Angelica Civil War Reenactment

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 1

The biggest Civil War reenactment doesn’t necessarily make the best. While I’ve enjoyed attending the large and exciting sesquicentennial events the past couple of years, this weekend reminded me just how nice the smaller, local events can be too.

Mason, Addison, and I went to the Angelica Civil War reenactment hosted by the 136th NY. The first reenactment I ever participated in was actually this same event four years ago. It was special to be able to come to this event for the fourth time and camp in the exact same spot where my reenacting adventures began! Tenting next to us were also my good friend Emily, her sister Haley, and their friend Aidan.

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 2
We were all very serious…
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 3
…but not for long!
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This was Aidan’s first reenactment! (photo by Emily)

One of the reasons I enjoyed the smaller event size was it afforded better opportunities for interacting with the spectators. On Friday we helped run one of the education stations that local school groups toured. Our station was “Children’s Games and Toys of the 19th Century”. I gave a short talk explaining some the things children during the Civil War entertained themselves with and then we had various toys, including graces, hoop and stick, Jacob’s ladder, drafts, ball and cup, etc., for the kids to play with.

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 3
Our educational station (photo by Emily)

We also ran the same station the next day for the Boy Scout troops that came. I was talking to one of the scouts later and was shocked to learn that they drive each year all the way from Massachusetts for this event!!

I brought the orphan kitten that I’m raising, Koda, to the event. She also had fun playing with the toys!

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 4
(photo by Emily)

The combination of kitten and toys at our camp attracted several children, and Haley, Mason, and Aidan had a nice time playing with them all.

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Bobby was adorable in his accurate 19th century attire
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 21
(photo by Emily)
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 22
(photo by Emily)

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Mason hauling wood like a true 19th century gentleman (photo by Emily)
Mason hauling wood like a true 19th century gentleman (photo by Emily)
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 24
I had a nice time discussing the Battle of Cold Harbor with one of our guys, Mr. John
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 25
Civil War selfie 🙂

Another opportunity I had for sharing some of my knowledge of the period was Saturday afternoon. I was working on preparing a supper of chicken pot pie and a group of spectators stopped by to watch. I was able to have a very nice conversation with them about what I was doing, how my pie differed from an actual 19th century pie (not killing the chicken myself, for one thing), and food preservation during the 19th century. I love how smaller reenactments help you to get “up close and personal” with the public.

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 8
Addie assisting with supper

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 9

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 10
Part of supper cooking

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 11

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 5
Made from scratch chicken pot pie ready to be baked in the dutch oven
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 6
Baked to perfection

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 7

Saturday evening we attended one of our favorite events, the dance! I had asked Addison to do a simpler style for my hair the previous days, but she insisted on making it fancy for the dance. She did a lovely job!

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The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 13

I then did Addie’s hair. She has such a large amount of hair, that any style ends up looking epic!

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 14

 

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 15
Sisters ready to dance their shoes off! (photo by Emily)

Every year the dance is held in the Grange building. The low levels of light, crowd of dancers, and wood floors make for the perfect 19th century atmosphere.

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The dance (photo by Emily)
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 18
Cooking breakfast Sunday morning (photo by Emily)

Sunday after church I had a lovely time visiting my friends Allison and Stephen at their new sutlery (what the shops in tents at reenactments are called). Allison sold me a lovely belt buckle that perfectly suits my tastes, pretty and nice without being too flashy, and Stephen helped fulfill a dream of mine by selling me my own bound copy of Godey’s!! The book is from 1857 and contains all of the issues of Godey’s Ladies’ Book from that year. I can’t wait until I have some time to sit down and explore it thoroughly!

It was a lovely weekend, and a good reminder that smaller events can be fun too!

Many of the pictures in this post were taken by my friend Emily. Be sure to check out her blog post here about the weekend to see more of her beautiful pictures!

 

-Michaela “The Farming Daughter”

Fire on the Fourth!

