Friday, September 18, 2009

Field Trip Friday

We went to see a Civil War reenactment sort of thing at Allison Woods, in Statesville. We've been planning to go for a while, but it's been raining all week and I wasn't sure we would go (Ed says wars should be cancelled when the weather isn't fine.). Well, the weather wasn't nice this morning, but we went anyway (today was the free day for students and their families -- a big draw for us!).

It turned out to be mostly homeschoolers in attendance, and not huge numbers of them. I guess it was the weather, and maybe tight budgets have cut down on public school outings? Anyway, the rain stopped after the first hour or so and we got to chat with the reenactors and didn't have to deal with crowds.
A friend of ours asked General Longstreet about his biggest regret of the war. His response was fascinating, and would have been even better if only we could have enjoyed it sitting down! He treated us to a detailed description of what went wrong over the three days of battle at Gettysburg, with frequent detours into background information so that we could properly understand things, and how differently things would have turned out if only General Lee (standing beside him and piping in with his own comments from time to time) had listened to his advice.
(We arrived early in the day -- so early that the Generals Lee and Longstreet had not yet put on their uniforms. So here is Longstreet later in the day, looking rather spiffier.)

This gentleman did a wonderful job of explaining and demonstrating the things that an ordinary soldier might have carried with him. The canteen, in particular, was amazing in the many ways it was used. And that thing at the very front of the picture is his bayonet. According to several of the reenactors, bayonets were apparently used mostly as candleholders. The pointy end stuck in the ground and the part that clipped onto the rifle held the candle. Which seems like a much nicer thing to be doing with it than using it to stick holes in people.

One of Travis's friends bought this toy gun, and very kindly let Travis play with it.

This is a refreshment tent. We brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, like sensible soldiers, but there were some cute children there in period clothing. Unfortunately you can't really see them in the picture.

Although most of the displays were Civil War related, there were people with clothing and weapons from all the U.S. wars represented. There were tanks, jeeps, ambulances, etc., and lots of dogs. And guns of all sorts being fired all over the place. I was very impressed with the dogs, none of whom had nervous breakdowns, the way Bo would have done.

Travis collected a pocketful of shell casings.

Our entire homeschool group (all four families!) eventually showed up (though they aren't all in this picture).

Travis had a marvelous time. Katie had fun too, but this place was hog heaven to a gun-loving, gun-deprived boy. And cannons!

Before we left, we got a picture of General Lee and Travis Lee. And Katie, of course, who is wondering if she will be able to talk her daddy into another bag of jelly beans before we leave.

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