These history buffs and enthusiasts often travel across the country to participate in encampments and battle re-enactments. Often they don’t know what parts they will play until they arrive on site. It all depends on how many people show up. Nearly all items of clothing are hand made and personally owned. My wife, Frankie, not only participated in re-enactments, she also sewed costumes for herself and other participants. Most re-enactors own both Confederate and Union uniforms. These are just a few of the participants at this weekend’s event.
Smithy working iron.
Loading a cap and ball pistol.
Confederate Calvary with families
Southern belles in hoop skirts
Union officer drilling troops
Union commanding general
Confederate drummer boy wearing “captured” Union kepi. All that would be needed to play the part of a Union drummer would be a uniform jacket and turning the canteen which reads CSA (Confederate States of America) on one side while the Union “US” logo is stamped on the other.
Nurses behind the Union skirmish line, waiting to bring water to the troops and aid the wounded…..
….. and their Confederate counterparts. Often these “Angels of Mercy” tended to the fallen from both sides as the battle lines shifted leaving the wounded intermingled and scattered across the battle field.
There are times when more than enough “nurses and belles” show up at an encampment. If you look closely at this image you’ll see that the third soldier from the right and the fourth from the left in white shirt with the yellow cavalry band on the kepi are actually women. When my wife was doing Civil War re-enactments in college she always loved the opportunity to change into a uniform, pick up a rifle and “fight”.
For more on the equipment used during this event check out today’s post on my other page Virginia Through My Lens.
THE BOSS has been plotting with her sister again. Tomorrow we’re loading up Godzilla, stopping to pick up said sister and her long suffering husband, Fish Hook, and we’re all going to Saltville for the re-enactment of the Battle of Saltville.
I have mixed emotions. Any road trip is a great opportunity for photos. Since the girls will undoubtedly banish me, Fish Hook and the small red horse to the back seat I’ll sit on the left side where I can shoot from the window more easily. My injuries left me with limited range of motion when it comes to turning to the right but I can do left real good!
The article in the local paper said that in addition to the civil war encampment and battle re-enactment they’re going to have a few other events including a skillet toss. Frankie should have little trouble winning that judging by the velocity she employees when whacking me on the headbone with one.
I should have some great photos to post tomorrow……unless I’m in the ER getting a new crop of headbone lumps looked at.
According to the National Weather Service:
Our indoor/outdoor thermometer is reading 94 °F (34 °C), it is HUMID and the hottest part of the day is still to come. It is so oppressive out there that Buddy opted to bark at a cat from the shade on the porch rather than chasing it!
Thank God for air conditioning! ours is working just fine and, thanks to a rare bout of common sense, I’ll be staying indoors where I can breathe. Even if I could tolerate the weather it would be near impossible to shoot any pictures with my glasses fogged up. That’s how I know the A/C is working properly!
Redneck tip for 4th of July safety: If you hear someone holler “Hey y’all, watch this!” DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE FLASH!
Monday is Memorial Day here in the United States, a day we pause to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation. This is a poignant day for our family which has a long tradition of military service, especially on my mother’s side. She traces her roots back to one of the Pilgrims on theMayflower which brought the settlers to Plimoth Plantation in the Massachusetts Colony in 1620. Among Mom’s distant relatives are many famous patriots, including Paul Revere and Samuel Chase, and 2 presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
During the Indian uprising known as King Philip’s War one of Mom’s ancestors was the first member of our family to die in the defense of this nation even before it became a nation. Many more have followed including one of my father’s relatives who died from wounds suffered at the Battle of Shiloh in the American Civil War.
Frankie’s family also has a long tradition of military service. Unfortunately like many in rural America the family history was recorded in the family bible. The whereabouts of that treasured history of Frankie’s family as well, as my father’s, is unknown. What is known was handed down by word of mouth. We know that Frankie’s of Scots-Irish descent, her grandfather fought in theSpanish American War and her step-father was wounded at Anzio in World War II. She can remember her grandfather telling of seeing Union occupation troops patrolling Wytheville during Reconstruction. Beyond that little is known.
The following photos are of but a small fraction of our honored veterans.
Mom served in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman X-Ray Technician During World War II and the Korean Conflict. She was a member of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). That’s her in “Boot Camp” in 1944.
This is Mom and Dad on their wedding day in 1953. They met when they were both stationed at the Naval hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.
This shot of my dad (below) was an official Navy photo made just before he retired in 1968 as a Chief Petty Officer after 26 years service. A veteran of World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam and numerous “brushfire wars” and conflicts around the world Dad was Old Navy, also known as the Rocks and Shoals Navy.
In those days Chiefs ran the Navy. If a Chief issued an order and a subordinate didn’t like it the matter was settled out of uniform with bare knuckles on the “fantail” or stern of the ship where there were no officers to witness the proceedings. If the sailor won he got to do as he pleased. It was a rare occasion when a Chief’s orders weren’t carried out and every Chief I knew growing up had scarred knuckles and a beer belly. Dad was no exception. He was a hard charging, hard drinking sailor man.
