CivilWarTalk Throwback Thursday, 4 - 1 - 2021

James N.

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Remembering Glen Smith
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Above, a toast for the band at the North Texas Reenactment Society's Christmas Cotillion 1979, Thistle Hill Mansion, Fort Worth, Texas

Once again I take the opportunity to use Throwback Thursday to observe the passing of another of my reenacting Pards, Glenual R. (for that was his actual if somewhat old-fashioned name) Smith, onetime chairman of our Society and Captain of both Douglas' Texas Battery and The Union Rifles. Please excuse me if I deviate from my usual brief Throwback thread to elaborate on the career of one of my earliest, best reenacting friends who did a lot to both further reenacting in our area and enhance my own career therein. This past weekend Glen at the age of 81 lost his battle with prostate cancer, and although I had had no contact with him for probably at least three decades, when I received the unwelcome news from our mutual friend Ed Owens, a flood of memories came rushing back as I selected these photos. Those who have been following my threads concerning my early days reenacting will hopefully recall Glen since he was such an important character in so many of them.

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I met Glen in 1976 when I first joined what was then Good's Texas Battery, a totally farb unit I have described here many times before, seen above that same year at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; among the other members Glen is at right leaning on his original artillery saber while I'm dead center cradling mine and Jim Marrs, subject of another recent memorial tribute stands at far left: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/remembering-jim-marrs.137374/ Also pictured are Glen's young son Colin kneeling center below my gloved hand; Glen Hargis, subject of my last memorial Throwback thread, standing third from left; and Ed Owens standing fifth from left. It's fitting that Glen and Jim stand on opposite ends in this photo because that's the relationship they came to occupy within our unit.

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Our unit had been founded at the time of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution when reenacting was in its formative years and authenticity a remote and unapproachable ideal not to be taken seriously if thought of at all. The original captain and lieutenant seldom attended events unless they were within the D-FW Metroplex and by my second year had basically dropped out altogether, leaving a vaccum at the top which was fairly soon filled by Glen and Jim, seen above and below at Billie Creek Village, Indiana. Their approaches to reenacting could scarcely have been more different: where Glen was inevitably serious, due likely to his training and service as a U.S. Navy carrier pilot who had seen service in the early days of Vietnam and was then employed as a second officer (co-pilot) for American Airlines, Jim was always happy-go-lucky, taking a lassiez-faire attitude to almost everything, as might be expected from this notorious proponent of alien life and conspiracy theories. In our circle Jim was also noted for what he called the ten foot rule - if anything looked good from ten feet away, then it was okay! Probably needless to say this wasn't the same idea Glen or many others including myself had, leading to a tension in our unit that is belied by the photo of the two of them below; their respective body language says much, though - Jim is looking dreamily into a distant unknown future, while Glen is resting rooted solidly in the present:

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Fortunately, one aspect of reenacting both men agreed on was the very real need to improve our overall impression and get away from the so-called dog-and-pony shows that made up most of our local Texas events, traveling farther afield where we could associate with a "better" class of reenactors. This led us to large-scale and by-invitation-only events at Jefferson Barracks and Wilson's Creek, Missouri; Scott, Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove, Arkansas; and Billie Creek Village, Indiana. Probably our finest event under Glen's leadership was the by-invitation-only "tactical" - no spectators allowed! - held at Nancy, Kentucky, in 1978 where we were the only Confederate artillery, alongside other early "authentic" units, the Confederate Guard, Breckenridge's Brigade, and Cleburne's Command, opposed to Thomas's Mudsills and Knap's Battery. Above, Glen stands proudly between our full-scale mountain howitzers, one of them his own. For more about this event: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/tactical-at-nancy-mill-springs-kentucky-summer-1978.134466/

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One of the early disputes involved which side our unit was to portray - although made up generally of gin-u-wine Texas Good Ol' Boys, as artillery the Battery was inevitably called upon to provide guns for the "other" or perhaps both sides. After at first another farb Yankee impression, most of us eventually acquired proper Federal gear like above and even began to attend events and camp as - GASP! - Federals. (Note that even dyed-in-the-wool Rebel Jim has gotten into the spirit of things behind Glen in the rear rank.) However, like most of us despite his becoming an officer and a Gentleman through his association with the U. S. Navy, as seen below Glen could sometimes unbend enough to indulge in an uncharacteristic sillier side!

