Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Reunion of Civil War Vets, Gettysburg, 1913

Day two of the reunion dawned unseasonably cool and crisp.  I rose just prior to sunup, dressed quickly, and slipped silently from the tent.  Stooping over, I blew enquiringly into the white ashes of last night’s campfire and was rewarded with the encouraging glow of several unspent embers.  These I fed with a hastily collected handful of twigs and acorn hulls, eventually achieving a strapping youngster of a flame, with sufficient appetite to stomach adult kindling. A good blaze now established, I threw on a couple of good-sized logs and filled Asa’s old graniteware pot with branch water.  Within ten minutes the aroma of fresh brewed coffee filled the air. 
   The grayish tint of the eastern horizon steadily brightened to lavender, pink, and then yellow, and wisps of ghostly translucent mist began rising from the cool, damp field.  It seemed likely that this now benign battlefield had long been accustomed to parading ghosts, but I surveyed the scene with no small degree of wonder.  By the time I’d warmed my backside and enjoyed my first cup of Joe, additional campers were stirring; the sound of clanking utensils echoed from the hollow, and the mouthwatering aroma of frying bacon wafted on the still morning air.  I inhaled deeply, smiled and stretched, and safely secured the memory.
   Moments later, several enthusiastic revelers in this nostalgic event found this quiet time an auspicious occasion for tuning their muzzleloaders.  Several volleys sharply punctuated the solitude; the smell of black powder took the field on several constellations of white smoke, and Lidge charged from the tent as though he’d been fired from a cannon! This concluded my quiet time!  Even the most determined drowsers immediately assumed their stations, and another day’s festivities were at hand.  Obie’s Quest”

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