Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A short break from the photos of our Niagara Falls trip because.....

this past weekend Gregg and I attended a reenactment of the Battle of Aldie.  The town is on the way to Middleburg which we have mentioned before, a favorite place to visit when we get the chance.  The fighting took place during the American Civil War on June 17th, 1863. History buffs might enjoy reading more here.

I had been told about the event three months previously but had completely forgotten until we decided to take a drive in the country.  Our drive took us through Aldie where we saw signs that gave us a clue, like this gentleman walking near the old mill.....

and a lady and gentleman deep in conversation.  Can you just imagine what they are saying?  She is asking him what he would like for supper.  "Why vittles, maybe a bowl of peanut soup and cornbread, and you know what would be good with that?"  "What?" she'd say." Why onions!"  She'd roll her eyes and retort, "I will dig up the peanuts, harvest the corn and grind the wheat before dark but you can forget those onions.  That's too much!"  and he'd say, "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn.", and then she would say in a huffy tone, "Well, tomorrow is another day!" as she straightens her skirts and pranced off into the sunset.  Straight out of Gone with the Wind.  Okay, enough of the prattling Scarlet, I don't think anyone will be beating my door down for a screenplay, not in this lifetime anyhow.  Of course, the cars and signs are just a tad out of place.  

We followed the signs to the first field.  It was such a pretty day and the crowd was gathering.

Those big old trees were spoken for.  It was a hot day and we hadn't put any sunscreen lotion on because we had not expected to be outside that much, just a little drive down the country lanes.  Luckily we are now keeping our hats permanently in the car.

It is hard to imagine that terrible battle in such peaceful, beautiful surroundings.

There were people on the field being told to clear the area and this little girl's daddy quickly rounded her up.

This group was right in the middle of the field and they didn't move.  Their cameras were at the ready.....

as was this photographers.  Nope, no one moved but as it turned out.....

and by the time the Union Cavalry showed they were far enough out of harm's way.

By the time the Confederates showed up I was wishing I had brought my binoculars.

We didn't need our sunscreen.  It was all over pretty fast and the people who took part gave us a good idea on troupe placement.  The announcer told us the next battle would be across the road in another field and that we would get a closer view of the action, so off we went.

The whole crowd moved through the garden of the old house.  It must have been here when the battle took place and it looked like someone still lives there.  I am not sure what the purpose of the old beamed structure was but it was in a sad state of disrepair and it wouldn't be long before it fell to the ground. (Since writing about the house I have since found out more information.  According to what I read here this is the Furr-Leith Farm and after being in the Furr-Leith Family for seven generations, changed ownership and is now owned by Chet and Laura Lea Moore of Aldie, VA.

On the other side was the field we were heading for, and we made sure we found a spot under a shady tree.

Good job too as we had to wait about an hour.  The children had fun chatting and were very well behaved, sitting patiently for a good length of time. What a great way to get them interested in the history of their country and they helped to entertain us while we waited.

Some were dressed as they might have been during the Civil War.

I saw this little fellow later.  He was very interested in that stick....

but disappeared quickly when his mother called him.

The Confederates are waiting patiently at the wall, and that is the same wall the real Confederates would have been hiding behind.

After a while the Union troops turned up.

The spectators got ready.....

and the battle commenced.

In this battle the Union troops were defeated.  

Afterwards the troops came to chat with spectators.  They are all very knowledgeable about Civil War History.  

We have a better understanding of what went on in Aldie.  I had no idea of its Civil War connection.  We live near Manassas and have visited its battlefield often over the years.  Their land is open to the public for miles around but the battle here was fought on what is now private land.  

We found this beautiful barn on the property.  Someone else was as interested in taking a photo as we were, and there were plenty of others with cameras behind her.  People love barns!

We have traveled the main road often but have never taken the side roads in Aldie.  It was a wonderful day to start exploring them.  Gregg is one of those history buffs I mentioned.  He reads a lot about this era and coming here has helped him have a better understanding on those placement of troops he has read about.

As a matter of interest, General George A Custer took part in the Battle of Aldie.  He had been promoted to Captain and was in his 20's. Later  he was promoted to Brigadier-General and took part in the Battle of Gettysburg.  A link can be found here with all kinds of interesting facts and photos.  There is also another link here.


  1. Wow! This is so very interesting, Denise. I can just imagine how terrible a time that was. It boggles your mind how many people were killed during those battles.

  2. What an amazing experience. I am pretty certain we don't have such re-enactments here. Possibly just as well - some of our history is shameful.

  3. That was an exciting excursion which wasn't planned. A bit like our wheelbarrow race. It's great for kids to learn about history in this way. Adults too of course. Civil wars always baffle me. Like in Syria today. How can people of the same country kill each other. There must be better solutions.

  4. That's what I like about living on the mainland -- the historic events are so easily recaptured. You and Gregg had a marvelous time. Good going!

  5. Denise, what a great experience. It really takes you back into time. Like a time machine. They do this re-enactment in Gettsyburg too. Your photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing your day!

  6. We used to take a day out with our children to watch local history played out live through the British Sealed Knot Society civil war enactment charity events between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers which was a good way to educate them about those unsettled times. They still remember those outings. There are other aspects to the events such as the authentic costumes and the crafts of the day.

  7. I am anti war myself having had first hand experience of WWII but this looks like a great day for all. Dressing up in all that historical gear and yes, clarifying the positions for the history buffs.
    Great shots Denise.

  8. oh i enjoyed your pics and narrative! aren't re-enactments fun? we have a local one, battle of buchanan. it goes on the whole weekend. it was a couple of months ago. we've seen it once but this year it conflicted with baseball.

  9. they definitely take these reenactments seriously and put a ton of work into them. looked like it was really well done. interesting tidbit about custer being there.

  10. Great photo shoot Denise! Spring & summer is always an excellent time to capture many events. Have a great week. : )

  11. Very interesting post...great pics! Love the horses, who were so beautiful and able to deal with all kinds of things...shooting, dead owners, fake battles, etc.

  12. What better way to learn history? It's good to go off the beaten track sometimes.

  13. I always enjoy these re-enactments.
    The soldiers really take their roles to heart.
    Looks like you are enjoying your holidays, lots to see, the barn header is amazing !

  14. How fortuitous that you came across this event, Denise. I enjoyed the photos, which really give a good taste of what you saw.

  15. Denise, what an interesting day! I am glad you had your sunhats! That little soldier is sure cute! It is hard to imagine such a terrible battle taking place in such a tranquil setting!

  16. Denise,

    Thanks for coming by my blog.

    You have some wonderful shots of the Civil War reenactment. My favorite is the little kid dressed up in uniform.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

  17. I bet this was fascinating to watch! Great shots of the action.

  18. A great reminder of what went on afore us. Absolutely loved the pictures.

    Sorry I'm late, Denise. My blog roll is letting me down lately. I only saw the link to your page on my blog. Which reminds me to ask, how did you do that? I've looked at linking before but could never fathom it out.