Sunday, March 25, 2012

Checking in After a Long Month

I was hoping to get the chance to blog all of the March events separately, but the time simply did not materialize. I've probably been spending way too much of what little free time I have on Facebook and not paying attention to other things (like this blog and huge backlog of magazines I've yet to peruse/read). At any rate, here I am to recap the past three weekends of being on the road.

March 9-11 found me in Newport News, VA with my friends Chris and Jim for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads (you know, the famous battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, nee Merrimack). We participated in the living history program at the Mariner's Museum and also presented a panel discussion on the topic of North Carolina-built ironclads as part of their Civil War Navy Conference. The weekend was really a lot of fun and we got to catch up with lots of old friends and make some new ones. It was really great to meet all of my fellow bloggers from the Civil War Navy Sesquicentennial Blog. It was a long weekend, but well worth the trip.

March 17-18 I found myself at Bentonville Battlefield for their 147th anniversary program. I served as gunner/interpreter for the artillery demonstrations both days and had the pleasure of working with the cannon crew from Fort Fisher.

March 21-22 I traveled with two friends to Lexington, VA and the beautiful campus of VMI for the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Signature Conference. The conference was good, but all of the ancillary activities made the trip even more enjoyable. Of course we visited the graves of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee (and more importantly to me, John Mercer Brooke). We took in all the scenery around the campuses of VMI and Washington & Lee University. We even got to see the cadets practicing for a ceremony that was being held the following day; this rehearsal included the firing of four 105mm howitzers, which for me was really cool. As I mentioned previously, the conference was good. My favorite speakers were probably Carol Reardon, James I. Robertson, and Gary Gallagher. Mark Neely was pretty good as well.

Finally, March 23-24 I was with my messmates of the Carolina Living History Guild and our friends from the Fort Fisher cannon crew (aka Braddy's Battery) and Adams Battery artillery for the 150th anniversary of the occupation of Beaufort, NC. This program was co-sponsored by the NC Maritime Museum and the Beaufort Historical Association. We really had the prime real estate for this program, being set up for living history and for "camping" inside the Watercraft Center (boat building shop) of the Maritime Museum. The building is really a great facility and it provided both shelter from the two rain showers that rolled through as well as cool breezes off the water. We spent our evenings on the dock enjoying the scenery and a few cigars. The program was well-attended and we participated in a nighttime artillery demonstration at Fort Macon State Park designed to promote their 150th anniversary reenactment coming up next month. All in all, good times were had with good friends and that's what really matters.

After such a long and hectic few weeks, I have decided to stay home this weekend and not attend the War for Empire event at Fort Dobbs. I have attended this event for two years running and it is one of the best events in the state, but I am tired and need some down time. War for Empire will wait until next year when our schedule isn't nearly so busy. I have a couple of weeks to rest up and retool for another busy month in April. More on that later.....

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