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)

35 years ago today marks a Fourth of July my family will never forget. While other families were enjoying the usual Independence Day festivities, my family was experiencing fireworks of a different sort.

The day before, July 3rd, had been good weather, and my dad, Grandpa, Grandma, and Uncle Chuck were busy making hay. By day’s end, they had finished filling the barn hay mow completely full. This is what the farm looked like then:

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 1 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)
An aerial photograph of our farm before the fire

The next day started like normal, with everyone helping to do morning chores and milking together. Back then we milked our cows in stanchions, which meant that each cow stood in her own stall and the milking machine was brought to her. At 7:30 am the first group of cows had finished being milked and had been let out to pasture.  Just before the second group of cows was let into the milking stalls, someone, either Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Chuck, or Dad, noticed a red glow radiating from the hay mow chute. With a sinking feeling, they all realized what it was. It was one of the worst things a farm can every experience…fire!

Our farm would look idyllic, if it wasn't for the cloud of smoke pouring from our barn
Our farm would look idyllic, if it wasn’t for the cloud of smoke pouring from the barn.

The first thing a farmer thinks of in a situation like that is his cows. The men immediately shooed all of the milking cows out of the barn, and as many of the heifers as they could. Grandma, in the urgency of the situation, forgot there was a telephone in the barn, and dashed to the house to call 911.

I asked my grandparents how long it took for the fire trucks to arrive and they told me it felt like an eternity. The actual time was probably 15-20 minutes, and soon eight fire companies were working hard to put out the blaze.

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 3 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)

The fire trucks pumped water from our pond to put out the flames:

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 4 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)

My dad was 15 years old at the time of the fire and I asked him if he was scared. He said there was too much to do to have time to be afraid.

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 5 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)

Thankfully, all of the milking cows made it out of the barn and all but 4 of the heifers. While it’s heartbreaking that we lost those 4 girls, in truth we were very blessed to have lost so few.

The cows stand in the pasture, completely unaffected by the drama happening behind them.
The cows stand in the pasture,  unaffected by the drama happening behind them.

Whenever I hear the story of the fire what stands out the most to me is the number of people that showed up. Dad tells me how literally hundreds of people came to help. In this photo you can see the barn burning and the dozens of cars lining our road and stretching around the corner:

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 7 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)

At 1:30 pm, while the barn was still burning, bulldozers and pay loaders began tearing down the wreckage and loading it into dump trucks. The rubble was hauled down the road and dumped behind a generous neighbor’s barn in a pile. A fire truck had to be stationed by the pile to hose the smoking debris so it wouldn’t start on fire again.

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 7 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 9 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)

Not only is it sad for me to see the destroyed barn, but also the piles of burned hay that had just been stacked in the mow the day before.

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 8 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)

Of course just because the barn was on fire didn’t mean the cows didn’t need milked anymore. Don Beck, Inc. came and started putting in a new milking pipeline in an undamaged part of the barn, while the rest of the barn was still burning and and being hauled away. By 7 pm half of the cows were taken to a neighbor’s farm and the other half were being milked in our barn. In the midst of a fire we were milking cows again, without having missed a single milking.

Bec's equipment vans showed up to put in a new milk pipeline
Beck’s equipment vans showed up to put in a new milk pipeline

We never found out for sure what caused the fire. Some speculate a “hot spot” in the new hay or a spark from the hay conveyor could have been the cause. In one day we lost an entire barn, a mow full of hay, 61 stalls, a milk pipeline, and 4 animals. 3 months later the barn was completely built back.

The Farming Daughter: Fire on the Fourth 11 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/07/04/fire-on-the-fourth/)
The old barn and the new

To me the story of our barn fire illustrates some of the core values of the farming community: the courage of the firefighters that risked their lives to save the rest of our barns and our house, the neighbors that came from miles to lend a helping hand, the generosity of fellow farmers offering their barns and equipment, and the indomitable spirit of my uncle, grandparents, and father when they chose not to accept defeat, but to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

The Fourth of July barn fire is just a small part of my family’s story, but the lessons it taught are not. What have you learned from your family history?

