During the 2012 Memorial Day weekend (USA), I grabbed Honorable Sons number 3 and 5, along with Honorable Son number 3's girlfriend, and traveled to nearby Tannenhill State Park near Birmingham, AL for their annual American Civil War reenactment.
The reenactment, though not large compared to the famous battle reenactments, is still an enjoyable opportunity to watch "living history" and talk to individuals that are very informative and passionate about their reenactment hobby. Two fictional battles are fought each year: on Saturday the Confederacy wins and on Sunday the boys in blue win.
This year, as I walked around in the 95+ degree farenheit heat (35 degrees celcius) with my ice cold root beer, I couldn't help but notice how the participants in wool uniforms were faring! Many times that day I was thankful for the "modern" uniforms I wore during my military service. During the battle, we sat comfortably in the shade under trees while the participants fought the battle. Prior to the fight, I noticed more soldiers in full uniform:
Prior to the start of the battle, jackets were shed and gear reduced:
Fortunately there were no incidents with heat injuries. Still, it reminded me how brutal weather can impact military operations. I thought of the Battle of Gettysburg, fought July 1st - July 3rd; it was hot and men needed water. During my own military career, dehydration is always a concern. My hats off to the participants fighting in the Alabama heat.
Three other thoughts from the battle: Guns are noisy, they make a lot of smoke and it is hard to give orders when it's noisy and there's smoke! I hadn't fired a weapon in years, and when I did (except when deployed) I always wore ear protection. So you are leading your company, which is deployed in line and you want to point out the enemy that just appeared and . . . BOOM! BOOM! BOOM AND ANOTHER BOOM! " . . . No, I said Company . . . BOOM! BOOM! BOOM AND ANOTHER BOOM! I think you get the idea. Trying to control hundreds and thousands of men on a hot and smoky battlefield is not as easy as it looks.
Here are some pictures of the fight with forces advancing and firing. The hazy pictures are not bad pictures, that's the smoke.
The Union had 3 cannons and the Confederacy had 2 cannons.
Note the smoke covering the battlefield when the 2 Union cannons fired.
Makes command and control very interesting. Fog of war anyone?
Great time. Here are some other photos I snapped to use as painting guides for future American Civil War armies.