But by 7 a.m. reveille on Sunday, it was starting to drizzle down a misty rain. Aside from the Sgt. Major, I was the ranking artillery officer on site, at that point, so I went to Officer's Call. Apparently, the park was not willing to call off a days battles on account of a little rain, so we all shrugged and went back to inform our units. Well, the rain increased to a steady downpour, and we started wondering about how viable firing black powder weapons was going to be. With the artillery, it wasn't an issue. We just switched entirely from quill-and-linstock and friction primers for timed fire to friction primers exclusively. I filled my water bucket by emptying the standing water from the pooling runoff at the edge of the Command Fly. As we readied for the first battle, one of the officers observed that there were people as crazy as us: there were visitors up in the stands, ready to watch the battle. Another officer ventured that they were even crazier: they had paid to come watch us in the rain! The battle went off pretty well, though there were a lot of misfires among the infantry. However, the ditch at the foot of the high ground was filling with water, and puddles were accumulating on the main battlefield, adding to the challenge.
Colonel Claytor declared that if they made us fight another battle, his instructions were for everyone to fire two shots and run away. Fortunately, by noon, the park had realized that the rain was only getting heavier, and shut the gates, letting us know we could start packing up at 1 pm. Instead of a huge rush to pack, we seemed to be in slow motion. I think everyone, already soaked to the skin, didn't see the rush, by that point. And it was awfully tempting to leave the flies up until the last, occasionally getting out of the steady rain. No one even seemed to be changing into civvies for the drive back, probably figuring (like I did) that there was no point in just getting another set of clothes soaked. (At least wool is warm when it's wet!)
One of the more sobering aspects of this event was running into an old friend I hadn't seen for a few years, and finding out he had intestinal cancer. (I also thought on seeing another friend at this same event, a couple years ago, when he was in remission with bladder cancer (and has since died)). But it's starting to get a little creepy, how many people my age (and often younger) are either dead or getting severe health problems. Somehow, one tends to think that in this day and age, the warrenty on the human body isn't supposed to run out until the age of sixty-something, but that doesn't seem to be the case, lately.
And I shouldn't be considering getting a new cannon. But Woody is getting out of reenacting at the end of the year, and is going to be selling his cannon at a very attractive price. I could probably manage to swing it, and think of selling Goliath to make up some of the cost, having Goldie for smaller scale and Woody's gun for full-scale... Ah, temptations!