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Shiloh

150th Gettysburg Reenactment

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Just last week, I was honored to take part in the 150th Battle of Gettysburg reenactment in Gettysburg, PA. There were roughly 10,000 reenactors on both sides. The scenarios were pretty decent although it seemed like my unit always got sent in at the end and never caught the brunt of the action. Pickett's Charge however was classic and I will never forget the 5,000 Confederates marching towards us and the carnage we inflicted on their ranks in just a few short minutes. Here are some photos and I'll post more when I get the chance.

 

That's me kneeling down two to the left of the standing officers with my hand on my chin pondering the impending Pickett's Charge.

 

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Damn, that looks like you could well be all employed for a movie like "Gods & Generals" -

so many blue tunics, and the guns look really old too.

 

I wonder: did the grey ones each know, where they had to play being hit, and fall?

Or does everybody play it "by ear"?

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Depending on the scenario Olham, guys know they need to take hits to keep with the actual casualty rates. On certain scenarios we drew cards (ie; wounded on the advance, killed on the advance, wounded on the retreat, survived the battle, etc,). Many of these images are from Pickett's Charge and as we know the Confederates were decimated.

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Glad to see you post about this. I watched several programs last week about the battles and was thinking about your reenactment.

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Thank you, Shiloh. Wether each man knows exactly where to fall or not - it seems to work well anyway.

I guess I would be drawn back in time, right into this battle. Not sure how that would feel though.

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Looks like you did a fine job recreating our history.  I think schools should make more use of reenactors to teach a living history.  I am amazed at how little some of our younger people know nothing of the Civil War or could care less about history at all.   I am a firm believer you have to know where you have been to see where you are going.  I see by your photos there were alot of Iron Brigade members in the one photo.  They may just like that Black Hat.  I hope your experience was great and you have many memories for a lifetime.

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Thanks Shiloh, for the post, I was really interested in you relating your experiences. I have been to Gettysburg and found it to be a very good interpretive site. I had the chance to speak with site staff interpreters who were fully dressed as union cavalry and riding on the site.  I suspect much of your re-enactment was filmed and will be on the web site http://totalgettysburg.com/

 

How was the weather for you during your stay?

 

Best Regards;

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Thanks for your comments gents. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. We lived outside for 4 days in a rather large Union camp comprising roughly 4,000 soldiers and music abounded, along with campfires, cooking and camp activities. It rained every day although not during our actual reenactments. It was a challenge keeping our clothes dry. If we didn't get rained on we were dripping from sweat in the 85-90 degree heat so one way or another we were always wet it seemed.

 

I try and leave modern conveniences in the car such as flashlights, etc. (although some bring them) and the first night I got lost in the wee hours of the morning in the Union camp without a light. I must have wandered around for 2 hours before I finally found my camp. I had begun picking out suitable spots where I could sleep on the ground as I was sure I would not find my pards.

 

It was grueling at times out on the field due to the heat. They did a good job of getting ice out to us when our canteens were running low. Due to inept commanders, many of our scenarios were botched. At one point we charged across the Wheatfield only to have to double-quick it all the way across the battlefield up hills to secure our flank. I thought some of our 60+ year-old guys were going to drop but they are a bunch of tough old soldiers.

 

Pickett's Charge however was epic and you could just sense the tragedy of it all as the Confederates were advancing toward our stone wall in an effort that was doomed to fail. We fired over the heads of another regiment in front of us and when the Confederates overextended our flank, we double-quicked it, reformed and put a volley into them that made them stagger and drop back. We chanted "Fredericksburg, Fredericksburg" in a slight taunt in reference to the battle in December of the previous year in which the Union troops made a similar charge against a stone wall and were repelled with heavy losses.

 

Then when a small band of Confederates stood defiant in the field over all the carnage, we were ordered to advance on them. We stepped over and around the wounded as they writhed on the ground all the while announcing "mind the wounded" so our rear ranks knew to watch their step.

 

In answer to one of your comments, we have young teenagers who have joined our group as musicians due to their interest in the Civil War. Their fathers ended up joining with them as they need a parent around but it was the young boys who first showed interest in the Civil War. So there is hope.

 

Videos will be available here and there is also a trailer on that site. Although I am adept at taking photos and videos, I declined to do so as I wanted the authentic 1863 experience. I have a sketch pad and I plan on sketching in camp in the future.

Edited by Shiloh

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Awesome you could be there Shiloh. Sounds like it was a good turn out. I was in the 125th Anniversary Gettysburg Reenactment (I believe thats the correct #), and it was huge. I'm sure you guys had even more turn out, as people tend to gravitate towards large round numbers. Props to going full realism as well. Nothing gets you as close to experiencing the real thing. I recall one 4 day event I went to in Maryland where it wasn't an event for the spectators, but the reenactors only, and my unit was acting as a rear guard for a main body of Lee's Army Of Northern Virginia. So in essence, we set up ambushes for the pursuing bluecoats, waited till the last moment, attacked, and then withdrew at a full run into the forests woods and streams, only to keep ahead the enemy, regroup, and do it all again. This event covered roughly 25 square miles, and it just unfolded as it happened....no script. Was really interesting when the Yanks decided we had torn up thier pursuing infantry advance guard enough and called in some cavalry to deal with us instead. There's nothing quite like getting charged by cavalry....lets just say I know why Wellington's boys liked those prickly squares at Waterloo so much. All in all, after non stop running with over 30lbs of gear, including whatever you ate cause there is no stopping for cooking either, wading through streams and being soaked to the skin in semi-freezing rain for 3.5 days, I got home and went to bed sick, and have never been more worn out. And that's all without the stress of really potentially being killed involved. Frankly, I stand amazed at these individuals. I don't know how they did it, and they didn't get to go home after three days.....simply amazing.

 

ZZ.

Edited by zoomzoom

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Thanks for posting these Shiloh.  As a one time Civil War wargamer, I found them very interesting.  Makes me want to get the 'Fire and Fury' rules out again.

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Nice one Shiloh.

 

I think it's great that guys like you keep History alive.

 

Living just a few miles from Hadrians Wall here in the UK...I look forward every summer to the Roman Re-enactments we get here.

 

It really does bring History Alive!

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I do somewhere Olham..and some medieval knights too...I'll try and dig them out for you :)

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I wonder: did the grey ones each know, where they had to play being hit, and fall?

Or does everybody play it "by ear"?

A friend of mine, who has done Civil War re-enacting for years now, has told me (on several occasions) that the Confederates (the grey guys) have a great reluctance to fall down on cue. Of course, Mark is a Union soldier. But it seems as thought the Union troops have to fire three volleys in re-enactments to do the work of one volley in real life.

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... the Confederates (the grey guys) have a great reluctance to fall down on cue.

 

That's what I was thinking about.

When we played "Cowboys & Indians" as kids, one might have shouted "Bang! You're dead!"

And the other responded "No, I'm not! You missed!"

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When we played "Cowboys & Indians" as kids, one might have shouted "Bang! You're dead!"

And the other responded "No, I'm not! You missed!"

I remember it well.

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