Saturday, June 09, 2007

Dixie Days Report

Our Saturday morning dawned sunny and hot but we dressed in Civil War attire and drove from last night's lodging to Ft. Eustis to pick up Jonathan for the day. He had inspection and wasn't available for an extra hour so we had to wait for him, but he changed quickly and we were on our way to the Dixie Days reenactment near Richmond.
Nina and Bob met us there, they'd come down last night from Baltimore as well...Jon enjoyed being at the reenactment and we spent time walking around looking and perusing the sutler's tents. Our unit had originally signed up for this event but since not enough of our members had committed to go, we cancelled. This event seemed small by our usual standards, but I think it's because we're used to being in the reenactment camps rather than walking around looking at wares at the sutlers.
Still, as usual, we all met some very interesting people along the way and enjoyed conversations with folks everywhere we went. I'd read that there was a full scale model of the CSS Hunley at the reenactment, and I wasn't disappointed.
The Hunley was the first submarine ever to sink an enemy ship during warfare. It, and the Housatonic went down near Charlestown. The Hunley's crew was lost as well. I was personally surprised at how tiny the sub really was. If you look closely, you can see a reenactor sittin in the space that was the interior of the sub, he had to crouch over and completely filled the tube in his section. There were 6 members in the sub, and they had one candle for light for the instruments as well as to let the crew know when it should go up to refill the cabin with more fresh air.
We stayed for the artillery display, they had 2 cannons fired during the exhibition. Jon was disappointed as he'd brought his Civil War Artillery certification card and probably would have liked to have helped or watched more closely, but the gun crew wasn't very talkative.
Our unit prides itself on our approachability and our interactions with spectators. We're a living history unit with our bylaws setting forth that we will teach as more as just participate. I guess that's the difference between us and some of the other units. As usual, and to be expected in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Confederate Units outnumbered the Union ones about 8 to 1. I think this would be a great event for our unit to help along, we are such a large and diverse unit we'd be a definite asset to the Reenactment. We'll see what the votes say next year during our planning meeting. :)

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