|Natural Bridge 2017|
Photos. More photos coming. Crowd seemed very light. |
It looked like rain when leaving Jax but cleared up before I got to Olustee. Took the camera this year, but forgot the battery. All photos are from the cell phone which I filled up. Sutlers were sparse. Heard someone say a lot went home Sat because of weather.
The Union drug a cannon way out into the field early which was unusual. Lots of cavalry vs infantry action also, and no action way out in the trees. The prominent Union unit was Maine and the Georgia unit that is usually close has a new more colorful flag.
Park Ranger tried to ruin the whole thing by making people sit not at the rope but well behind it.
Had to wait for a train to cross before going in. At least the have a CSX person there now that stopped it at the signal before the crossing. Gave a lot of info on the train to some British tourists that were interested.
Sutler numbers seemed down. Grass was high and they are really letting the trees in the pyrotechnics are grow up. South left the field entirely at one point in the battle. It seemed like there was some lack of direction for some reason.
I last went to Brooksville in 2005. Its gone downhill. Smaller crowds, fewer reenactors, they have no right to claim the biggest reenenactment in Florida at all anymore. An annoying chattering commentator who gets facts wrong. Even the reenactors responded positively hen he finally said he would stop talking, then talked during Taps anyway.
The field is way to large for the number of reenactors attending action is to far away reminded my of Gettysburg where you need binoculars. Some things would have been much better without the commentary, 2 guys does not constitute a cavalry force and pointing out that action just made it look pathetic.
|Natural Bridge 2015|
Got there early because I expected large crowds, it was the 150th. Turn out was not that heavy however. They did let us in the gates about the time the ceremony at the monument started. That was nice but it did mean we had to sit in the sun through the hour long safety checks.
|CSA vs the Dragon (Natural Bridge 2014)|
Took all the 3 years olds, their older siblings and parents to Natural Bridge. The 3 year olds were convinced the guys were fighting a dragon from the moment the first cannon went off in the woods. There are very few pictures its hard to take them with Miles and Grimm on your lap.
Made it for the last 10 minutes on Sat and the whole event on Sunday. They have stopped mowing the field and the grass was high, 5 feet in some cases making it hard to see anything but peoples heads from the rope. Further back in the stands its easier to see but the crowd at the rope is in the bottom of all the pictures. It was dry, the explosive guys had to put out at least 1 fire and they seemed to have some misfires. There were several new and colorful flags. They also moved some of the skirmishing out of the woods on the far side of the field into the field which was a very good thing. This was the 150th anniversary they crowd was large, but late coming. Had to wait for the reenactment to start because buses were still coming from the airport. Cars were parked all the way to Ocean Pond on the road.
|Natural Bridge 2013|
Cold, it was cold and windy till about an hour before the reenactment. Gibson wanted to go home and I was coming close to agreeing with him because of the weather. It did clear and warm up. Getting frustrated with the organizers. When does it start? 2 times were published, 1pm and 1:30pm and neither are right. The ceremony did start at 1pm but they only let the reenactors into the reenacting area by 1:45-2pm. Then they had to do the inspection. Its well after 2 before we get in.
The new are is nice. We do not get a better view at least if you sit on the south end you cant see cars. There arent enough reenactors for the size of the area. Last year was the first year there so I understand problems. Its time to correct them.
|Olustee on Saturday|
Took Gibson to Olustee Saturday for the reenactment. It was cold and rainy but cleared up half and hour before the battle so there wasnt a crowd but we also didnt have to sit in the rain and wind. Reenactment (or demo since the north won) started out badly. They started 15 minutes early, in the woods on the far side of the field where no one could even make out a solider. They stayed out there for a good 15 minutes, even shooting off cannon in the woods. With the high grass you could only see the smoke from the cannons. Eventually the came into the field and they did a very good job of moving back and forth, flanking and bringing cavalry in close.
We also did several geocaches to and from the reenactment, mostly one I had done before.
|Day 4: Little Bighorn Reenactment|
This wasnt so much a reenactment as a bad high school play. Taps is played at the end not the beginning of a reenactment. Reenactments dont start almost 70 years before and give a history of the area and they actually try and recreate the battle not run around in circles and have some guys die. The battle itself lasted about 10min. The reenactment lasted about and hour. |
The reenactment was really out of the way too. 5 miles outside town you turn onto a gravel road, then drive over a mile behind a ridge to where the seating and the mall, a 6 stall single line setup of vendors was. No shade, no sutlers just local artsy vendors.
A lot more driving afterwards. 8 hours across Montana to Glacier national park.
|The Raid on the St. Andrews Salt Works|
Got up early sat to be at Panama city by 10am for the St. Andrews Salt works raid. Stopped at battery 155 out in St. Andrews park on the way. The only remaining structure is a circular platform for a 155mm gun. Its under a pavilion so im sure its overlooked by most people. There is a good sign in the center if anyone stops to read it.
The St. Andrews Raid is one of the few reenactments to have a boat landing. Got there and the weather was miserable and only got worse. They called the reenactment (scheduled for 2) by noon because of pouring rain. Did get to see drill and sword drill as the troops and sea cadets practiced. One problem, there were no confederates in sight. If the reenactment had happened Im not sure who they would have fought.
|Natural Bridge 2012|
I dont like the new location. I know it now where they fought but its not as good for spectators. No one likes to watch a game from the end zone and thats where we are now. Behind the confederate lines. The artillery is to the left and the infantry on the right to there is no good place to sit. If you sit to the left half the photos have cars in them in the background. The Union is always too far away. I also dont like the set up of keeping people out till just before the reenactment then letting everyone in. The sinkholes could be roped off if thats the problem.
It was supposed to rain all morning and be pretty bad in the afternoon. It stead it drizzled a little and by 1pm cleared up. Reenactment was sunny and windy (soldiers kept loosing their hats). They made some changes this year, the artillery dual didnt last as long and there was action on the field while it took place. Cavalry was closer, even if they just stood around a lot. More Confederate dead and they wiped out a whole Union company leaving just one black solider for a while till they finally got him. Turn out for the reenactors was high, the crowd was low. The grass was high in a lot of places and made more interesting photos. Concerning the photos, I used the continuous mode so there are a lot of them.
Bought a pair of Union blue pants, a couple of period shirts and suspenders. Going to start dressing for reenactments. Still need period waistcoat and a hat.
Spent most the day driving to Bushnell for the reenactment at the Dade Battlefield. The fog was thick like monsters come out and eat you think till almost Ocala. At the battle you are very close to the action if you sit at the rope, bleachers are much further back on a hill and may actually have a better view since the Seminoles are hidden in the palmettos for the battle. The narration needs a lot of work, particularly the U.S. side. Most of his narration is useless rantings that dont help anyone understand what is going on. The park system also needs to work on their over engineering of the parking and transport system, trams really arent needed and one entrance fee would be nice.
Marianna does an event to commemorate the Raid on Marianna every year. A parade down main street combined with the usual reenactment events. The parade is unusual, after the few floats and local beauty queens a running skirmish is fought down the street by reenactors. Its the closest you will ever get to one unless your in the line of battle.
Later that afternoon is the standard recreate a Civil War type battle reenactment. They need to work on the location. The action was to far away and behind scrub to be watchable, several people I was near left because it wasn't really watchable. There were almost no sutlers either (3).
This is the start of the reenactment season:
Oct 23: Jacksonville Invasion at Ft. Caroline
Nov 20: Raid on the Suwanee
Jan 22: Brooksville
Feb 5: Okeechobee, 2nd Seminole War
Feb 19: Olustee
Mar 4: Natural Bridge
Mar 11: Crystal River
April 21: St. Andrews Bay salt works, Panama City
Finally uploaded the Olustee photos and day before going to Natural Bridge. Took Gibson to Natural Bridge, its difficult to take any photos while corralling a 3 year old. He was fascinated by the guns and cannons once they started however.|
|Natural Bridge 2010|
Natural Bridge seemed quick and small this year. When I got there it was almost deserted. No cars on the side of the road. It filled in later but I still think attendance was down. The Reenactment also seemed smaller, no colors for the Union troops even. Checked on the cache in the park and did 2 others on the way back. Its nice to be able to take Plank road and not go through town and Woodville now.
A beautiful day, drove to Olustee and skipped the sutlers. I wanted to sit on the southern side this year since its been years since I did that just for the change so I need to get to the line early. Of course the decided to fight with the south more to the right of the field this year so I was looking at their backsides most the battle. Used the new blackberry as a camera, it did pretty well. Despite the weather the southern line seemed a little sparse, but there seemed to be a good Union turnout.
|Natrual Bridge 2009, Blackberry Trellis, Weather Station|
A warm spring day. They have cleared some of the brush on the Union approach and it looked like the Union was forming lines a bit closer to the confederates than they normally do. The wounded guy was interesting but he just wouldnt die and kept moving around.
After the reenactment finally finished putting up the new blackberry trellis on the peak of the berm between the houses. Mounted the rain guage and temperature sensors from the weather station to it. Still need to get wire vises and tighten the wires some. There is enough room to lengthen the trellis in both directions another 15 feet (its 15 feet between the posts now) over the years and to put in a second trellis downhill before it gets to close to where the major drainage flow would be in a bad storm. Right now there are only two blackberry bushes, the Choctaw and one from Mr. Huggins. I should get new shoots from them and will fill in as needed. The current trellis should hold 5 plants before i need to expand it.