The bright sun blinds you, the tall grass brushes against your sides, and the smell of gunpowder overpowering your nostrils till they became nullified. This was the Battle of Union Gap.
Our brutal battle started off as all others did in 1865, bunch of soldiers sitting around a campfire (though in broad daylight) and cleaning their weapons. But before I get to the gruesome details let me back up for a moment and just say this two-day event was over father day weekend, which is a special time for fathers and sons to bond and make memories with each other. Well we sure did that with the 1st Texas! A few of my friends were talking to me and said, “Hey want to join first Texas?” So my Dad began talking back and forth with the commander and my friend, and soon enough we reached an agreement. That agreement was that we would be able to attend at least one of the battles on Saturday, with the possibility of us staying the night however since my Dad works second shift we weren’t able to. Enough present day language, let’s go back in time to 1865!
There I was, dressed in grey. I felt very proud and humbled wearing the uniform, the same one they wore not too long ago. After having a moment of reflection in myself, I was awoken by the sound of the brigade, “Form up boys form up!” I hear quickly getting into place. To my right I could hear the infamous Cotton, keeping us calm and making us giggle as we approach the rest of the brigade. You know for a fact that the other companies don’t have nearly as much fun as we do. There we were lined up by our respected companies, awaiting the orders to move out. Soon they were given and we moved out, along the tree line making an odd U-Turn in front of the tall grass. Reminds me of the cornfield…. Flashbacks aside we couldn’t help but realize the sun bearing down on us, so we retreated to the shade, waiting for the Yankee line to appear from their hiding spot.
After several naughty jokes, and a futuristic doo-hickey that took a photo of you but didn’t have you stand in the same spot unmoving for two to three minutes took several shots of all of us together. I then got the feeling that we were about to march. The good flag was flown over us, everyone trying to give it one last grasp, as they knew it was gonna be their last. “Forward march!” cried the company commander. The first Texas followed suite and were ride beside Mississippi, then we saw the Union Marines. Many of us laughed seeing it foolish that a few marines could take on a whole brigade, we quickly routed them off and they went running with their hoop skirts back to their brothers. Once they were out of sight we could see several Union companies trying to flank us, this was my chance to prove to these battle hardened Texans what I was made of. “Front rank kneel, rear rank step up!” my Dad and I being in the rear rank did just that and open fired a murderous volley, taking several of the Yankees to their graves. The order was given to move to the right at the double-quick, and boy did we know why, the cavalry was flanking us. We high tailed it to our flank, then a shot rang out from the cavalry officer’s gun, our commander was hit. With blood pouring from his mouth he ordered his replacement to drive back to cavalry and flank the enemy. Confusion and disarray over the loss of our commander made even I frozen in our place for a moment. Then the confusion turned to anger as I loaded my musket and let out a boomer of a shot, knocking the cavalry officer clear off his horse, landing with a resounding thud on the ground. Satisfied I turned to where my other men were and engaged the Berdan’s to our front, “tree frogs” we call them on account they hop out of the grass then hop back down.
We pushed forward now against the brunt of the Yankee line. Shot after shot was traded back men falling one by one, I discovered to my horror that both my Dad and I were out of black powder, then the Yanks shot and ripped me apart holes appearing on my chest as I flung backward, dead even before I hit the ground. My Dad turned around to look at me then he too went down. I could hear the battle in my ears as I lay in the sun awaiting my time to come. The cannons stopped bellowing, the shots stopped firing, and the women of the dead went out to claim their husbands and sons in this bloodbath on the fields of the gap. All I remember was my boys cheering after the battle ended, least my sacrifice wasn’t wasted as I drifted into eternal peace. Going forward in time to 2015, I must say I had a blast fighting with the Texans. After we came back to camp we gathered in a circle, and the three new recruits were inducted by tradition. Our right palm out which received a full cartridge of gunpowder, the left cupped water. After this we were told to rub our hands together really hard, then spread it all over our faces. The pictures followed, we were now Texans. I tried washing my face from one of the nearby spigots, and managed to spread it all around my face. I was now the modern-day version of blackface, Cotton got a good chuckle when he saw my face. Don’t worry, pictures will be at the end of this post with our “initiation” faces. The Texans are a family unit, who doesn’t believe in bureaucracy or shun members who can’t come to an event due to other obligations.
This unit is my new home, and I’m proud to now say I’m a Texan. If you or anyone you know thinks the Texans are the reenacting unit for you, you can come join us at one of the events found here. Did I forget to mention your first reenactment, is totally FREE? Yup, we have loaner gear and weapons for all if you want to try it. If you have any more questions you can visit our Facebook page, or go to the WCWA and look at the contact information for “1st Texas Infantry”. Hope you all had a wonderful father’s day weekend! – James References (pictures and video):
- AllensCreations: http://www.allenscreations.com/dtc1ti.html
- Charles Florin
- Charlotte Wigfall: http://university-degrees-distance-learning2.blogspot.com/2009/06/charlotte-maria-cross-wigfall.html
- Photobucket: http://s235.photobucket.com/user/UKReb_photo/media/DSC00039-4_zps3a8f3968.jpg.htm