It’s February already and I am just about to get over Christmas and the bit of extra poundage that only gobbling a load of mince pie can add. I’m already preparing for Guilford Courthouse and my bedroom looks like an arsenal’s ammo locker .
A fellow reenactor friend of mine out in Oklahoma sent me this picture of a wild woman aiming a “Bess”, looking like she is ready to take on all comers . He’s still chuckling at the thought of the strange attachment I have to my sawed- off Bess , and I thought to myself that, in my next life, I may be lucky enough to look like that, with that sexy-sassy, determined look. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that, Heck-Fire,I’m half way there now (stop laughing)!
As you know, last year under the auspices of our admired officers and with their blessing, I made my debut as cannon-fodder on the field of Guilford Courthouse and when I think about it, I can feel the pulse thrum in my neck. When I participated last year, I looked at the experience through the eyes of a reenactor, knowing the history but not feeling the motivation. It was there the actual battle was fought some 236 years ago and while I most definitely appreciated what had happened there and was awed thinking that I was walking (running) in the footsteps of people long gone but not forgotten, there was not the emotion that the militia men felt, that pit of fury that would make a man look death in the eye and spit in it. This year, I think I’m seeing this same event as an angry patriot who sees how priceless principles of liberty and justice are being bastardized, limited and encroached upon. Unfortunately, I think I’m beginning to understand exactly what fueled these people to take on the biggest power in the world and fight with every breath and strength in them. Pretty much any more, I stay disgusted and ticked off ( a mild phrase ,indeed, but this is a family blog after all), what with the war on educators, the encroachment of insurance companies into one’s total private life, telling me they must have my phone number and email at all times so they can have “health coaches” who don’t know Jack (sorry, Gerald) telling me what I can and cannot do (in their darned dreams!), bungling, incompetent politicians shoving things down my throat, groups telling me what I must or must not say, think or must not think, constant TV advertisement shoving things down my throat, phones and machines that are becoming “smarter” as their owners are becoming more and more stupid and helpless. Faced with this and more, even the mildest, most law abiding person will, sometime in his or her life , get to a point when one says ENOUGH! It doesn’t take much after that point to ignite a veritable inferno of anger and rebellion similiar to what the Rebels must have felt toward the government at the time and their British and Tory “brethren”. Because of new federal guidelines, it is illegal to reenact battles at national battlesite parks. We , the people, the working slugs, are paying the taxes to pay for the upkeep of these places and yet we can’t respectfully reenact the battles or life that existed there, providing the public with a wonderful teaching moment and a glimpse into their own history. The total irony is that there are many who think that the current generation has no clue about the past or it’s importance as a guide for the future and forbidding these events is not helping to correct this problem . Thank goodness that the part of the battle where the Militia fought at Guilford Courthouse is on county land and one can honor those brave and angry patriots there. I wonder what they would think of the country they fought for if they were alive today? Would they think that history is beginning to repeat itself or their sacrifices were in vain? Whatever that might be, Guilford Courthouse is the last stand where one can scream, “Give me liberty or give me death. The devil take ye t’ Hell and beyond”, drawing from the same well of anger and disgust that every patriot drank from. Of course that scream must be accompanied with at least 200 grains of black powder :o).
So, as I’m surveying my digs, I see several rolled cartridges, cartridge box, paper, my powder horn, priming horn, picks and brushes, bag, canteen, flints, patch knife in one pile. My bee-bee gun is on my dresser (in case of home invasion; how stupid is that. I bet I’m the only person in my town who doesn’t own a real pistol- YET) In another pile are the man- rags and in a third are the mocs and trekkers I have to grease up with bear tallow. On top of this, I have a short list of must- haves: more blank cartridges, a primer, a long piece of linen to wipe my Bess with and a half full flask of spirit. My hero is Deborah Sampson ( a fitting last name when you think about the Old Testament) and I read where she took a ball to the leg during a skirmish. Fearing that her identity as a man would be blown, rather than go to the surgeon, she dug out the bullet herself. Now you know that you’d have to be pretty stoked to slice and dice your own leg so I figure in case I get wounded at Guilford and that damned horse stomps me as he almost did last year, they could lay me out next to a tree and let me sip on my flask before the “operation”.
I’m thinkin’ of fightin’ and Guilford Courthouse is where we will make a stand for truth, justice and the American way. Besides the excitement of the moment, I think I will be able to understand what intense emotion compelled otherwise peaceful people to act in an uncommon way. I hope Bob gets his wish this year of putting a hundred men in the field. You can bet your last beer, I’ll be there.