i_was_like_this_once: (marching)
[personal profile] i_was_like_this_once

Thursday started out with a phone call. Or, rather, THE phone call. A job! For me! Starting rate $18/hour, lasting for about a month but with the likelihood of staying on longer (Alex Yakovleff has been there two months after being told they needed him for three days). Momentary concern set in as I eyed my bus tickets and packed suitcase, but they said the job would start at the best possible time: next Wednesday. Brilliant! I scampered happily up and down the hall for a little while, giggling and singing the I Got A Job song.

Shortly thereafter, my (increasingly heavy) suitcase and I arrived in Chinatown and found the bus to Baltimore. For those of you who have never attempted to take a Chinatown bus, prepare for a lot of bustle, yelling, confusion, and - if you're unlucky - a bus driver who gets lost in Baltimore on the way to the drop off site (which in Baltimore is a little grassy hill outside a gas station). So we were a little bit late. Luckily, Sean and his dad were waiting in the unpleasantly chill rain, and we got to their house without further incident.

We spent a long night packing, repacking, listening to Dave Pridgeon's reenacting stories, watching General Spanky and some of the old 125th anniversary event footage which, frankly, blew me away. The impressions were not so great but also not terrible, and they were observing distances properly and generally looking awesome on the field, doing things that we rarely do today. Sean and I elected to stay up all night, and were loopy with laughing and exhaustion by our 430 departure time.

Our drive to Maryland (after picking up Kevin and Andrew, other members of the PSL) was marked by little bits of sleep, stories, flatulence (courtesy of Dave Pridgeon), jokes about West Virginia, and a trip to Lexington Virgina, home of VMI, and the last resting place of Robert E. Lee (and Traveller), Stonewall Jackson, and other notable Civil War figures. Our whirlwind tour included Lee's house and chapel, his office (which has been left exactly the way it was when he died, including unopened letters on his desk - Dave Pridgeon had a mischievous glint in his eye, and we were regaled with the story of being left alone in the house Jackson died in - a siren went off when he touched the bedspread), Traveller's stable (now houses a Mercedes Benz), and finally the graveyard.

The writer of Gilham's Manual.

Sean with General Jackson.

I don't remember who this is, but he was a "Texian Revolutionist," a prisoner of the Mier expedition in Mexico, and a military and civil officer for the both the US and the CSA. And a mason. You can never do too much, right?

Our brief stop concluded with lunch at Applebees, and a snide remark from some douchebag entering the restaurant as we were leaving - "Y'all got any more weirdos in here?" Welcome to the South.

Kentucky is a very long way from everything, and we spent about eleven hours on the road. The countryside was beautiful, covered in long white fences, gigantic barns, and fancy horses. Needless to say, we were very pleased to get there and changed quickly in a field, illuminated by a full moon.

And then there was the camp.

The pictures don't do justice to how cool it is to see 150 to 200 guys doing campaign camping out in the woods on a real battlefield.

The next morning we were awoken by two reveilles (neither for us), a third reveille for us with accompaniment by our large and vocal Sergeant Major, and then scattering gunfire over the hill as the cavalry took off for their morning trot and battle. We had some time to eat, but spent most of it looking around excitedly and muttering "fuckinawesome" to ourselves and each other. We were eventually called out for drill, first by company, then by battalion and by brigade. We bitched while we were there, but it was a big help for everyone, and we looked halfway decent in brigade drill (most of our mistakes were caused by our good General Rambeaux - really - who didn't know how to give proper commands). We broke for a quick lunch before being called up for our afternoon fight.

Well, I had to Spork someone.

Despite our flip attitude, this horse cart was actually pretty awesome as it was bringing us water.

Captain Pridgeon.

A new frontier of Sporking: the Pipespork.

(Dave Pridgeon absolutely loves the idea of Sporking, by the way, which I think is awesome).

The fight itself was decent. We were way too close to the Federals by the time we opened fire, but Sean and I managed to work ourselves up into a little first person, which result in near complete hysterics on my part (I almost panicked and ran; I was shaking and sobbing in line) and got us a few odd looks from the 'streamer types who don't normally go in for that sort of foolishness. After about four rounds, I took a shot to the face, flipping myself head over heels down the hill, and screaming about being blind. I spent the rest of the fight with my eyes shut, and that was a creepy experience. It sounded like the Feds were everywhere. Sean dragged me and Andrew and Brad Clay off the line, and I think I scared someone who came by to tell me I couldn't lie where I was - I flipped my shit and started screaming at him. It was pretty awesome.

Once the fighting had moved on, and Sean had dragged us all to the shade of a big tree, we decided to hike to the top of the hill to watch the rout of the Federals and see some of the battlefield. We traipsed on up, and Sean took off running for the front, dragging a Federal officer back with him - who should it be but Guy Gane himself? He and his friend Dave had come down for the weekend, and we socialized for a bit by the captured Federal battery, commenting on how the quality of the event overall was so much better than so many of the ones back East.