 

-The Farming Daughter

150th Appomattox

150th Appomattox ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/29/150th-appomattox/)

Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, not the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; — was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?

“The Passing of the Armies” by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Last month, Addie and I attended the 150th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Appomattox Court House and the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was slightly bittersweet, not only for the events we were portraying, but also because this is one of the last sesquicentennial reenactments. However, we were able to meet up with some reenacting friends, participate in some special scenarios, and in general had a lovely time.

The obligatory photo of Addie’s tresses…her hair is getting so long!

150th Appomattox: Addie's Hair ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

When planning our meals I decided I wanted to try something new. Allison had told me about cooking “standing meat pies” at Genesee Country Village and they sounded interesting. Then I found this recipe and video from James Townsend & Sons and decided to give it a try. The crust has the same ingredients as a regular pie crust, but you boil the butter and water and knead the dough vigorously. This makes the crust strong and tough. You can eat it if you choose, but the main purpose is to have a sturdy, portable, individual sized bowl and lid.

150th Appomattox: Standing meat pies (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

James Townsend recommends pork shoulder for the filling, but I used a cubed ham steak instead. I also opted to use unflavored gelatin, a bullion cube, and water for the lear (gravy) instead of a boiled pig’s foot.

h Appomattox: Dinner of standing meat pies (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

I made the pork pies at home, and then we rewarmed them for dinner in the dutch oven. A rather gusty rainstorm came as we were just about to eat, so we hastened to the tent to consume our supper.

150th Appomattox: Eating Dinner (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

This is what happens when your creative little sister is bored being stuck in the tent waiting for the rain to stop…she makes flowers out of her apron.

150th Appomattox: Boredom makes creativity (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Saturday evening we were privileged to participate in a scenario serving rations to the Confederate troops. When the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered the troops had not eaten for several days. General Grant agreed to supply food, and sent 25,000 rations to the starving soldiers. As far as I know, the rations were not fresh ham, soft bread, and hot coffee served by ladies at tables covered in tablecloths, but it was nice to be able to be a part of the event and celebrate the re-union of a divided nation.

150th Appomattox: Feeding the Confederates (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

150th Appomattox: Feeding the Confederates 2 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)
Photo by Julianne Herman

Here is a sketch by British illustrator Alfred Waud, who was actually at the surrender, of Union and Confederate soldiers sharing rations:

150th Appomattox: Sharing rations (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/29/150th-appomattox/)
“The soldiers sharing rations” by Alfred Waud from Library of Congress

After serving rations Addie and I went to the dance. The issue with this reenactment was (like most of the big 150th events) everything was very far away. We counted our steps and it was over 1/4 mile just to walk to the bathrooms and back! There were no shuttles to get to the dance so we had to walk over a mile there and a mile back.

The next morning we had agreed to help repeat the ration scenario at the  Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. After the dance we tumbled into bed around midnight and slept until my abominable alarm jerked us out of our slumber at 4 am. We seriously considered if this was worth waking up for, but we decided it was a once in a lifetime event and hurriedly dressed. It took us exactly 1 hour, which for 2 girls to get fully dressed in 19th century garb, in a tent, in the pitch black, and do our hair was quite a speed record in my opinion!

I thought the park would just be the court house and Wilmer McLean’s house (where the surrender took place) but it’s actually a entire restored village of the town of Appomattox Court House. I highly recommend visiting if you’re ever in the area.
150th Appomattox: Breakfast Rations for the Confederates (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

150th Appomattox: Breakfast Rations for the Confederates 2 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Addie serving coffee:

150th Appomattox: Addie serving coffee (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)
Photo by Julianne Herman

When we returned to camp we ate breakfast and then Addie decided to take a nap. The guys wanted her to come watch the surrender ceremony but she decided she could “only go to some many once-in-a-lifetime events in one day”. I decided I would go though, and hiked another mile to the shuttle that would take us back to Appomattox Court House.

