Day Seven: Wednesday, July 3. This was the big one! The commemoration at the exact time 150 years on of Pickett's Charge. A last ditch attempt by 14 000 men to alter the course of history. In just under an hour 7 000 men were lost, killed or wounded. It was the Confederacy's High water mark and General Pickett would never speak to General Lee again. It was the price the South paid for having General Lee in charge.
At 12:30pm we mustered outside the Civil War Wax Works Museum on Steinwehr Avenue. I felt we were going to make history and that unlike a reenactment this was an emotional event connecting the dead with the alive. The gravity of the occasion immediately took hold as I joined my fellow compatriots many of whom were now friends.
It was nice to see the Blue and the Gray together. Brothers united in remembrance of Pickett's Charge.
A woman visitor wore a t shirt commemorating the fact that Black soldiers fought alongside their fellow Confederate soldiers. For history as painted by the politically correct is not always truthful. For me it set the tone for we were representing what actually happened not a spin doctored fantasy.
General Pickett was totally focused on the occasion. It was an unknown path we would tread for the Park Rangers had a fixed idea of what would transpire and it had not accounted for many determined fully armed reenactors who would make the "Charge" at the appointed hour.
Mary Duncan dressed a Civil War Widow made a sober contrast to the colour of the boys in uniforms. I was greatly impressed by Mary and we would chat further at the end of the vacation. I wanted to know why she had chosen to portray that particular character. Could it be a past life memory?
Like wise there were quite a few ladies who were dressed as soldiers. Again this is a true reflection of the many women who dressed as men to fight in the Civil War. Also again I conjectured that perhaps they had been men in the Civil War and felt compelled to be "themselves" once more?
In each photo note the proud bearing of the individual lady soldier. They radiate confidence and joy at being back in a uniform so familiar.
Likewise the passion and stature of the men tells its own story. Many choosing to depict ordinary soldiers that they once were.
Finally myself. I chose to wear my Third Lieutenant's uniform of the McIntosh Light Dragoons as I had once worn as Alexander Baillie Kell. This was a completion of my life journey and I wanted to mark the occasion appropriately dressed.
Complete with a trade mark cigar that I once smoked long ago in another life I had finally completed the ensemble that is me. The little boy who knew he was once a Confederate Soldier and finally in 1999 proved it!
To be continued.
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