June 24, 2014 - No Comments
by Jim Barnes
The 125th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of New Market, Virginia, was my first experience in Reenacting in May of 1989. So it was fitting that I made it back for the 150th this year, also the 25th year in the hobby for myself and Mark Tennant, 1st Sgt. of our unit, Co. A, First West Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Always one of my favorite events, New Market features a beautiful locale and an event located on an important part of the original battlefield. The Virginia Museum of the Civil War (Hall of Valor) , is also located on the site. VMI, whose cadets had a pivotal role in the actual battle, owns and administers the battlefield.
While at times with this event, the weather has been nasty (rain and mud was a significant part of the real battle re: the field of lost shoes) this year the weather was great. Although there was some standing water and mud from a rain on Thursday, we had mostly sunny with pleasant temperatures all weekend. My wife Linda and I stayed just down the road in a conveniently located hotel, so we did not have to deal with the residual rain. I have gotten to the age where sleeping on the ground is not the option that it used to be.
One of the most interesting parts of the weekend was an opportunity to make the acquaintence of an English couple who had come for the reenactment. The lady’s great-grand uncle was a soldier in Company C of the real First West Virginia and was present at the battle in 1864. Our commanding officer talked with the overal Union commander and made sure that, as family of an original soldier, they got special seating for the battle on Sunday.
The battle on Sunday was pretty much what I remembered from previous years, although, the real VMI cadets broke loose from their Confederate officers and stormed through to the cannon that they were supposed to take rather prematurely, ignoring the crowd of Union soldiers they were running though. This probably didn’t look very realistic. The frustrated Confederate commander supposedly told his Union counterparts that he “just lost control of them.” Despite the few glitches, we had a very enjoyable trip.
This was a great weekend in a great setting and one that had special meaning for me.