The guys formed up:
150th Appomattox: Our Bucktails (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

I don’t think I can sufficiently describe what the surrender ceremony was like. Part of that is probably because I was wandering around in a sleep-deprived fog, but also because moments like that have to be experienced to be understood. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all of the soldiers who participated. This scenario could have come off as contrived, affected, or hollow, but instead the level of professionalism and focus to authentically recreating the actual event made for an emotionally moving display. Especial thanks is due to the Confederate reenactors. You guys have an incredible knowledge and understanding of what the real Southern soldiers went through, and I’m sure this was difficult for some of you to perform. I saw tears in the eyes of many of both the “boys in gray” and the “boys in blue”.

The Confederates marching up through the Union lines:

150th Appomattox: Confederate surrender ceremony 1 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Forming up into ranks:

150th Appomattox: Confederate surrender ceremony 2 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Stack arms for the last time:

150th Appomattox: Confederate surrender ceremony 3 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Marching away:

150th Appomattox: Confederate surrender ceremony 4 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

A few of my guys:

150th Appomattox: Our 42nd PA Bucktails (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Sgt. Clarence:

150th Appomattox: Sgt. Clarence (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

 

And this is what happens when you dance all night, get only 4 hours of sleep, feed 500 Confederates, and walk 10 miles:

150th Appomattox: Tuckered out (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)-The Farming Daughter

 

 

(Header photo is the Wilmer McLean house from Library of Congress.) 

Now He Belongs to the Ages

Sesquicentennial of the death of Abraham Lincoln Poem

 

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. As a tribute I have written this poem:

 

Now He Belongs to the Ages

 

Our country rejoices in peace come at last,

Now avarice and strife are confined to the past.

The sword it is shivered and there in its stead,

The olive branch waves o’er the field of the dead.

 

The four years long struggle is finally done,

The dark night is finished and bright dawns the sun,

The cannons have ceased their deafening roar,

While the shriek of the fife resounds never more.

 

Our banner victorious, we broke tyranny’s chain,

And joined North and South together again.

Exult all ye people, from East to the West,

We have withstood the fires and passed through the test!

 

But what is this shadow that’s lending its pall,

And turned sweetest vict’ry to bitterest gall?

The loathsome assassin has fired a blow,

That found its dread mark and laid our Chief low.

 

The Jubilee is quenched on this blackest of days,

And hope fallen cold where our brave Captain lays.

The time of our triumph intended for gladness,

Is drained of its joy and instead changed to sadness.

 

How little we valued while he was yet ours,

And failed to acknowledge the strength of his powers.

When he was among us, his greatness too near,

Now that he’s left us the truth becomes clear.

 

He was man of the people and yet stood alone,

Whom many have seen, but little have known.

Open and frank, yet guarded, contained,

Laughingly cheerful mixed with sadness and pain.

 

He was kind and forgiving, but solid and steady,

Deliberate and patient, yet active and ready,

Humble of character and humble of birth,

That belied his significance and obscured his worth.

 

Oh anomaly of men! Our comprehension failed,

Until his spirit had already passed through the veil.

Now he is counted among the rulers and sages,

He is no longer ours, now he belongs to the ages.

 

-Michaela Richmond

April 15, 2015

Braveheart: Part I

braveheart 1 pinnable

Recently, I finished sewing a neat project for my friend Stewart. Stewart has Scottish ancestors and is a fan of Braveheart, so he asked me to make a kilt and tunic similar to the one William Wallace wears in the movie. It was fun sewing a “costume” that didn’t have to be 100% authentic for a change. This post will be focus on the tunic, and part two will show the kilt construction and completed outfit.

I had just enough cotton material left over from constructing the kilt that I thought I could squeeze out a tunic. It was difficult to find any clear pictures from the movie of just the tunic, so I decided to base it off of the Bocksten Tunic. This style of tunic is accurate for the 13th-14th centuries (when William Wallace was alive), and is cut to use fabric economically (which was good since I didn’t have much material).

