Shall We Gather At The River Of... Ice?

Saturday, it looked like this:

Sunday, (while it was still VERY cold) this happened:

We filled 1 1/2 tables just with our guests...

a big thank you to all who were there!!


The Battle of Ball's Bluff- Leesburg, VA October 21, 1861

Saturday, October 22nd, we went to a Civil War re-enactment near Leesburg, Virginia. 
Confederate victory (that's for you, March family).
But it was a spectacular sight.

Just before the battle, mother,
I am thinking most of you,
While upon the field we're watching
With the enemy in view.
Comrades brave are 'round me lying,
Filled with thoughts of home and God
For well they know that on the morrow,
Some will sleep beneath the sod.
-Just before the battle, mother source

We shall meet, but we shall miss him.
There will be one vacant chair.
ile we breathe our ev'ning pr
We shall linger to caress him
While we breathe the ev'ning prayer.
- the Vacant Chair  source

There are the remains of many men buried in this cemetery. Only one of the bodies was recognizable and has a name on the tombstone. It's the large one at the head of the semi-circle.

Ellie wanted to see inside the wall.

As did Sam.

Ellie in her full costume.

The only route of escape for the Union soldiers was to swim the Potomac. In October. At midnight. After fighting almost non-stop since 6 AM. And because the uniforms and arms were so heavy, they had to strip to their skivvies. 

Those who weren't shot in the river by the Rebel troops, died of pneumonia on the other side. Precious few survived.

It was on these bluffs (below) that the Confederate soldiers stood and fired blindly into the black, moonless night toward the river, and the Federals.

Here is my costume:

The rifles stacked.

This Union soldier told us all about the battle, cannons, and arms.

No more shall the war cry sever
Or the winding rivers be red;

They banish our anger forever

    When they laurel the graves of our dead!

Under the sod and the dew,

Waiting the judgment-day,

Love and tears for the Blue,

Tears and love for the Gray.

- The Blue and The Gray source

Union, Confederate, death favors none;
No matter political sight.
Yet Christ has sufficient compassion
To turn any from wrong to the right.
- The Waters of Shiloh source

Here's the Union tents.

And the camp.

This lady was telling us all about housekeeping in the camps.

Cooking...how about trying to work with these!

Emma's hair looks *spectacular*, if I do say so myself.

Just the right time of year for apples!

This gentleman told us about camp life.
He also told us how accurate Emma's costume was.

Old Glory!

Sam tries on a genuine wool, hand-knitted hat.

The Rebels line up.

A Union scout.

The troops watch for the advancing Confederates.

Girls hanging out.

My little Union man.


These guys look farther away in the picture. In reality, we'd have been able to reach out and touch them.

The ranks on the other side.

One of the small troops of Confederates.
The sides were practically 1 on 1. However, in this particular re-enactment, the numbers were in favor of the Union-  3 to 1.

Just for you, Jo March--- the "Stars & Bars".

The Confederates force the Union troops into a retreat.

All in all, it was an awesome day, a fun day, a sobering day.

I know I joke quite a bit about Union versus Confederate, but the truth is, none of it is glorious. I'm glad the North won. 
Slavery is wrong. 
Separation is fatal. 
Many, many man and boys lost their lives in this War. 

One last story before I sign off.

In the original fight, the one of the Confederate flag-bearers was red-headed, 6 foot something, and his belief in what he was fighting for was so moving, that, years after the war ended, 6 Union men who survived the battle of Ball's Bluff, set up a monument to that boy. He died in another battle at age 21 and was buried in the National Cemetery with honor.

Read all about the battle here.