Monday, July 23, 2012

Charlton Park: A Peak Into the Past

This has been one busy summer for me; so far I have had the opportunity to travel back in time 11 times since April (add two more to that if you go back to January), and each and every event has been top notch.
The latest reenactment I have attended - Charlton Park in Hastings, Michigan (July 21, 22) - was as good as it gets. This event always tops my yearly list of favorites. In fact, the only thing that would have made it better would've been having my wife in attendance; unfortunately, she stayed home to nurse our young daughter, who had fallen ill with a head cold.
Well, as I have been doing in recent postings, I will present a photographic record of our excursion back to 1862 where, by the way, one of the best battles I have seen yet was enacted. It wasn't any particular battle, mind you, but just a taste of what it may have been like to have the Yankees invading a southern town while the Confederate men were prepared to defend that town. Every-so-often I enjoy portraying one from the "other side" so to speak - in this case, a southerner - and it's also a rarity that I present photographs of battles in my postings, but believe me when I say the battles presented at Charlton Park are well worth showing.
And, yes, it's even fun to be a southerner at times as well! (Yes, I do love and respect the south and the wonderful folks that live there).
I hope you enjoy them.

Here are a few of us civilians.
For a short time I became the proprietor of the Bristol Inn, built by William Bristol in 1848. This was a stagecoach stop until 1869 when the railroad put the stage out of business. The stage, traveling between Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, would stop at the Bristol Inn to rest and water the horses and allow the passengers to eat a meal.

In the early afternoon a few of us enjoyed a luncheon picnic on the village green.

This pretty young lady friend of my son joined us for the picnic

With my wife and young children out of town, a few friends came over to my house and joined me for supper

Just a few doors down the neighbors entertained us townfolk with some fine music

Not everyone could attend the barn dance so this was a nice alternative
Some of the ladies of the local Aid Society sewed a quilt to send off to the local boys off fighting the war

Here, members of the Aid Society show some of the prepared items to send to the fighting boys
For the battle, we portrayed southerners, and we watched with keen interest as the Yankees invaded our town
Our gallant southern men were waiting and gave the Yankees quite a rousing welcome!
The fury arose quickly
The smoke from musket and cannon covered the town in sight and smell
The Yankees kept on charging and showed no sign of letting up...

...and neither did our southern boys
The devastation was everywhere throughout our town
But our gallant southern men drove the Yankee savages back to their northern territory. Our town was safe for the time being
Blue, gray, and the awful color of red were everywhere. The wounded moaned and cried for help
Some of our southern women could not tolerate the awful sounds they were hearing and, once the bullets stopped flying, ran to help whoever they could
Our once peaceful town was now a scene of mayhem
To think we just had a picnic on this green recently
The angels of mercy were truly sent from heaven to help these boys
Chaos and confusion...which wounded soldier shall I go to help first?
These angels of mercy, after spending hours and hours attending to the wounded and dying, needed to get some rest
This House of God was turned into a hospital for the men on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line
And there you have it - our time at the Charlton Park event. I think you can see why this is one of my very favorites of all. 
By the way, the Aid Society ladies pictured above are all a part of one of Michigan's finest civilian groups, the Michigan Soldiers Aid Society. There are a few of us men who are also part of this wonderful organization which promotes historical accuracy and authenticity.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the pictures presented here. See you next time...

If you would like to read about previous excursions to Charlton Park, please click the links below:

Charlton Park 2011
Charlton Park 2010



Gina @ VictorianWannaBe said...

Another great "travel back in time" post! Great photos, thanks for sharing! Gina

An Historical Lady said...

I am so happy for you Ken. Things are so bad for us financially that we have not been able to attend a single reenactment this summer---a first, and real "low". At least when we could go once in awhile, we could forget our troubles, but now we are miserable and heavily burdened 27/7. Even with Adam working 2 crummy jobs, and all the extra side jobs we can get, we can't pay the bare living expenses, and I have to say I am bluer than blue.
We MAY be able to go to a one-day event on Aug. 18th...IF we can snag gas money to Mass.---a couple hours away...
This is all so nasty.
Looking at all your photos makes me happy, and I sure am happy for anyone that can still go to any of the reenactments so dear to our own hearts...
People keep saying "It'll get better" and " of averages", etc., but now, it's been 4 years that we have literally been living in hell, and no 'real' job yet, and all those happy times around the campfire seem far away indeed.
Your blog continues to be a joy to read,

Historical Ken said...

Mary -
My heart breaks for you and Adam. And Patty and I may not be too far behind. I'm not sure what the future holds but that bright spot is getting darker, especially with news received today (20% pay cut for Patty & I - we both work for the school system).
A suggestion to help get your reenacting wants/needs taken care of: Can you hold a living history event in your home every-so-often - sort of like what I did a few months back (in March) with my parlor day?
Also, many times I carpool to events with friends and they will pitch in for gas.
Please keep me posted. You and Adam will be in our prayers.
And people wonder why I want to get away from modern society...