The cotton fabric I had was white, so I used tea bags to dye it a more “natural” color. I boiled a big pot of water, and steeped about thirty of the cheapest tea bags I could find. Then I submerged the fabric in the dye and let it soak until I thought the color was dark enough. To prevent the color from being mottled I made sure to frequently stir and turn the fabric so all of the material who absorb the dye evenly. Finally, I wrung the extra tea out and dried the fabric in the dryer on high to “set” the dye.

I drafted my own pattern, using this tutorial as a guideline. I took measurements off a T-shirt to give me a general idea on sizing.  The tunic is a very simple style, with two big rectangles as the front and back.

Braveheart Tunic Front (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/03/02/braveheart-part-i/)

 

Since I didn’t have much material I had to piece three rectangles together for the back.

Sewing a Braveheart Tunic Back View (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/03/02/braveheart-part-i/)

 

The sleeves are elbow length and are made of tapered rectangles with square gussets.

Sewing a Braveheart Tunic Sleeve View (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/03/02/braveheart-part-i/)

 

A triangular gore is added to each side of the tunic to add width. The gore also had to be pieced due to my small amount of fabric.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Side Gore (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/03/02/braveheart-part-i/)

 

I drafted the keyhole neckline facing following the instructions from this tutorial.

Sewing a Braveheart Kilt Neckline (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/03/02/braveheart-part-i/)

Since authenticity wasn’t a big issue, I used the sewing machine for all of the seams except for the slip stitch on the neckline. The bottom of the tunic and sleeve edges have a narrow turned hem. All of the seams, except where the sleeves are set in, are flat felled for durability.

The basic stats:

Fabric: White Kona cotton dyed using tea

Pattern: Drafted my own pattern using this tutorial as a guideline, and this tutorial for the neckline

Notions: Thread, tea bags to dye the fabric

How historically accurate is it?: The tunic is patterned after the Bocksten Tunic, and has a shape and design appropriate for the 13th-14th centuries (when William Wallace was alive). I used the machine to sew it though, which is not accurate in the least 🙂

Hours to complete: 6 maybe??? (not including the fabric dyeing)

Stay tuned for Part II: The Kilt! (And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the cow care post. I just want to get some pictures to illustrate what I’m talking about and then I’ll post, hopefully by the end of this weekend.)

-The Farming Daughter

150th Battle of the Wilderness

“I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer.”

-General Ulysses S. Grant

 

The Army of the Potomac was once again making its annual push “on to Richmond”. The same ground of Chancellorsville stood to drink the fallen heroes’ blood. Robert E. Lee still waited, determined to beat back the Federal foes. What would make this time any different than the previous attempts?

Two months earlier Lincoln promoted a man to lieutenant general, a rank not held since George Washington. This man had been unsuccessful in almost everything he tried; farmer, clerk, bill collector, real estate, selling wood, all were failures. It was only until he tried his hand at modern war did Ulysses S. Grant succeed. Now in May 1864 Grant would accompany the Army of the Potomac on a mission to finally end the bloody conflict that had started three years before. For the first time the Union army would march south, fight, and instead of retreating, continue onward. Finally the North had an opponent worthy of General Lee.

 

Last weekend Addie, Mason, and I went to a reenactment commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness. This was the first time General Grant and Lee faced each other in battle. For three days 101,895 Union and 61,025 Confederates engaged in intense combat in a tangled, thick, brush-choked area of land fittingly known as “the Wilderness”.

The reenactment was held in the same place as Chancellorsville was last year. On Friday we were able to visit the Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania battlefields again. We also met up with our friends from the Mumford reenactment and Addie and Mason had a great time playing with the kids. I was worried that we might get cold, but Virginia is much warmer than New York! All-in-all it was the perfect start to the reenacting season!

Addie & Mason
Addie & Mason (in their new coats!)