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Image (8).jpg


In fact, Glen pretty well fit the description of what one of Napoleon's aides-de-camp was expected to be capable of performing, from leading troops in the field to cleaning and cooking a chicken for the Emperor's dinner! Above at Prairie Grove, Arkansas although our commanding officer, Texas country boy Glen was the only one among us to know how to perform the onerous duty of turning our live rations provided by the event into a meal, here plucking the bird held by Glen Hargis after wringing its neck, while Mike Hubbard "supervises" and I take the photo.

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Despite his training as a pilot, Glen was probably really a mechanic at heart; one of his most prized possessions of which he was most proud was the full-scale mountain howitzer he built himself in his garage! Of course, he'd ordered the tube (barrel) from South Bend Replicas, but in an ever-increasing quest for authenticity, he sent it back and had the bore bored out to the correct size for a twelve-pounder, evident in the photo above at right taken at another living history encampment at Corinth, Mississippi. As for the carriage, he hewed out the very large trail from a single piece of wood and searched high and low for appropriate wheels. An ultimate falling-out I had with Glen occurred when he finally grew tired of towing and caring for this beautiful gun and limber, donating it to the State of Arkansas following an event held at Prairie Grove State Park, where it remains to this day and @Rusk County Avengers posted a photograph of it last year:

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Even before Glen donated his gun, our unit had begun to attend more and more events as Federal, often infantry as above at another living history event at Grand Gulf State Park, Mississippi. In addition to Glen singing in the foreground our campfire group includes from the left Bruce Winders, David Cejka, Glen Hargis, Mike Hubbard, Glen's son Colin, and myself. Eventually abandoning both the artillery and the Confederacy altogether, Glen was for a time the captain of a Trans-Mississippi infantry unit known as the Union Rifles, seen below along with Corporal Glen Hargis. Unfortunately, Glen could be possessed by a self-righteous, prickly side that for some reason chafed under close cooperation with other unit leaders; his association in the Rifles as a part of George Derenberger's Thomas's Mudsills proved to be as short-lived as had an earlier collaboration with Danny Sessums of the Confederate Guard. Now that he was no longer the owner of a gun in an artillery unit, the particular authority that accompanied that unique position no longer existed for him and his leadership role became more and more circumscribed.

Glen Smith, Lewis Iselin, Glen Hargis.jpg


The last time I was closely associated with him was during the first stages of the 1987 IMAX production The Alamo - The Price Of Freedom, filmed on John Wayne's old Alamo set at Brackettville, Texas, where we spent the first two weeks as seen below, Mexicans storming the fortress. Due to his experience commanding the Union Rifles, Glen was appointed to lead one of the companies of Mexican infantry and by happy chance I wound up as his sergeant! We had worked previously for Assistant Producer Ray Herbeck on the TV production North & South II and had made a favorable impression I was soon able to parlay into not only this but eventually my job on Glory. Unfortunately, as you may have surmised by now, Glen was something of what's called a control freak and soon fell out with the production company over what he (probably correctly) thought were unsafe conditions, at first refusing to participate in a scene, then quitting the production altogether, fortuitously leaving me with the company where I got most of my experience as a company commander which I put to good use later at the 125th Gettysburg in 1988 and the following year in Glory.

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This was my last close association with Glen - I only saw him a time or two afterwards at local gun shows - and he fairly soon abandoned reenacting altogether for another of his loves, flying his own private plane. On the back of the scanned photo above I'd written "Just like in the Good Ol' Days"; I treasure the times we spent together, especially travelling to and from long-distance events and reenacting - May he RIP!
 
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Rusk County Avengers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
Remembering Glen Smith
View attachment 396050
Above, a toast for the band at the North Texas Reenactment Society's Christmas Cotillion 1979, Thistle Hill Mansion, Fort Worth, Texas

Once again I take the opportunity to use Throwback Thursday to observe the passing of another of my reenacting Pards, Glenual R. (for that was his actual if somewhat old-fashioned name) Smith, onetime chairman of our Society and Captain of both Douglas' Texas Battery and The Union Rifles. Please excuse me if I deviate from my usual brief Throwback thread to elaborate on the career of one of my earliest, best reenacting friends who did a lot to both further reenacting in our area and enhance my own career therein. This past weekend Glen at the age of 81 lost his battle with prostate cancer, and although I had had no contact with him for probably at least three decades, when I received the unwelcome news from our mutual friend Ed Owens, a flood of memories came rushing back as I selected the photos for this thread.

