Monday, August 10, 2009

The Blue and the Gray

This weekend we time traveled back to the civil war era, and all it took was a fairly quick drive over to Hovander Homestead Park in Ferndale where a reenactment group, The Washington Civil War Association, was camped for the weekend. They had several events throughout the day, but of course the battle was the most dramatic.

The encampment was very authentic, and soldiers moved all about the area as we walked around.

The artillery officer moving to his position with the canon.

Civilians were also bystanders at this conflict. The scout below talks to a woman near the battle field.

The great thing is that there were men and also women fighting this day in uniform at Hovander, which many people do not realize was what truly occured in reality. The farther rider in this shot below is female. At least 250 women, and probably more, served on both sides of the war, disguised as men. "They Fought Like Demons" is a fascinating study about women soldiers in the American Civil War, and attempts to reconstruct the reasons why women entered the armed forces during this era. Some women followed loved ones, some wanted the freedom mostly denied them in normal society as females, and others were simply patriotic. Unlike their male counterparts, female civil war era soldiers were denied medals, pensions, benefits or any public acknowledgement of their contributions. The official stance was simply that women did not serve, despite any evidence to the contrary. The irony that we still today debate whether or not women can be soldiers is deafening. Women have always served, so I think people should just hang up that tired sexist notion.

The battle lines formed up much as they might have in the day with the smoke from canon fire drifting the field.

Drums and bugles sounded, and a drummer is seen marching below with the troops. I would think this red uniform would have made the young boy drummer here a considerable target.

Across the field those fighting in gray formed up as well.

There was an array of union uniform styles represented by the ranks.

And as the fire continued to be exchanged, casualties mounted. We had a pretty decent taste of what a real battle like this might have been like, but with live munition, screams of the wounded, and dieing, hell on earth was probably not an exaggeration about how it really was.

The canon was quite impressive in person! Louder than it appears in the video I must say.

All and all a very entertaining and educational day.

We have much left on our plate here at Seven Trees before snow flies, and sadly the days already grow shorter as it gets dark a little sooner now in the evening already. Still, it was well worth losing a day off to have enjoyed this.

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