Spent this last weekend at a Civil War reenactment at Pilot Knob, Missouri. The event was a recreation of the Battle of Fort Davidson. The assault took place in 1864 as part of Sterling Price's raid into Missouri. The reenactment took place on the same ground as the original fight. The Federals spent part of the reenactment battles inside the original earthworks.
Left home fairly early Friday morning since the drive was a little over eight hours. Had a decent trip across Missouri and managed to get into the event with plenty of daylight. Got Mrs. Spiff and her new wall tent set up in the civilian camp. Then it was off to the Confederate camp. Had little trouble locating battalion staff. They informed me that I was the first member of the 9th to check in and showed me where to locate the company street.
After stepping off the necessary area for the 1st Sergeant's tent, I got my own canvas up. Another member of the 9th showed up while I was locating my tent. I offered to help him set up as well but he demurred. Captain Cox and several other men showed up around dusk. Helped him and the guys with him unload and get set up. By this time it was dark. Conferred with Mrs. Spiff and we headed off to the local Subway for a quick dinner. After dinner I got Mrs. Spiff and the kiddos situated at their tent and then parked the van before heading back to camp.
When I got back in I found that several more men had arrived. Participation was looking good. Got caught up with those present and then decided to hit the sack. Had a good night's rest even with a couple of interruptions from late-arriving troops.
Saturday dawned clear and cool but didn't take long to warm up decently. Following roll call we had a quick breakfast and then Mrs. Spiff arrived. She was not having a good morning. Sis had not adjusted well to being out again and now bedding had to be washed. I ended up with the three wee ones while Mrs. Spiff did clean-up duty. While I was watching the small fry drill time rolled around. Had Spiff Jr. take over the supervision of his sisters with strict instructions to stay in camp. He did wonderfully and was relieved by Mom during drill.
Drilled as a company and as a battalion. Good to knock the rust off. Nice to see the new recruits catching on quickly. There were two men who were at their first event and one who had but two outings previously. After drilling for well over an hour we were released to our own devices. Took Mrs. Spiff and the young ones to sutler row. Seemed like we could only walk short distances before being stopped. Seemed that everyone wanted to take pictures of the kids - especially the girls. Quite the compliment to Mrs. Spiff's sewing abilities.
Browsing at the sutlers done, I ate lunch with the family in the civilian camp. More people asking to take pictures during the meal. After eating I returned to camp. Hadn't been back long before the orders came down to form up for battle.
The artillery opened the battle dueling with the Federal pieces inside and outside the earthworks. The cavalry skirmished as we deployed through our guns. Once past the artillery the infantry fight commenced. As in the original battle we pushed the Yankee infantry back into the fort. Once they were bottled up we launched our assault. After being repulsed twice with significant losses we formed up for a final push. Up to the very walls of the fort we went. I went down in the last assault in a canister hit with what remained of the 9th. Following the battle there was a pause for respect and reflection.
Back in camp we were met by Mrs. Spiff. She had her traditional post-engagement lemonade for us as well as some very good pound cake. After that refreshment we headed off to the period photographer to get a company image struck. Took awhile but it came out well. Back to camp and time to clean muskets and refill cartridge boxes and cap pouches. That done it was time to consider dinner.
Following dinner I walked up to the civilian camp to see if Mrs. Spiff was interested in attending the dance. She was and so we went. Big crowd. Danced for about three quarters of the time before Mrs. Spiff got too tired to go on. She enjoyed herself though and we got to see the Federals blow up the powder magazine in the fort halfway through the dance. Following the dance the family went to bed and I returned to camp to visit for awhile before bed. Watched an epic card game that was in progress when I returned.
Very early Sunday morning the rain began. I managed to stay mostly dry and get some more sleep as did the rest of the company. The rain let off before reveille. Up and out for roll call. More drill after breakfast and then church call. The family joined me for church call on the battalion headquarters line. After church I packed up most all of my gear and transported it to the civilian camp to be stored in Mrs. Spiff's tent until time to leave.
Formed up for the battled at one o'clock. Colonel Amend announced that the event organizers had told him that approximately 20,000 spectators had attended to that point. Wow! No wonder the place had seemed so crowded. Very nice turnout. The Sunday battle followed the same general lines as the Saturday one. Did manage to make it to the walls of the fort and rescued the colors before falling back. Once again there was a moment of silence following the battle. This time a bagpiper played Amazing Grace. Very nice.
Following the battle the rain began again. Got loaded up ok but most all of our gear got at least damp. Oh well, part of the game I suppose. About nine hours later we were home. Tired but having had a good time.
Overall this was a great event and I was glad to be able to go. The site is a little modern but the ability to fight on the actual field makes up for that. The public supported the event well and the organizers took very good care of us. The next scheduled Pilot Knob is in 2014 and despite the long drive I am looking forward to attending again.