2005 has been a busy and successful season for 1st Maine. The unit continues to improve and increase it's skills. Even the horses are becoming stalwart veterans. That was put to an interesting test at...
Summer of 62 ~ August 26-28
This event was portraying the notable battles of the 2nd Manassass Campaign. Our big role being the charge of the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry at Cedar Mountain. 8 of us made it to the event on a weekend that was generally wet and gloomy. Despite the weather we drilled and drilled to make sure we had our act together for a charge along the front of one battalion and the spectaters, towards another battalion, wheeling 180° and headed pel-mel to where we started.
The organizers of the event made a point of holding very detailed walk-throughs on each scenario 2 hours before it's scheduled start. This way everyone knows their role, what to do, and when. Our role was to first represent the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry and hold off the Confederate cavalry until their infantry forced us to fall back. When we did fall back it was up a hill and through a break in the woods to what's best described as "back-stage." We would then work our way to the Federal right and, on cue, charge as the 1st Pennsylvania.
It's at this point you expect to read of how everything fell apart, but not so. We skirmished with the enemy cavalry for a few minutes when their infantry began to arrive and deploy. We kept up our skirmishing waiting for the infantry to fire so the reason for our retreat was apparent to the audiance. Once they opened fire, we fell back up the hill to the tree line, then funnelled into the break past a gun emplaced there. We then moved out of sight of the spectaters to the Federal right and waited behind the troops representing Caldwell's men to rush in for their part of the show. We were joined by 4 of the "Littlefork Rangers" bringing our numbers up to 11. When the signal came out we charged in a column of fours. In no time the column wheeled right about and was headed back for the wood line from which we emerged. The Littlefork boys left on the field playing casualties as the Federal troops retreated up the hill - and so ended the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
We spent most of the weekend riding around the site and drilling. Our final role was simply play a provost line during the Sunday battle.
Burkittsville ~ September 9-11
Burkittsville in 2001 was one of the unit's first mounted events. It was a good event, but we really didn't get to be part of it. This year was not 2001. We had an additional 4-and-a-half mile loop more than the infantry's march, and then another 3 miles to get into Burkittsville - a mile of that across farmland with the Confederate cavalry contesting every step. For us, Burkittsville was one of the better events of the year thanks the the tenacity and excellent choreography of the Confederate horsemen.
We spearheaded the entrance into town with a charge across the Ruritan Club's lawn, then split up and ran off Confederates to the North and South of the main road. We then supported the infantry as they pushed the Rebels back to their wall west of town.
Sunday had us flanking the Confederates on their wall as the infantry assaulted their front. They fell back into a wood and we skirted their left until the the woods became to thick to navigate. We then headed up to Crampton's Gap for a planned ceremony that didn't pan out. Rested a bit and headed down the west side of the mountain back to our vehicles. In all we covered some 25 miles over the weekend.
Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area and many folks of the old 2nd Maine lived in the affected area. Robert Williams found his home in 12 feet of water along with his collection of 2nd Maine artifacts - just how much was lost is still undetermined.
2005 has been a banner reenacting year for 1st Maine. Yet our friends hit by Katrina, and the loss of Lew Barber
last April make it bittersweet.
Bugle #10 ~ Bugle #12