Saturday, March 20, 2010

Socorro, NM - 26-28 FEB 2010

So, this was a nice event at Socorro, NM. I was afraid it was going to rain, but the weather held off and we had a good event. My #2 & #3 children, Tom & Eme, went with me on the event. We didn't leave home till 11 pm due to a scout event, and then it was tough trying to squeeze all the gear, plus room for both kids, into my Ion. But after driving & stopping for sleep for about 2 hours on the road, we finally arrived at 4 am. It was quite chilly that night. We didn't set up the tents, but just threw all the gear on the ground, rolled out the sleeping bags and went to sleep.

Here is my son Tom. He was my photographer and did a pretty nice job of snapping pics. Too bad the batteries were only good through the Saturday portion. Here is Tom with one of Sean's horses.

Here are some new pals of mine, Sean on my left and Ponch on my right. They are a part of the Old Fort Griffin Memorial Regiment like just about all the rest of the cavalry reenactors at the event, including my pal Larry Pope, who I ride with.

Ponch taught me some new tips on correct procedures on tacking up. He rides several times a week and has been riding for many years, and reenacting for a long time as well. Probably the most knowledgeable cavalry reenactor (regarding the horsemanship side of it) that I've ever come across at events. And Sean does saddlery for a business (I can't recall the real term). Both compatriots are quiet handy to be around at an event.

Here I am wondering how I constantly manage to get myself stuck in formation wherever I go....

Here I am with Ginger getting ready to ride out for lance drill Saturday am.

A couple of fellow compatriots of Terry's Texas Rangers, 8th TX Cavalry, Jay and a newcomer, Tex. This was his first event. Jay Stephens on the other hand, is a longtime veteran of reenacting. I learned some good stuff from him this weekend.

I like this pic from Tom of a stack of the lances that we were going to use later in the event.

Here come the Federals onto the field on Saturday. There were fellas from Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado at this event. Just goes to show how spread out things in the West are. I remember when I first started reenacting and how driving 3 hours to an event was a burden. Now, it is the distance to my 'home turf' events!

Here is Peter, our commander for the event, surveying the Yanks as they take the field. Peter is from the Denver, CO area. Like the others mentioned, I learned a great deal from Peter this weekend as well, not the least of it being how to do period dance steps! Hoss is also from the Denver area and is mentioned later in the post. The same can be said of him - that he is a knowledgeable reenactor who taught me quite a bit this weekend.

The Confederate infantry arrayed in skirmisher formation.

A pic of us riding out. We went out as two platoons of 4 each. Larry, Hoss, the next fella (can't remember his name...sorry) and Peter were one platoon. Sean and the other rider (who is a local fella that only rides at this event anymore) got separated from the rest of our platoon in this instance, hence the look of disorganization in this pic (although it generally wasn't that bad during the event as it may look here)

Watch out, Larry...those Yanks have a good bead on you!

Larry must be checking his hat for bullet holes after making it back after escaping that volley!

Here we are waiting to head out to reenact the one and only lance charge of the entire War Between the States. Both the 4th Texas Mounted Rifles & 5th Texas Mounted Rifles were present at the Battle of Valverde. You can read the description of the Confederate victory under COL Thomas Green (since BG Sibley was drunk at the time of battle and had to turn it over to his subordinate) by clicking on the prior link. But suffice it to say that the Texas cavalry rode out with lances to intimidate the line in order to breach it. They thought they were riding down on a less disciplined, green New Mexico territory militia. But instead they came upon veteran, disciplined US regulars from Colorado. The Federal troops held their fire until the cavalry got within 50 yards during their charge. 20 troopers were killed and almost all of the horses were disabled. The historic lancer charge was over as quickly as it began. The dragoon techniques of the early American cavalry proved quite ineffective against accurate rifles of the period.

Here we are getting in position, at least our squad.

Here is the lancer charge in action. Hard to tell from this pic what is going on due to Tom being a long way away. This is the reenactment of the historic lancer charge (the only one of the Civil War) that was a failed attempted to bust the Union line at the Battle of Valverde.

I love this pic that someone (with a much nicer camera and better vantage point than what my Tom was able take all weekend) took. Larry is coming out of the charge with me on his left and Hoss on his right. Great pic!

Here we are coming off the field trying to look shot up. Only Ponch is still holding the pose (nicely done!). Historically, the survivors of the the group reportedly rode back to the Confederate line, rearmed with pistols and shotguns and got back in the action.

Alright, we are formed up for the next piece of the battle. Let's go shoot some Yankees!

Uh, where are they? We look in total disarray here...I'm sure we are simply reforming.

The mountain howitzer in action. They got themselves a Yank in the foreground...

Save some Yankees for me!

Yea, if you shoot and miss, the infantry have no chance to reload before we get there with revolvers ready!

Swinging around to form up and go again!

Ponch and myself looking for more action. Unfortunately I had to fake my shots as the cream of wheat I used to pack the cylinders oddly fell out of my extra cylinders AND my Colt popped out of my shoulder holster unbeknownst to me. A spectator picked it up and kept it for themselves. With a $250 deductible, I'll be lucky to get a penny in the insurance adjustment...

Mopping up Bluebellies...

Missed me...not even close!

It is always a good time when you get to run the field, burn lots of powder and then scamper off the field to wherever you want when you are complete! It was a short field I felt, but we had a real good time. Not a bad event at all.

And New Mexico, although wide open areas for much of the state, I love the mountains that are prevalent. Socorro is just to the south of that mountain.

Larry and I posing after the event with lances in hand. Those of us who sported the lance had a lot of fun and it was a great privilege to reenact such a historic event. Unfortunately, I don't have any pics of Sunday's action, as the camera batteries died after taking the bagpipe pics. But on Sunday we reenacted the turning point in the New Mexico campaign, the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Just click on the link to learn about the battle.

Another shot of me and Ginger as I go to stack the lance.

Larry was awarded the Old Fort Griffin Memorial Regiment Trooper of the Year at the event in front of his peers. He is surely well deserving of the honor. Larry is a 20 plus year veteran reenactor and works hard to be accurate in his impression, without being a snob about it. I've learned a lot from him already since I first met him at Ft. Selden back in September 2009.

Larry's youngest daughter, Amanda warming up her smile!

Tom, Eme and Larry's oldest daughter Emily sitting around the campfire.

Finally went to a ball at an event. Bethany never wanted to go in the past, so I took Tom & Eme. We had a good time learning old dances.

We must have kept Emily out at the ball too late because at 9 am, she is still sleeping. So Hoss broke out his bagpipes for a morning serenade.

Emily is in there somewhere!

Here is Tom, Amanda, Eme & Emily. They had a great time playing in the fire, the nearby woods and in general just enjoying the outdoors as a kids do!