Monday, October 22, 2012

Dahlgren's Raid Re-enactment

One of the benefits of living on the east coast, and Virginia in particular, is that you are surrounded by history.  Everywhere you look, there are signs commemorating various events and landmarks that are important to our nation's history.

Our county got a special treat at the end of September when Dahlgren's Raid was re-enacted throughout our county.  For those of you who have never heard of Dahlgren's Raid, here is a primer.  It was run over the weekend in various locations in Goochland County, VA.  To start the weekend's events, they held a demonstration and educational session for the county elementary schools.  I took the afternoon off to join the Middle Son for the demonstration.

There were Union troops in their full attire, along with all the accessories, such as sabers, pistols and rifles.  Even their horses were outfitted in period saddles and halters.

They did a horsemanship demonstration showing how they would lineup and maneuver a line of horses in preparation for battle, with sabers drawn.  They also explained how the front row would have their sabers turned down and the back row would have their sabers pointed up, so that if the front row person fell off their horse with the saber, it wouldn't be sticking up on the ground and possibly hit a horse or another rider coming behind them.

Pistols were fired, both on command at "at will" from a line of horses.  Obviously these were blanks, but it was still impressive.

Several soldiers dismounted and fired their rifles.  It was also shown how there was a horse tender that would hold the horses still while the other men fired their rifles.  Interestingly, it was one of the better riders that would hold the horses, so they could control the horses during the battle.

They also rolled out a cannon onto the battlefield for a demonstration firing.  This was a highlight for the kids, so they fired the cannon several times.  It was very loud and commanding.

It was a great afternoon for the kids and adults that came to view the demonstration.  It was a warm day, and the soldiers were obviously very warm in their thick uniforms.  The interesting thing about this demonstration, is that it was done in a field less than a half mile from one of the schools.  The reason it couldn't be done on school grounds, is the zero tolerance policy for guns and knives.  That's political correctness gone wrong.  But at least they were able to work around that and make it happen for all the kids to see.

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