THROUGH ARKANSAS EYES
You haven’t really lived until you have spent a night in 39 degree temperatures and only two gum blankets, a wool blanket and your frock coat for warmth on the cold ground. I have spent a few nights in these kinds of conditions, but not a full campaign of freezing night temperatures with not enough cover to keep really warm.
During the 140th Antietam Anniversary Reenactment we were allow by the Superintendent John Howard to sleep on the Roulette Farm, which is located in the middle of the Antietam Battlefield just to the east of Bloody Lane. It got down into the lower 40’s and I had to go get near one of the few campfires during the night to get warm. My thin blood was in no mood for the cold Maryland early Fall nights.
During the 140th Antietam we had two reenactors from UK that joined us. They portrayed the 1st Texas back in England. It was a treat to have them.
The 140th was a wonderful time for me. I got to see some of the Georgia troops that had been on the 1999 Red River Campaign with my unit.
But the biggest thrill was to see Tom Keys better known as “Cornbread”. He is the reenactor’s reenactor. I have never met a person that can live the life of a Confederate Soldier as he does. You believe he is a reincarnation of what they were like back in the 1860’s. His etiquette, mastery of the dress of a veteran soldier, demeanor on the march and in camp, and devotion to duty is phenomenal. Plus once in camp and the business of the day is complete, he is the spirit of the unit in leading us in entertainment with song, funny stories and just good camaraderie. Tom is the Color Bearer of the Palmetto Flag for the South Carolina Palmetto Brigade. When he carries a flag, it is with the most awe inspiring sense of honor and love. You have to witness it to believe it.
These type of people make reenacting both fun and an inspiration.