Wilderness 2b

Wilderness 3b

Part of our group: Mr. John, Mr. Doug, Me, Sgt. Clarence, Jimmy, Mason, & Addie
Part of our group at the Chancellor House: Mr. John, Mr. Doug, Me, Sgt. Clarence, Jimmy, Mason, & Addie
Mr. John, one of our soldiers and often times tour guide
Mr. John, one of our soldiers and often times tour guide
The Chancellor's house gave the battle of Chancellorsville its name. All that remains today is the foundation.
The Chancellor’s house gave the battle of Chancellorsville its name. All that remains today is the foundation and part of the front steps.

Wilderness 7

Wilderness 8

Wilderness 9

Catherine's Furnace then
Catherine’s Furnace then (photo from Spotsylvania Memory)
Catherine's Furnace today
Catherine’s Furnace now
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove

Wilderness 14

Mason riding a limber box
Mason riding on a limber box

Wilderness 12

Addie loved these compasses that oriented you on the battlefields
Addie loved these compasses that oriented you on the battlefields
Mason and I reading Bivouac of the Dead, chilling poem.
Mason and I reading Bivouac of the Dead by Theodore O’Hara, a very chilling poem!
Cannon at the Bloody Angle
Cannon at the Bloody Angle

Wilderness 16

Wilderness 19

Our Bucktails!
Our Bucktails!

Wilderness 21

The whole gang
The whole gang
Marching off to fight
Marching off to fight
One of the hairstyles I tried on Addie
One of the hairstyles I tried on Addie
Another 'do for Addie
Another ‘do for Addie
Dinner cooking
Dinner cooking
Mason tuckered out (he's actually faking here)
Mason tuckered out
The kids' "pet"
The kids’ “pet”. Better than the ticks we brought home!
Two of our guys were promoted to corporal, so I had to sew on some "chevrons"
Two of our guys were promoted to corporal, so I had to sew on some “chevrons”
Foxy's highly official promotion ceremony, complete with beef jerky! :)
Foxy’s highly official promotion ceremony 🙂
Mason having fun
Mason having fun
Sunset the last night
Sunset the last night

 

-The Farming Daughter

Public Presentations

To help improve your public speaking skills our county 4-H requires you to give a “public presentation” each year. A public presentation is a demonstration, speech, illustrated talk, recitation, or dramatic interpretation that is from 5 to 15 minutes long. Two judges evaluate your talk, give you pointers on areas you could improve, and score your presentation. If you score well enough (within the top 15%) you can advance to district level presentations.

This year I chose to do an illustrated talk about “Getting Dressed in the 1860s”. My goal was to instruct about mid 19th century women’s clothing, dispel some myths about corsets and cage crinolines (“hoop skirts”), and have an excuse to dress up in my Civil War garb 🙂 . I told about the “ideal silhouette” of the 1860s, explained how the underclothing helped build the proper foundation, and talked about my dress. I actually started out my presentation in my base layers of undergarments and added the other pieces as I explained their purpose.

Today Addie, Marcus, and I participated in the district level presentations. Since this is my last year in 4-H (next year I’ll be too old) I was really excited to do well enough to go on to state! Marcus impressed everyone with his computer savvy (his presentation was “Computer Parts”) and Addie is also going to state with her recitation of The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke!

Here are some pictures from county presentations. I have to send a *big* thank you to my friend Allison for helping me to finish my new corset in time.

County Presentation 2014 a

County Presentation 2014 c

County Presentation 2014 b

County Presentation 2014 d

I didn’t get any photos at district, but afterwards Addie kindly snapped a few quick pics of the new Civil War coat I sewed called a “paletot”. It’s actually Addie’s but she let me borrow it for today since mine’s not done yet. Mine will be the same pattern and fabric, I’m just going to make the sleeves longer. We also have to decide what color we want to trim them in. Any suggestions? As you can tell from the pictures it was quite windy out!

New paletot 1

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0426141509d

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-The Farming Daughter