J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “gunfire”

Time for Reenacting!

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Now that spring is here, Civil War reenactments are starting up around the country. This weekend, the reenactment of the Battle of Gainesville will take place in Alabama. The event will be held May 8-10, and will include a cavalry battle.

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Attending a reenactment is an excellent way to discover living history and see what Civil War soldiers went through. The people who do reenacting take their hobby very seriously, and some even characterize people who actually lived, like their ancestors. Of course, there are reenactors who play the parts of famous generals and other officers, and sometimes, Abraham Lincoln shows up, too.

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A typical reenactment includes several battles, period dress, rows of sutlers’ (shop owners) tents, weaponry, and Civil War medicine. They also usually include a ball complete with ladies in beautiful gowns, a ladies’ tea, and a period church service on Sunday morning. But the real excitement is in watching the battles themselves. The reenactors make them as believable as possible, and the rumble, boom, crack and smoke of the artillery and gunfire is exhilarating.

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Haunted Houses and the Civil War

I previously mentioned a famous haunted house in Gettysburg known as the Farnsworth House, which stood witness to the battle in July, 1863, and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address the following November. So many other houses are reportedly haunted that the list is virtually endless, but a few host more Civil War ghosts than others.

One other house in Gettysburg is supposedly haunted by Jennie Wade, who resided there and was killed by a stray sharpshooter’s bullet during the battle. The Carter House and the Carnton House, both in Franklin, Tennessee, are still visited by ghosts who witnessed the horrible Battle of Franklin in 1864. The McRaven House in Vicksburg, Mississippi, as well as the Lee-Custis House in Arlington, Virginia, are also ghostly dwellings.

New Orleans entertains its share of Civil War ghosts, along with many other spiritual entities. The Beauregard-Keyes House is said to play host to its former owner, General P.G.T. Beauregard. On several occasions, witnesses have heard and/or seen Beauregard’s Confederates charge through the dining room, complete with yelling, screaming, gunfire, and cannonade.

I met a nice young man last weekend who, once he found out I was a Civil War author, proceeded to tell me about the house he grew up in near Nashville. When I asked if it was haunted, he nearly turned white as a ghost, and told me that he had witnessed strange, scary, unexplainable things. I can’t wait to hear more about what happened. Another friend lives in an old plantation house in Hernando, Mississippi. This house is haunted, too. Not long ago, he and another friend, (both Civil War reenactors) were sitting in the parlor area when a candlestick on the mantle rose up, floated over to the center of the room, and fell to the floor with a crash on its own accord. Skeptics once, they believe in the supernatural now.

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