View attachment 396048
I met Glen in 1976 when I first joined what was then Good's Texas Battery, a totally farb unit I have described here many times before, seen above at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri; among the other members Glen is at right leaning on his original artillery saber while I'm dead center cradling mine and Jim Marrs, subject of another recent memorial tribute stands at far left: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/remembering-jim-marrs.137374/ Also pictured are Glen's young son Colin kneeling center below my gloved hand; Glen Hargis, subject of my last memorial Throwback thread, standing third from left; and Ed Owens standing fifth from left. It's fitting that Glen and Jim stand on opposite ends in this photo because that's the relationship they came to occupy within our unit.

View attachment 396049

Our unit had been founded at the time of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution when reenacting was in its formative years and authenticity a remote and unapproachable ideal not to be taken seriously if thought of at all. The original captain and lieutenant seldom attended events unless they were within the D-FW Metroplex and by my second year had basically dropped out altogether, leaving a vaccum at the top which was fairly soon filled by Glen and Jim, seen above and below at Billie Creek Village, Indiana. Their approaches to reenacting could scarcely have been more different: where Glen was inevitably serious, due likely to his training and service as a U.S. Navy carrier pilot who had seen service in the early days of Vietnam and was then employed as a second officer (co-pilot) for American Airlines, Jim was always happy-go-lucky, taking a lassiez-faire attitude to almost everything. Jim was notorious as the proponent of what he called the ten foot rule in reenacting - if anything looked good from ten feet away, then it was okay! Probably needless to say this wasn't the same idea as Glen or many others of us had, leading to a tension in our unit, belied by the photo of the two of them below; their respective body language says much - Jim is looking dreamily into a distant unknown future, while Glen is resting rooted solidly in the present:

View attachment 396038
View attachment 396042

One of the early disputes involved which side our unit was to portray - although made up generally of gen-u-wine Texas Good Ol' Boys, as artillery the Battery was inevitably called upon to provide guns for the "other" or perhaps both sides. At first another farb Yankee impression, most of us eventually acquired proper Federal gear like above and even began to attend events and camp as - GASP! - Federals. (Note that even dyed-in-the-wool Rebel Jim has gotten into the spirit of things behind Glen in the rear rank.) However, like most of us despite his becoming an officer and a Gentleman through his association with the U. S. Navy, as seen below Glen could sometimes unbend to indulge in an uncharacteristic sillier side!

View attachment 396041
View attachment 396043

In fact, Glen pretty well fit the description of what one of Napoleon's aides-de-camp was expected to be capable of performing, from leading troops in the field to cleaning and cooking a chicken for the Emperor's dinner! Above at Prairie Grove, Arkansas although our commanding officer, Texas country boy Glen was the only one among us to know how to perform the onerous duty of turning our live rations provided by the event into a meal, here plucking the bird held by Glen Hargis after wringing its neck, while Mike Hubbard "supervises" and I take the photo.

View attachment 396052

Despite his training as a pilot, Glen was probably really a mechanic at heart; one of his most prized possessions of which he was most proud was the full-scale mountain howitzer he built himself in his garage! Of course, he'd ordered the tube (barrel) from South Bend Replicas, but in an ever-increasing quest for authenticity, he sent it back and had the bore bored out to the correct size for a twelve-pounder, evident in the photo above at right taken at a living history encampment at Corinth, Mississippi. As for the carriage, he hewed out the very large trail from a single piece of wood and searched high and low for appropriate wheels. An ultimate falling-out I had with Glen was when he finally grew tired of towing and caring for this beautiful gun and limber, donating it to the State of Arkansas where @Rusk County Avengers photographed it at Prairie Grove State Park last year:

View attachment 396039
View attachment 396077

Even before Glen donated his gun, our unit had begun to attend more and more events as Federal, often infantry as above at another living history event at Grand gulf State Park, Mississippi. In addition to Glen singing in the foreground our campfire group includes from the left Bruce Winders, David Cejka, Glen Hargis, Mike Hubbard, Glen's son Colin, and myself. Eventually abandoning both the artillery and the Confederacy altogether, Glen was for a time the captain of a Trans-Mississippi infantry unit known as the Union Rifles, seen below along with Corporal Glen Hargis:

