View & Print Coupons
  • |
  • |
Please insert a friend's information that you would like send an email to.
Friend's Email Address:  
Friend's Name:
Your Email Address:
Your Name:
Special Message:

Better Living Through Reenacting


Modern life is confounding. It's doubtful this is the first time that notion has occurred to you. In an age when our coffee makers have built-in clocks, our clocks rarely have hands, our hands rarely have calluses, and the average car has more onboard computing power than the first lunar lander, everyday life can become somewhat complicated. In fact, it's a safe bet that unless you are reading this article while actually atop your horse out in a field, there are at least five electronic gadgets droning away within your easy reach.Soldiers

And that's the trick, when we are on our horses we can momentarily forget about all things high-tech and mechanized. Horses have a transportation power that goes beyond sheer locomotion and moves us to another place and time. They are living, breathing time machines. So, it's no wonder then that grown men of a certain historical bent sometimes grow tired of modernity, put on grey or blue wool suits, get on their horses and go off to join the cavalry.

Why Reenact?

The world of Civil War reenacting is a curious one to the outside observer, often raising some legitimate questions. Are these men of backwards thinking? Are they just out there playing army?

According to the reenactors of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry Co. C, the resounding answer to all of these questions is, no. To these men, Civil War reenacting is about understanding the past, learning from it and teaching those lessons to others. And on a personal level, these men of the cavalry appreciate the escape of riding their horse back through history to an age that makes today's confusions small and distant.

"You find yourself taken back in time," says Sandy Lucas, Adjutant to the Fincastle, Va.-based Co. C. "Your worldly concerns: your bills, your troubles at the office or whatever's bothering you completely disappear. You are out there with your horse, your brothers and a piece of ground to defend, and you are totally focused on that."

Nobody is out there trying to change history. There are no lingering resentments between the Confederacy and the Union. In fact, relations between Rebels and Yankees are surprisingly strong. (It takes two sides to organize a good war, after all.) About the only thing they compete over on the battlefield is the authenticity of their look. "The Confederate impression allows for a lot of attitude in dress and look," Sandy says. "But the Union portrayal is easy: a blue jacket, blue trousers and black boots and leather."

The Truth of War

By no means is Civil War reenacting just escapism and costumery. It is a historical investigation that gives participants the sense that our modern times are actually far less confounding than the concerns of a soldier 150 years ago.

"It's true that in a sense, reenactors are taken back in time," Sandy reflects. "But, you have to realize that the men who were actually out there had much greater pressures on them. Not only were they worried about their own safety but the safety of their wives and children back home as well."

These are the truths of war that the 2nd Cavalry tries to impress on the spectators, students and history buffs who come to see their battles and living histories. According to Sandy, "It's not all glory. In fact, it's more gory than it is glory. But it's interesting to look at those times and try to give folks a sense of what things were like back then. In educating people, we try not to glorify things. We talk about the suffering, the disease and the risks involved with war."

Of Men and Horses

The men of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry Co. C share more than a love of Civil War heritage. "The equine aspect makes our group tighter," acknowledges Sandy. "In addition to our interest in the period and the history, we have a deep interest in the horses. That makes the bond that much better. We're not reenactors with simple props; we're horsemen who reenact. We get together socially and ride, and it's that kind of camaraderie that makes our unit so successful. We've been reenacting together for about 22 years, and that's pretty much unheard of in the reenactment community."

As Sandy explains it, cavalry soldiers have always shared a special bond with their mounts. "The relationship was very strong. They went through everything together. When they slept at night the horses were tied beside them. In fact, often a soldier would tie his horse to his feet and in the morning find himself yards from where he laid down, the horse having been grazing and dragging him along as it did."

This bond between horse and cavalryman is part of what makes it possible for the team to perform in the midst of a battle's confusion. "A large part of the horse's behavior in battle is the attitude of the rider. The horses key as much off their rider as the other horses. They can sense anxiety in pretty much any situation. If a horse is trying to cross a stream or walk on a footbridge, it needs to sense that the rider is confident in this situation."

In Sandy's eyes, this is one area where Civil War era soldiers and his company of reenactors share a natural similarity. "We just got back from a reenactment of Morgan's Raid in Ohio. We were out there for five days and did 70 miles on horseback. And just as the cavalry of old did, we could only take what we could carry. So if there was water to be had, my horse drank from my hat. And if I had something in my haversack, he gets some too. The more you trust him, the more he'll trust you."

And as proof that the sites of battle, real or simulated, can breed poetry, Sandy Lucas offers these insightful words, "It is one of those things, I think, that is very natural of men and horses, this strong symbiotic relationship."

On June 4th, 2007, members of the 2nd Virginia Cavalry Co. C, Fincastle Rifles, Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), gave a cavalry demonstration and history presentation to 5th and 6th graders from Rockbridge County. Over 400 students attended the event hosted by the Virginia Horse Center and Southern States. For more information, go to www.2ndvacavalrycoc.com


Related Products

GridList

Pyranha Insecticide Aerosol 15oz
COMPARE
$16.49
Pyranha Insecticide Aerosol 15oz
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Decker Jumbo Spiral Spring Steel
COMPARE
$12.99
Decker Jumbo Spiral Spring Steel
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Mane 'n Tail Shampoo 1gal
COMPARE
$19.99
Mane 'n Tail Shampoo 1gal
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Little Giant Duratote Tote Box Purple
COMPARE
$11.99
Little Giant Duratote Tote Box Purple
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Diamond 14
COMPARE
$43.99
Diamond 14" Hoof Nipper
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Mane 'n Tail Conditioner 1gal
COMPARE
$19.99
Mane 'n Tail Conditioner 1gal
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Andis Large Animal Clipper
COMPARE
$84.99
Andis Large Animal Clipper
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability
Little Giant Duratote Tote Box Blue
COMPARE
$11.99
Little Giant Duratote Tote Box Blue
Check Store Availability
Check Store Availability


Product availability and pricing may vary by location.
These products may be purchased at your local store.
Images are representative only. Color and size may vary.
Your Current Store:

You will see pricing and specials based on this store.