Dad passed away at the age of 79 on July 4, 2003. I think it was fitting that a man who devoted a third of his life to the service and defense of his nation should go to his reward on the anniversary of his nation’s birth.
Arnold Ray Allen CSC, US Navy (ret)
1 December 1923- 4 July 2003
Fair winds and following seas, Chief
”Home is the sailor, home from the sea, and the hunter home from the hill.”
Two of dad’s brother’s, Bob (above) and Paul (below,on the left), followed him into the Navy and each retired with over 20 years service. The photo of Uncle Bob was taken when he was on liberty while stationed aboard the USS Wasp in World War II. Uncle Paul was too young for WWII but served on the USS Iowa during the Korean conflict and the shot below was taken aboard the USS New London County in Vietnam.
Mom’s brother, Putnam, was a US Army helicopter mechanic as was their brother David.
Her cousins, George Currier (above) and Herbert Lord (below) served in the US Army during World War II. George is a direct descendant of the famous American lithographer Nathaniel Currier, partner of James Merritt Ives, better known as the Currier & Ives f====irmame.
That’s me, 19 years old, in my“crew blues” on the first day of Combat Crew Upgrade training while assigned to the 308th Strategic Missile Wing, a component of the Strategic Air Command, at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Arkansas.Within 6 months of that shot I had a “pocket rocket” or Missileer’s Badge on my left breast pocket and 2 more stripes on my sleeve. I served a tour on a 4 man Missile Combat Crew in the Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system. Yes, I was one of the men manning the silos waiting for Jimmy Carter to “push the button” if World War III were to break out.
After growing up a Navy brat with Mom, Dad and 2 uncles in the Navy, living in Navy towns all my life and being surrounded by sailors for as long as I could remember, to say Dad was upset when he learned that I had enlisted in the USAF to avoid being drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam as a grunt is a monumental understatement. It was almost a year before he would even speak to me!
After 5 years in the regular USAF I transferred into the USAF Reserves where I cross trained and served as a Pararescueman for the next 9 years, much of it on active duty just like the regular “blue suiters”. I can’t go into a lot of detail about my days as a “PJ” but suffice it to say that we were no “weekend warriors”.
This is just a small fragment of my family’s military service but it’s all I have access to at the moment. my sister, Sharon, is the family genealogy whizz. We’ve lost touch over the years but if she’s still blogging you can be sure she’ll have much more detail and dozens of photos.
After mowing the lawn this morning Buddy and I spent some time outdoors enjoying a summer like day and experimenting with my new telephoto lens. I think I’m getting a handle on it but I’ll continue to practice, practice. practice. At least my forearms aren’t aching too badly from holding that 4 lb. monster up.
Incidentally, with the steep corporate discount, courtesy of the company I was working for when I had my accident, combined with the close out discount offered by the supply house I purchased this lens from my actual cost was less than half that quoted on the Sigma catalog page the first link takes you to.
Frankie had Godzilla today so Buddy and I were sticking close to home. These are a few of the best shots I managed to capture from the front porch at an average range of 15 to 20 yards. I can’t wait to get out and about with my new gear, especially on the beach next month when we go home on vacation.
If you’d like to see larger views of today’s images just click on the images from the gallery below.
If you would like to insert slide shows into your WordPress posts a step by step tutorial can be found here. Puzzle, a talented, creative and prolific blogger gave me the link a while back when I was still learning my way around here. I have followed her blogs since my first post on Windows Live Spaces a little over two years ago. Thank you, Heide for your friendship, knowledge and inspiration!
This photo, taken in 1958 on Chic’s Beach where I grew up, illustrates why I still have sand and salt water in my veins. I’ve been a beach rat most of my life. That large boxer dog, Pete, was my protector from birth and best buddy. According to the pedigree papers that came with him when Dad won him as a pup in a poker game in Port Deposit, Maryland, his real name was Conawingo’s Royal Flush but I always knew him as Pete.
It’s ironic that this is one of the earliest shots I have with Dad in it. His ashes were spread just offshore from this piece of shoreline after his death on July 4, 2003. That he passed away on the anniversary of our nation’s birth seemed fitting for a man who gave nearly a third of his life in service of his country.
Dad was in the US Navy, as was Mom when they met. Mom was discharged in 1953, after 9 years service, when she became pregnant with me, and put down roots in the laid back beach community of Chesapeake Beach (Chic’s to locals) in the northwest corner of what was to become Virginia Beach to raise me and my siblings while Dad traveled the world, eventually retiring in 1968 after 26 years of service.
I’ve done my fair share of traveling, as well, in my 50 plus years as a Navy brat, US Air Force enlisted man and as a civilian. No matter how far I’ve roamed over the years I have always returned to this stretch of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay , at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, to recharge my soul.
As I type I can almost taste the salt air and hear the gentle hiss of the water kissing the sand.