal numbers at the event as I remember were better than at other Trans-Mississippi events. Kind of like the old Deridder event in South Louisiana. I think politics was and still is the reason for the numbers problem.
 

captaindrew

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That looks at least as good as Pleasant Hill and other events in the Trans-Mississippi I've attended in the past. Of course, there are NO Federals to be seen in these photos! At events like this there are seldom more than a handful of galvanized Yanks, and for the battle only - what about that at Liendo?
Sounds like Florida, we always have to have our Federal kit with us.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Sounds like Florida, we always have to have our Federal kit with us.

I think that's a Southern issue period. We don't have very many dedicated Federal units, I've only ever known of two down here, and one of them ain't got but like 5 guys!

Everyone wants to be Confederate here, throw reenactor politics and life in the mix and you got people like me who's made themselves new Confederate uniforms and never wore them because the powers-that-be have you going Federal at every event you are able to attend.
 

captaindrew

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I think that's a Southern issue period. We don't have very many dedicated Federal units, I've only ever known of two down here, and one of them ain't got but like 5 guys!

Everyone wants to be Confederate here, throw reenactor politics and life in the mix and you got people like me who's made themselves new Confederate uniforms and never wore them because the powers-that-be have you going Federal at every event you are able to attend.
They usually ask a couple companies to volunteer to galvanize each day so the same bunch isn't always stuck doing it and only for one day. I don't mind really, I've been working on upgrading my Federal kit lately. Going to a couple campaigner events on the Union side this year. The way things are looking I'm trying to be prepared for any possible impression so I can get some events in. Looking like it's going to be another slim year for public events, hope I'm wrong.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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They usually ask a couple companies to volunteer to galvanize each day so the same bunch isn't always stuck doing it and only for one day. I don't mind really, I've been working on upgrading my Federal kit lately. Going to a couple campaigner events on the Union side this year. The way things are looking I'm trying to be prepared for any possible impression so I can get some events in. Looking like it's going to be another slim year for public events, hope I'm wrong.

Here our battalion officers, (been officers for 20 years or more) decide on galvanizing in one of a few ways:
1. Certain companies that always voluntarily galvanizes.
2. Ask a few other company officers to volunteer their units so the usual suspects can go Confederate once or twice a year.
3. If a unit comes along that doesn't wish to play politics at an event the battalion controls, they go Federal.
4. In recent years make the whole battalion go Federal after inviting another organization to come out. The idea being they'll come back more often so our numbers are good. (THAT can't possibly backfire can it!)

I'm not able to make all events, the past few years just one or two a year, but every time I come I've ad to be Federal every time. It really burns me up to have invested time and money improving and hand sewing a new CS kit. The battalion has gone so far down due to politics me and other like minded folks are forming a new company, to be independent of them, and if they play politics, we'll just leave an event. Hurt their precious numbers, also term limits on officers....
 

captaindrew

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Here our battalion officers, (been officers for 20 years or more) decide on galvanizing in one of a few ways:
1. Certain companies that always voluntarily galvanizes.
2. Ask a few other company officers to volunteer their units so the usual suspects can go Confederate once or twice a year.
3. If a unit comes along that doesn't wish to play politics at an event the battalion controls, they go Federal.
4. In recent years make the whole battalion go Federal after inviting another organization to come out. The idea being they'll come back more often so our numbers are good. (THAT can't possibly backfire can it!)

I'm not able to make all events, the past few years just one or two a year, but every time I come I've ad to be Federal every time. It really burns me up to have invested time and money improving and hand sewing a new CS kit. The battalion has gone so far down due to politics me and other like minded folks are forming a new company, to be independent of them, and if they play politics, we'll just leave an event. Hurt their precious numbers, also term limits on officers....
Unfortunately stuff like that is going on everywhere. The plague cancellations might be the nail in the coffin for a lot of them, we'll see how it shakes out on the other end. I'm afraid a lot of the traditional public events, once they're gone a year or two, will never come back. Myself and a handful of diehards from my northern bunch are going to travel around to the campaigner events this year and see how that goes. It seems those events are actually growing. We did a couple last year and enjoyed them and had our own campaigner style campouts/ drill weekends to gear up for it.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Unfortunately stuff like that is going on everywhere. The plague cancellations might be the nail in the coffin for a lot of them, we'll see how it shakes out on the other end. I'm afraid a lot of the traditional public events, once they're gone a year or two, will never come back. Myself and a handful of diehards from my northern bunch are going to travel around to the campaigner events this year and see how that goes. It seems those events are actually growing. We did a couple last year and enjoyed them and had our own campaigner style campouts/ drill weekends to gear up for it.

One of Sergeants in our Color Guard, which is what the new unit will probably spin off of, was telling me the other day after hearing the State Parks in Arkansas may never allow another reenactment, and the pandemic and everything was going to kill reenacting for good, I just told him:

"As long as there's one reenactor reenacting it ain't dead! If we have to we'll have camp outs on private land drilling an invite another unit or two and we'll have skirmishes to keep it alive until better times."

As for the Campaigners, there is one event they're planning next year, (actually at Fort Hindman, in Arkansas on a State Park), I'll probably go to, and there's a lot of great people there I love to death, but too many of the Campaigners know even less about history and their accoutrements than mainstreamers, while being thoroughly infected with the "cool kid" syndrome. Hence why I steer clear of them, I've no use for the cool kids of the world.
 

captaindrew

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One of Sergeants in our Color Guard, which is what the new unit will probably spin off of, was telling me the other day after hearing the State Parks in Arkansas may never allow another reenactment, and the pandemic and everything was going to kill reenacting for good, I just told him:

"As long as there's one reenactor reenacting it ain't dead! If we have to we'll have camp outs on private land drilling an invite another unit or two and we'll have skirmishes to keep it alive until better times."

As for the Campaigners, there is one event they're planning next year, (actually at Fort Hindman, in Arkansas on a State Park), I'll probably go to, and there's a lot of great people there I love to death, but too many of the Campaigners know even less about history and their accoutrements than mainstreamers, while being thoroughly infected with the "cool kid" syndrome. Hence why I steer clear of them, I've no use for the cool kids of the world.
It won't kill it but it will be different, maybe for the better. Quality over quantity I hope. I see the "cool kids" online picking on everybody else and have no use for them but the guys I've met in the field at the campaign events I've attended have all been pretty nice. It is nice being around guys who really take it seriously and have their stuff right and always striving to improve. But everybody has to start somewhere so there has to be some balance and at least a few public events to recruit. I'm optimistic it will continue on, there's enough of us out there to do it. We just have to make sure to be welcoming and supportive to new recruits and above all do some recruiting to get some fresh fish in.
 

Dave DuBrucq

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150th Anniversary of The Battle of Franklin​
This re-enactment was held on the Eastern Flank of the Franklin Battlefield We made an effort to recreate the actual battle as closely as we could on a cold November Day. Despite the cold, we had some 6,000 people attend this event. The top of my head can be seen directly under the Federal Flag.
 

captaindrew

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View attachment 387071

150th Anniversary of The Battle of Franklin​
This re-enactment was held on the Eastern Flank of the Franklin Battlefield We made an effort to recreate the actual battle as closely as we could on a cold November Day. Despite the cold, we had some 6,000 people attend this event. The top of my head can be seen directly under the Federal Flag.
Nice shot :thumbsup:
 
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