It has been 18 years since I first “Saw The Elephant” (Civil War Jargon for going into battle for the first time.)
I was so very new to the game. I didn’t know the commands, the maneuvers, or the manual of arms. My uniform was a mismatched combination of authentic uniform and every day clothes. Somehow I was loaned a second sergeant’s jacket and all the officers kept yelling since I wasn’t doing what a second sergeant was supposed to do.
I guess in spite of all the yelling and I still had fun experiencing going into battle shoulder to shoulder, firing an antiquated weapon and giving the Rebel Yell for the first time in front of an audience of spectators. Lordy, I was in heaven.
So I came away with a resolve to learn as much as I could and so began the 18 year trek of reenactments that has gone from Texas through Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Maryland and Pennsylvania. It seems just like yesterday that I was that farbie (unauthenic) figure at the 1994 Prairie Grove reenactment in Northwest Arkansas.