Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stoneman's Raid

It's official. I've been to my first Civil War reenactment. Like many people, I was skeptical at first, wondering if it would be historically accurate and legit or just a bunch of boys running around in confederate uniforms waving the stars and bars, pretending to shoot each other. Instead, I got an informative lesson in the history of my county. Stoneman's raid was a campaign lead by Union Calvary Commander, Major General George Stoneman. In the town of Morganton, NC, where I reside, this raid consisted mainly of burning records at the courthouse and plundering homes for staples, but they did encounter confederate troops, and a skirmish occured. That's about all I know, without offending some stoic Civil War buff with my inaccuracies.

I planned this outing with my whole family, but my wife didn't want to take our newborn son where loud cannons and muzzle loading rifle fire would scare him, so I took my four-year-old daughter. It was difficult explaining what we were going to see, but she got the idea. "Like the Dollywood shows where they pretend on stage, but it's outside?" She asked for confirmation. We didn't go for the full day's festivities, where they demonstrate how to cook over a campfire or how to pitch a Civil-War era tent, but got there just in time to watch the main show. The audience congregated on a hill overlooking farmland and pasture of the historic Bellevue Plantation. Men in blue uniforms emerged from a grove of trees and met some men in gray uniforms, and the shooting ensued. My daughter wasn't too impressed until a large cannon was wheeled onto the battlefield pulled by two horses. Before I could even warn her, she had her fingers in her ears. Boom!! Black powder smoke billowed in the breeze. "Who is the good guys and who are the bad guys?" A classic question she asks whenever we watch a movie together. I told her as diplomatically as I could that there wasn't a good or bad side, but that people from North Carolina would probably be in gray uniforms. Then I got to thinking, I wasn't sure which side I would be on. I definitely would not be pro-slavery, so donning a gray uniform would be out of the question. Most mountain farmers were too poor to afford slaves, anyway. However, I wouldn't want some Union battalion of troops ransacking my house and property for food and valuables, either. Did they have conscientious objectors back then? I wondered.

The outing wasn't complete without a scoop of vanilla ice cream, which my daughter ate like it was cotton candy. The only thing she didn't like about our father/daughter outing was that they didn't have a pink and purple horse with sparkles. I imagined Major General George Stoneman charging on his pink and purple sparkly horse. I told her I agreed. That would definitely have brought new meaning to the term "shock and awe!"

No comments: