Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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Last Civil War event of the year

I tell myself that I do this because I enjoy it, but I'm starting to get flashbacks of Jilara the Head Constable in the SCA, where I finished every weekend dead on my feet and stressed far beyond what I should be. And yet, I volunteered to be 1st Sgt. for another year, on Sunday. That thrill of cannon fire must addle my brains. But I will not do it for more than one more year. And I remember that the Fresno event seems to always be the one that turns into a nightmare, with events I mutter about for years later.

The event was a total cluster---k. SNAFU. Not a single item on the Orders of the Day for Saturday seemed to be right, and they kept changing the schedule on us, while I tried to keep everything running smoothly, make sure my officers got to the right places on time, and assembled cannon crews out of the halt and the lame. I swear that half our unit ought to be sent to the Invalid Corps! Folks who can't stand, whose arms can't be raised, rotator cuff injuries, back injuries. And they still want to be on a gun! And my commander rearranged my lists when I wasn't around, and I found myself looking at the first battle with two injured crew members, two who were only certified for powder-running, and myself. NO!
And then there was the fact the cannon line was about 1/4 mile from where they wanted us to muster before the battle, which made getting supplies out there a challenge. Fortunately, we managed to requisition a staff golf cart to run boxes of powder, etc. out to the line in relays, putting one of our non-walking members out there to guard the stuff while we mustered. (We had two people who could barely walk, this weekend.) Oh, and did I mention the sprinklers that came on at midnight at one end of camp? We caught hell for that, because I had assigned the provost, and they were supposed to be onto it. I told my commander that it was the James River Squadron's shift, and they were at the opposite end of camp, so what the hey? HIS superior officer, also site co-ordinator, who finally had to call 911 to get someone to come out to the park to turn off the sprinklers, had me fake the record to show HIM on the shift, so he could assume responsibility. (His shift was really 10-11pm.) Bless him. I don't know what my provosts could have done if even HE had trouble getting it dealt with.

After problems with the Parrott rifle the first battle Saturday, due to only having myself and one functional crew member I managed to swap in at the last minute, I hand-picked my own crew for the second battle to only have *one* injured member (rotator cuff), my prime rammer Mike Neenan, and put Doni on worm. And got a godsend. A FORMER OWNER of Bonnie Blue showed up, and got sent down to me. I pumped Wayne for all the idiosyncracies of the gun, and back history as he knew it. It was invaluable. The gun ran smoothly for the rest of the weekend, even with a changing crew.

By the time I became a breveted officer for an unscheduled muster of the troops (while our officers were out picking up barbecue for dinner, since it was 6:30 pm), I was running on sheer willpower and my feet were dead. Later, about 8:30, someone from Command Staff stopped by and asked me to schedule a morning gun for 7 am wakeup. I was tired enough that I looked around at the three of us still up and said "You wish!" and said I'd see what I could do. I hit my sleeping bag at 9pm and woke up in the dark to...cannonfire? My first thought was "well, I don't have to worry about morning gun." Then I realized it was DARK. And I was hearing musket fire. It seems some Yankees decided to stage a sneak attack at 5:45 am on the Washington Artillery (who were camping under their guns, on the field), which then turned into an artillery battle. I don't think the rest of the troops were happy. And I got an earful from the Washington Artillery, later, about the damned Yankees. Yeah, travel 400 miles to get amushed at o-dark-thirty.

Fortunately, I managed to snag powder-ferry duty on Sunday, so that my dead feet (swollen and now wearing two pair of wool socks for padding) didn't suffer quite so much. Things went smoother, though not without hitches. Until we packed to leave, and I found the morning cooking crew had left all the pots dirty, and the firepits just as when the last coffee was poured. And were nowhere to be found. I muttered darkly about "Do I have to do EVERYTHING myself?" as I cleaned stuff up so I could pack it to take home. (I shepherd a lot of the unit equipment to and from events.)

I hit the road home thinking "I don't have to do this again for at least 4 months! Now just let me get the cannon trailer into the driveway." My whole body hurt. Finally home (I hate Casa de Fruita Renaissance Faire traffic!), I called Chris and he manhandled the cannon trailer into the driveway with surprising ease. Apparently, the way you maneuver this thing is he jumps on the tongue with his full body weight, pushing to one side or another to "bounce" it into position, and I push/pull. It was suprisingly easy, compared to trying to steer it either by hand or car (simply impossible with the car). (I left the rest of the stuff in the pickup bed until lunch, today.) I could finally rest! I took a long hot shower (long for me, maybe 15 minutes) drank some instant wakame/miso soup after I realized my last food was biscuits and gravy at 7:30 am, and fell into bed. I woke up at 2:30 am, my body hurting and feeling miserable. I got up, took aspirin, and finally went to sleep again at 3 am. I slept until 8 am. I feel better, but I'm tired. Winter Quarters will be good. Zzz.
Tags: civil war

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