Civil War Reenactment (moto content lite)

A local history preservation group put on a small reenactment of the Battle Of Martinsville from the Civil War last weekend.

I love “living” history presentations. From the period clothing, tools, tents, and paraphernalia and vendors, to the reenacting of various historical events (accompanied by explanatory pamphlets), these history enthusiasts provide a far better education than anything I ever got in school.

Also, cannons! Live artillery demonstrations! What’s not to love?


Ok, so the ATVs in the above pic aren’t exactly period specific. The war probably would have gone a lot differently if the south could have pulled their cannons with ATVs instead of horses.


Yeah, I said the south. As a “damned yankee” by birth and former native of the north, it was a bit interesting to attend a civil war reenactment sponsored by the The Sons of Confederate Veterans, for a battle the south lost.


(I love that so many had authentic, genuine beards. No fake santa-esque stick-on beards, these southern gentlemen sport the real-deal in their every-day lives.)

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is a pretty active historical organization that regularly holds meetings to discuss military history and events, engages in preservation of Confederate soldier’s grave sites and other sites of historic significance, and participates in period reenactments.  Interestingly, their members are only men who are descendents of those who served in the Confederate armed forces.


As you can see, this was a smaller reenactment, and the Union “force” was made up of everyone they could find that had a Union uniform. Disappointingly, the cavalry group that was going to participate bowed out. This smaller event was held on dates right in between two major reenactments, so a lot of regulars declined participation to save their pennies for the bigger events.


Above, Union soldiers charge the confederate forces at the end of the battle for a hard-fought union victory. During the real battle on April 8th, 1865, the confederate forces were both outnumbered and outgunned.

Despite the important social and political issues surrounding the civil war, a big part of reenacting is just getting to learn about and play with period specific weapons technology. (Like I implied above, live artillery demonstrations probably account for a lot of the attendance to this reenactment event). In 1865, the Union forces at this battle were supplied with more modern breech-loading 7-round rifles (breech loading is how modern guns are loaded), while the confederate forces had single shot muzzle loading muskets.  Even if the confederate forces hadn’t been outnumbered, 7 shots for every one is a heck of a force multiplier.


Confederate forces above, Union below. This group puts on a good event, and has some really knowledgeable people. Reenactments are pretty fun and cheap entertainment. If the cavalry comes, I’ll probably go again next year.


And finally, obligatory moto content. Ok, maybe not obligatory, but we rode to the reenactment, and played a little moto tag afterwards, so obviously I have to include a pic. Also, the weather skipped spring last weekend, and went straight to summer. How those poor guys didn’t pass out from heat stroke in those wool uniforms I’ll never know.


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