My first day to arrive at the reenactment site was late Friday afternoon. Registered, and was immediately given all the information I need to join up with the 26th Texas who welcomed all of us from the 7th Texas.
Saturday morning, April and Kirk Barnett, Mark Hanna, Ron and William Paynter arrived and set up camp with the 26th Texas. We then had the opportunity to relax a little before the reenactment. Despite the remote location of the reenactment, there was a good turn out of the public. We had the opportunity to share with them the history of the weapons. April also shared with the women the history of her clothing and other ornaments. So the turn out from the general public was very good.
We then marched out toward the battlefield, down past a large pond of water through some deep washes, and made our way past a rounded hill where we took position behind the Confederate canons out of sight of the Union. But after holding our position there for a short while, the Union Cavalry discovered our location and fired a few volleys into us. We were then ordered out in the field immediately, covering the right flank of the infantry. We drove
back the Union Cavalry on at least two occasions. We continuously fought down the hill, driving the Union forces back.
As we continued to drive the Union back down the hill, which took some hard fighting, and drove them up nearly into the bleachers where the public was viewing the contest, I was running short of ammunition by this time and so was the Union. After the Union had been cornered against the spectators and the fence, they then surrendered to us, giving us a glorious victory that Saturday.
I attended the reenactment on Sunday, but our 7th Texas comrades reluctantly returned home Saturday evening due to other obligations. I know I enjoyed being with our 7th Texas, and appreciated the hospitality of the 26th Texas.
The weather there was excellent for the reenactment. Not too hot, and not too cold. The rain did not affect us at all; a nice cool, cloudy day.
The weekend before the event, James Watson (Crockett event coordinator) called. He asked if Stuart could call the re-enactor dance at the Crockett event. Initially our schedule had kept us from attending the event, but it had just cleared for the weekend. So as a result, part of the Lane family committed to go to Crockett. Nathan and I made the trip from Arlington to Crockett by way of College Station to pick up Ginger. Her assistance proved invaluable at the dance.
The 4+ hour trip on Saturday ended in the piney woods and the rolling hills of Crockett, Texas. The rain that had been threatening to wash away the whole event quickly passed through before we arrived. The reenactment site was adjacent to the Crockett Civic Center as it was 2 years ago, but the sutlers had been moved to the Civic Center grounds major improvement. The camps were in an area next to a gently sloping lush green field. The field provided a large open area to fight and gave spectators and reenactors alike a tremendous view of the field. A dense wood line 2/3 of the way back provided opportunities for surprise and maneuver.
The Battle of Crockett.
We quickly located the Celtaire Band and finalized preparations for the dance that night. There was not a moment to lose because the battle was about to begin. We anticipated that we would fall in with the 11th Texas Cavalry as Confederates. However, with the acute shortage of Yankees, we joined up to fight for the Union. The 173rd New York Infantry were gracious enough to count us as their own. No ugly comments were heard about dismounted cavalry! We marched away from the camps and set up our ambush behind the dense woods. Because the battlefield was covered with POWERFUL pyrotechnics, we all eagerly anticipated an explosive performance. We were not disappointed.
The plan was to hide in the woods and ambush James Watsons carriage. He was out for a carriage ride not knowing that Yankees where nearby. The ambush would provoke the Confederates into attacking the Federals in order to defend the Confederate camp. Meanwhile in the woods, I found that Yankee blue does not repel fire ants, especially when you stand on their bed. Nathan graciously assisted picking off the 5,000 ants that invaded my trousers. Not long after the ants were cleared off, the battle began as Federal and Confederate artillery fired on each other.
Great clouds of dirt were thrown into the air, drifting gently down the field and showering unwary spectators. After a few minutes, the order came to form up and attack. We marched out onto the field and came under immediate cannon fire. One charge exploded right next to us covering us with a thick layer of brown dirt. Thus in one stroke, we changed from blue to brown. Unfortunately the Confederates were not fooled; their fire came in hot and heavy. We were able to keep sufficient fire on the enemy to keep them from being too aggressive.
Bad things began to happen. Our commanding officer and sergeant were killed within minutes of each other. Constant cannon fire decimated our ranks. Yet despite all, our corporal rallied the remaining troops and attacked the enemy. His bravery was rewarded with death to himself and all under his command. Nevertheless, the Confederates, considering the Federal artillery and mounted cavalry, were reluctant to take possession of the field and prudently remained content to protect their camp. At last, hostilities ended for the day and all combatants rose from the dead.
The event had a number of artillery pieces and mounted horsemen. The battle was clearly dominated by the artillery and the pyrotechnics. The mounted cavalry had a good turnout and put on a good show, constantly crisscrossing the field with charges and counter charges. The Federal cavalry managed to keep the Confederate cavalry from flanking the blue infantry. Unfortunately, the dismounted cavalry and infantry were far too few in number. Nevertheless, we had fun and made new friends.
The Dance at Crockett.
After the battle Nathan and I collected Ginger from the spectator lines and headed to the Pavilion where the dinner and the dance were scheduled. There, Nathan graciously volunteered to be one of the judges for the Blue-Gray Bakeoff. The winner was the Old Fashioned Tea Cakes by Linda Ford. (I found a copy of the recipe on the ground after the dance.) The dinner of fried catfish got off to a late start, but once it was started, everyone ate their fill. I began the dance right after dinner. The enthusiastic reenactors participated in the Grand March, Virginia Reel, Spanish Waltz, waltzes, and other dances. The dance continued until everyone was ready to retire for the evening. Nathan, Ginger, and I retired to a Holiday Inn Express just down the road for the night.
The next morning, blessed by another hour from Daylight Savings Time, we packed up and headed for College Station. There we attended church with Ginger at Grace Bible Church and were inspired by an excellent message. After church, Ginger treated Nathan and I to all-you-can-eat at Sbisa Dining Hall on the Texas A&M campus. After our loving good-byes, Nathan and I headed home. Thus ended the 3rd annual Civil War reenactment of Crockett, Texas.