Today is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bristoe Station. I’ll be out on the field there later today, taking the scheduled tours timed to the actions a century and a half ago. Somewhat overcast day with a good chance for more rain. However, my track record thus far for sesquicentennial events is good when it comes to rain. Just in case, here’s a photo taken of the field in better weather:
Since my relocation to Northern Virginia, Bristoe Station has “grown up” a bit. That is in large part due to the Civil War Trust and Prince William County. Both organizations have purchased lands in front of development to ensure a good portion of this field (and that of Kettle Run) were set aside.
This battle is far more complex than Lee telling Powell Hill to bury his dead. If you can’t be there today, check out the resources at the park website and on Civil War Trust’s webpage.
From McIntosh’s Hill:
Kirkland’s Brigade advanced through open fields that are today a pine thicket:
Area where 26th North Carolina reached the railroad:
I spent part of the day on my own walking the trails (well interpreted trails, I would add). Later, my friend Todd Berkoff gave me a very good overview of the battle. Then, because I wanted to soak it all up, I attended the real time programs offered by the park (during which I took most of the photos above).
If you have not toured Bristoe Station, then you should consider making it a stop. Add in the new mobile tour and make a day of it!
150 years ago today, shots rang in the early morning as Colonel Robert Minty’s cavalry contested a Confederate advance on Reeds Bridge.
How I wish I were in Northern Georgia today. But I must live vicariously through the cameras of those on the National Park Service Social Media Team, and their postings on the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park Facebook page. Here’s a fine example of their work:
More of the artillery demonstrations on a Facebook album.
One of the weekend events was “A Walk Through Time” living history. One part of that was a presidential campaign debate between representatives of three 1860 candidates – John C. Breckinridge, John Bell, and Stephen A. Douglas.
And campaigning was different back then… or at least the free stuff they gave away was a little bit different.
Skipping forward in the timeline, the living historians enacted a recruitment call:
The demonstrations included displays of homefront activities, on the Kelly Farm:
But artillery blasts heralded the approach of the war to this otherwise peaceful setting.
Other weekend demonstrations included some mounted infantry depicting Wilder’s Brigade:
Mounted infantry = speed and power.
Keep watching the park’s page for updates. By the way, the park is just over 4,000 likes. Click over there and run that number up a bit, OK?
I’ve been to numerous sesquicentennial events since those things started in 2010. A good number of them, from Harpers Ferry to most recently Gettysburg, have been National Park Service programs. Yesterday, knowing I could not attend events at Forts Moultrie and Sumter related to the 150th observances of the assault on Battery Wagner, my plan was to watch the social media feeds. The service’s social media team does a fantastic job. So I figured to catch up on the activities through Twitter and Facebook. When I checked in around lunch time, I noticed something different about these feeds when compared to past events.
The commemoration did not happen at just one park. And I’m not talking about adjacent parks, but rather places hundreds of miles apart – Boston African American National Historic Site, Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, National Mall & Memorial Parks, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, and Clara Barton National Historic Site. This was a distributed commemoration (in more ways than one), thanks to the power of these social media connections.
Yesterday evening, as I caught up on the posts and interactions what struck me was the feeling of involvement across this all. I was not there, physically. But part of the experience nonetheless. Many thanks to the NPS social media team members who provide the content to those feeds.
If we thought for a moment the sesquicentennial was just going to fade off after a “high water mark” at Gettysburg, June 18, 2013 proved otherwise.