View attachment 396040

The last time I was closely associated with him was during the first stages of the 1987 IMAX production The Alamo - The Price Of Freedom, filmed on John Wayne's old Alamo set at Brackettville, Texas, where we spent the first two weeks as seen below, Mexicans storming the fortress. Due to his experience commanding the Union Rifles, Glen was appointed to lead one of the companies of Mexican infantry and by happy chance I wound up as his sergeant! We had worked previously for Assistant Producer Ray Herbeck on the TV production North & South and made a favorable impression I was soon able to parlay into my job on Glory. Unfortunately, as you may have surmised by now, Glen was something of what's called a control freak and soon fell out with the production company with what he (probably correctly) thought were unsafe conditions, at first refusing to participate, then quitting the production altogether, fortuitously leaving me with the company where I got most of my experience as company commander which I put to good use later at the 125th Gettysburg in 1988 and the following year in Glory.

View attachment 396051

Although this was my last close association with Glen - I only saw him a time or two afterwards at local gun shows - and he fairly soon afterwards abandoned reenacting altogether for another of his loves, flying in his own private plane, I treasure the times we spent together, especially travelling to and from long-distance events and reenacting - RIP!

May he rest in peace, sounds like a character. Glad to hear his story.

One matter to clarify though...

I didn't take that picture of the gun, it was a picture on Civil War Album I posted a link to when you wishing you had a picture...

While I study that campaign and have run all over the surrounding country, I've unfortunately never had a chance to go to Hindman Hall at the State Park or the battlefield! I've drove right by it though.
 

James N.

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May he rest in peace, sounds like a character. Glad to hear his story.

One matter to clarify though...

I didn't take that picture of the gun, it was a picture on Civil War Album I posted a link to when you wishing you had a picture...

While I study that campaign and have run all over the surrounding country, I've unfortunately never had a chance to go to Hindman Hall at the State Park or the battlefield! I've drove right by it though.
Thanks; I made the correction.
 
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Location
Southwest Mississippi
That is a great tribute James N. !

All of have us have had fall-outs with people that were once very close to us.
Your post is a reminder that we should not dwell on past issues, but at least forgive each other.

I know, that's difficult in many situations.
I also apologize for even going down that path.

But Covid claimed eight friends of mine last year, so I've been thinking about such more than I normally would ...

Anyway, a great tribute to your friend & (as usual) great behind the scenes photos !
 
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James N.

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A very nice tribute indeed. Without being wayward in the least. I was really curious about that super tall/big fellow beside you in the second photo. (probably size 13 shoe/boot).
Lubliner.
That's Barry Sandlin; last time I saw him was in 1998 when we were in a group that had chartered a Continental Trailways bus for a trip to the 135th anniversary Gettysburg reenactment. Barry was firmly in the camp of Jim Marrs as far as authenticity went - except when also reenacting WWII along with Jim when both were more attuned to portraying German Gibergsjagers! Barry's biggest "problem' - as with many other reenactors at this time - was his addiction to cigarettes, not unauthentic for WWII. (Jim invariably puffed on disgusting little black cigars; neither Glen nor I smoke!) Like his mentor, he soon lost interest in being either Federal or infantry and dropped out around the same time to concentrate on WWII.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Joined
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Location
Coffeeville, TX
Barry's biggest "problem' - as with many other reenactors at this time - was his addiction to cigarettes, not unauthentic for WWII.
Hey I resent that!:D

It is a big problem reenactors either smoke cigs, or cigars. Way too many on the cigars....

I had adopted a policy of smoking regular cigarettes when it didn't matter, and rolling my own/ripping filters off when it did matter, which was most of the time. But here recently a new tobacco shop that opened up where I live had some very period looking pipes for sale at a bargain. WAY more reasonable than what a lot of sutlers sell period style pipes for.

Now at events my tobacco stuffs will look more like this fellow in a zoomed in and enhanced photo of a CS soldier with a pipe in a buttonhole of his jacket in 1865 Richmond:
1617648719376.png

(Source and excellent research from FB when the excellent guys at Wambaugh and White looked them over.)
 