The battle concluded, and Andrew and I walked back over the field, reading the historical markers (there are few if any unit monuments at Perryville) instead of marching back in formation. When we got back, it was time for pictures!

Why Sean, are you carrying a flintlock conversion? Is it making everyone else insanely jealous? Yes. And yes.

A battle shirt, an Enfield (closest I could get) and unruly hair? Sounds like a party to me.

Let us sit upon the ground / And tell sad stories of the death of the 'fedracy.

And then, it was at last time to hit up the sutlers. We wanted to wait for the Pridgeons to come Spork with us, so Andrew and I went off to find some food. This quest eventually took us into the town of Perryville itself, which has absolutely no restaurants whatsoever. Chagrined and hungry, we returned to camp with a packet of cheap bacon and Andrew's homemade hardtack to see what we could do about food.

What happened was this:


Bacon is always more flammable than I think it is.

Sean is not impressed.

Brad, not interested in flaming death, cleans his rifle instead.

We had not done much Sporking thus far, and hoped to make up for lost time at the ball. We dressed up as nicely as we could and prepared to meet whatever challenges the Western Theater Ball might throw at us.

To our delight, we saw that the spirit of Fancy Dress Farbery was alive and well out in Kentucky. But wait! What was this? No mingling crowd? People actually dancing? How on Earth were we supposed to get in there and Spork??

The answer is: we really couldn't. We agonized over this for a good 45 minutes. We tried several options, as well, and none of them afforded us good shots and stealth. Thoroughly defeated, we snapped what pictures we could, and slunk off, tails between our legs.

srslywtf. You're supposed to spectate or participate, not Sporkate.

It's too bad, too, cause there were some doozies.

Andrew, in shock and awe at the strength of the anti-Spork defences.

Luckily, there was THE MINSTREL SHOW to make up for it. Words cannot do it justice, except for:

"I say dere, Professor, what am de difference between a philosopher and a conductor?"
"O, dat am an easy one. De fus' one, he train de mind. De other, he mind de train!"

Scarcely have we laughed so hard.

Sunday dawned a little too early, but we were happy not to have much to do in the morning.

Tired faces from Sean, Andrew McQuillen, and Kevin.

We were all approaching the cracked out phase of exhausted excitement, and looking forward to hand-to-hand combat. Which we practiced again and again and again. For some reason, we were not matched with the Federals we would be fighting that afternoon, and for some other (dumber) reason, we were formed up slightly after noon for the battle - which means about two and a half hours waiting on arms. We grabbed a nap, if possible, Andrew left to go back to Michigan, and somewhere a horse suffered a fatal mishap and had to be put down.

We had a decent march over to the Confederate kickoff point for the afternoon battle, and had to endure Hodge's film crew fussing around and annoying us with cameras in faces. We settled behind a hill and watched the rest of the Confederates amass - we had a really impressive number by the time the cannons started booming over the hill.

That's about a quarter of them.

My favorite picture of the weekend.

The battle was pretty good (landscape was VERY impressive) but we were forbidden to take hits so we'd have enough people left for a good had to hand. It was too bad since once again we were way close to the Federals and in reality would have been shredding each other like nobody's business (and the Federals were taking good hits, too). It felt unfair to the Feds, so Sean and I both took hits from "spent balls" and dragged off into a nearby cornfield to recover, then rejoined the unit on the other side of the field. By the time we got to the hand to had section, I was rapidly approaching the overheated stage (I changed into my frock for this fight and was carrying a bedroll - dumb) and went down like a ton of bricks after two swings of the musket. I just lay there for the rest of the fight, trying to keep my breathing under control and wincing at the volleys fired directly over my head.

We rejoined the battalion formation after the fight and marched back to camp. By this point, I was considering passing out, but made it back under my own steam, draining my canteen on the long walk back to camp. Our contingent took stock of our status and decided for the good of all involved to just say The Hell With It and being the long trip back. Most of the return trip is a blur. We stayed in a West Virgina hotel that night, and were on the road again early the next morning. My fears about missing the bus proved unfounded (in fact it was a good 45 minutes late) and I returned to the city, much bruised but very pleased with myself.

Dumb Goose Attempts to Eat Foot Through Glass; Residents Amused.


I like these little dudes. The next two pictures are big, just to prove my point.

This bird is EATING A MOUSE. The mouse was not pleased. Kendra and I were impressed. The Jens fled.

Shiny Incarnate.

Catfish, real and imagined. That room at the children's zoo gave me the jibblies.

You are NEVER too big for the children's zoo.

Though it might make you feel a little... AWKWARD.

This is what you call an uneasy truce.


This seems like a good place for this old picture.

PS: We also played some frisbee.

A Fraggle-haired JReese goes for the frisbee.

The beast. Unleashed.
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