Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Battlefield Hike - GETT

Our guide, Supervisory Historian Scott Hartwig.

This experience really gave me a new appreciation for the old cliche about walking a mile in another man's shoes. For our final activity of the day, we armed ourselves, donned our brogans, frockcoats and keppies and followed Scott as he led us on a four and a half mile long hike along the trails of the battlefield.

It was nearly 90 degrees out, and it didn't take long for the rifles and gear we were loaded with to start feeling extremely heavy, especially as we made our way up steep hills. Comparatively speaking, however, we had little to complain about other than the heat. Our gear was much lighter than a typical Civil War soldier's, and our march was not only mercifully short, but ended in a BBQ picnic. So we had neither the anxiety of being ambushed, nor the need to forage for provisions that would have been typical for a soldier during a long campaign.

Cavalryman Schade and her trusty Sharps Carbine.

For the march, I wore a Union cavalryman's uniform (hence the golden piping on the jacket). I was armed with a Sharps Carbine rifle - which is a highly accurate breech-loading firearm. Compare this to the weapon I fired earlier in the day, or the ones propped up beside me, which are muzzle-loaders that require ramrods to load.

Marching along the battlefield.

We managed to draw the curiosity of visitors nearly wherever we went, and often had to stop due to requests for photographs.

Two Rebs and a Yank, traveling in mixed company (awful pun intended).

Despite the heat of the day, both the Union and Confederate soldiers remain in good spirits.

Marching on our stomachs and talking about food as we make our way on the last leg of our march to Slider Farm, our objective for the evening.

At this point, I was hot, disgustingly sweaty, and carrying my rifle barrel had created a large welt on my right collarbone, but all I could think about was sitting down in the grass and relaxing with some food and drink. Once we arrived, that's exactly what we did. It was quite a day!

Our gear, propped up against a barn at the Slider Farm while we ate.

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