Lubliner

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A good thought @Rusk County Avengers. I for one have always been a connoisseur of fine smoking tobacco, and the only habit from it that disgusts me is the evidence of filter tosses. It is a matter of record that it can be an ugly nuisance and also a dangerous delight when improperly used. But to call it a financial drain, or a health issue excuse to me is an insult. :biggrin::biggrin: Nobody is the same ticket here, and we all have our own device, and what comforts some may bring agitation to others. So just don't eat a candy bar, and tell me something you don't do is bad for me. Just stretching with a yawn. Don't mean to sound disreputable, besides, I never have been a heavy smoker. I have been five foot nine inches and 120 pounds since I began at eighteen years of age! :rofl:
Lubliner.
 
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Rusk County Avengers

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Joined
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Location
Coffeeville, TX
A good thought @Rusk County Avengers. I for one have always been a connoisseur of fine smoking tobacco, and the only habit from it that disgusts me is the evidence of filter tosses. It is a matter of record that it can be an ugly nuisance and also a dangerous delight when improperly used. But to call it a financial drain, or a health issue excuse to me is an insult. :biggrin::biggrin: Nobody is the same ticket here, and we all have our own device, and what comforts some may bring agitation to others. So just don't eat a candy bar, and tell me something you don't do is bad for me. Just stretching with a yawn. Don't mean to sound disreputable, besides, I never have been a heavy smoker. I have been five foot nine inches and 120 pounds since I began at eighteen years of age! :rofl:
Lubliner.

I smoke so others may live...
 

James N.

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The single most annoying instance I recall was one dawn alongside the Hagerstown Turnpike fence overlooking the Cornfield at Antietam. (Of course it wasn't really either THE Turnpike or Cornfield because it was at the 125th anniversary reenactment in 1987.) We were in line of battle representing a Confederate regiment waiting for Hooker's morning assault - there were NO spectators and everything looked perfect in the dim morning light! Until that is the a**hole next to me who I didn't know nervously decided to light one up before the action started; that and his modern combat boots pretty much ruined what until then had been one of those otherwise memorable moments "like you were there"!
 

Lubliner

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The single most annoying instance I recall was one dawn alongside the Hagerstown Turnpike fence overlooking the Cornfield at Antietam. (Of course it wasn't really either THE Turnpike or Cornfield because it was at the 125th anniversary reenactment in 1987.) We were in line of battle representing a Confederate regiment waiting for Hooker's morning assault - there were NO spectators and everything looked perfect in the dim morning light! Until that is the a**hole next to me who I didn't know nervously decided to light one up before the action started; that and his modern combat boots pretty much ruined what until then had been one of those otherwise memorable moments "like you were there"!
I admit I do annoy myself with it sometimes. Smoke up the nose and in the eyes annoyance, but I culled as many good habits over the years regarding the 'right to smoke'; never inside, never in bed, never in someone else's dwelling even when they say it's ok. I had an army buddy for three years that would revile me for smoking in 'smokers' section' of a restaurant. I would just reply it was the smoking section, and if he wasn't a smoker he shouldn't be sitting there.
Anyway my gist at the tall big reenactor was wondering just how tall, and whether he was born a Texan, in all due respect.
Lubliner.
 

James N.

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... Anyway my gist at the tall big reenactor was wondering just how tall, and whether he was born a Texan, in all due respect.
Lubliner.
I'm not sure about Barry's height, but he certainly had the requisite Texan drawl. One story about his size however: As you may or may not know, in WWII German soldats wore a suspension system similar to suspenders known as Y straps that fitted over-the-shoulders and hooked onto the belt in the rear and two belt-worn cartridge pouches in front. In the early-mid 1970's the only source for things like this was to buy originals at gun shows. But Barry was so big he couldn't find any to fit him and had to resort to making a pair for himself!
 

Lubliner

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I'm not sure about Barry's height, but he certainly had the requisite Texan drawl. One story about his size however: As you may or may not know, in WWII German soldats wore a suspension system similar to suspenders known as Y straps that fitted over-the-shoulders and hooked onto the belt in the rear and two belt-worn cartridge pouches in front. In the early-mid 1970's the only source for things like this was to buy originals at gun shows. But Barry was so big he couldn't find any to fit him and had to resort to making a pair for himself!
A great set of pictures James, Thank you; Cheers!
Lubliner.
 
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