150 Years BOMB Series, Article #2, The Personal Side of The Story
Right after I checked into my condo, The Dunes, Sunset Properties, I dropped off my luggage and headed downstairs to get to the 150th Anniversary of The Battle of Mobile Bay. As I exited the elevator I ran into these two wonderful people and learned their story. Their names were Maurice and Jo Richards and gladly told me they were from the Texas Hill Country Northwest of San Antonio. I thought it was fantastic that they came all the way to see this historic event and I asked Maurice the background of the trip.
His quote was “My daughter gave me the trip and David A Weeks was my Great Grandfather. He enlisted (Private) in the 1st Bat. Alabama Artillery in June 1863 and served at Ft. Morgan for about a year, then about May 1864 the army transferred him to the 21st Alabama Vol. Inf. About July 1964 the 21st that sent him on detached duty to the 1st Louisiana Heavy artillery. He was with the 1st Louisiana during the battle and when Morgan fell almost all of the 21st Inf. was taken prisoner. Since there wasn’t a 21st left, the Department of the Gulf permanently transferred him to the Louisiana outfit. As near as I’ve been able to learn he stayed with them through the end of the war.”
I was blown away that he had relatives that actually fought in the battle and his daughter thought enough of him that she gave him this very rewarding trip. They later dressed in period attire and I didn’t see them at the event somehow. I learned though, that many people came from different areas just to see where a relative fought or just to participate in the reenactment process. I learned that there is a dedicated segment of our population striving to keep the memories of the battles, the wars and basically our history alive.
Before the Naval Battle was to ensue I climbed many a flight of stairs and wondered all around the various parts of Fort Morgan. I had no idea that the State Historic Site was so large! One could almost get lost looking into all the rooms and peering out over the ocean. I was rambling along the wall overlooking the Bay, when I came across these two great people. William was taking a photo of Jessica and they were both dressed in period clothing.
As I was about to ask them if they wanted me to take their photo together, they spun and asked me if I would take their photo. I had to laugh as we were thinking the same thing. I struggled with their I-Phone and William helped me, as I took several photos. They told me they were from Biloxi Mississippi and sometimes participated in re-enactments. They had a great attitude and were both very hospitable. I just had to include them in my post!
The last day as I waited for the last round of cannon fire and watched as the infantrymen fired their black powder rifles I ran into Stephen Hinnart and Marissa Batchar from Pensacola Florida. Stephen stated that he participated in re-enacments at times, but had not signed up for this one. They told me they were Civil War buffs and couldn’t think of a better way to spend the weekend. Not your typical young adults. They were enthusiastic, very respectful and patient with me, as I recorded their names and took notes. I told him I loved his beard and it must be nice to have color still in it. They were both great young people and gave this old man all the time I needed.
On Saturday night I while watching the nighttime cannon fire, I watched as this event staff person over and over had to ask people not to walk out into the field with explosives. Seems common sense to me. I decided to sit down and talk with Chistopher Kimball, as he told me how deep his love for the re-enactment proceedings was. We talked extensively between the rope violators (people who strayed onto the field of battle) and the explosives. He let me know that he was a 1830’s specialist and was really involved with the Seminole & Creek War Chronology and had a written a book on it. I was so enthralled to hear his story. He recently obtained a job, which has a library full of information below his office. It is on the next floor down and he is able to research additional facts, for a second book if I recall correctly, on a regular basis.
I asked him which side he “fought on” when they did the Seminole re-enactments on the Seminole reservation and he told me both sides. I was taken back, as that meant he had to purchase two sets of apparel and participate as needed each time. I asked him which was his favorite side and he told me the Seminole side as they always win. After all he said we are on their reservation when we do the re-enactments. I am guilty of getting so involved again with his story that I never got his photo. I can give you his web site for the book on the Seminole War with this link. Additionally if you use the code 3BSJY439 you will get a 15% discount.
In the end I thoroughly enjoyed meeting these people and many more that talked with me about their love for re-enactment and how they travel around the country appearing at various events and reliving history. I now have a great deal more appreciation for these people and their endeavors. The period costumes alone are rather expensive, much less all the travel, lodging and food they eat. In the end though, it is a passion and they are to be commended for participating in such historical re-enactments!
***This trip was partially sponsored by Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism