Tuesday, March 11, 2008

3/9/08 A Day at Picacho Peak

Today Bob and I spent the day at Picacho Peak. I've heard it pronounced PeKaCho and Peekachoo,,,,take your pick.

We've passed this area numerous times in our travels up and down I-10 but today it was our destination. Of course as soon as we got to the gas station down the street we were shocked to see how much fuel had gone up in price. Four days ago it was $3.67, today it was.....
$3.76!!!! Please! Someone stop the insanity!

We joined hundreds others to witness the re-enactment of the Civil War battle (skirmish?) that took place here in 1862. This is slated as the westernmost battle to take place in the United States. Both sides were fighting for the land so that they could expand to the Pacific Ocean. This was the only battle in what we now know as Arizona.

We pulled into the crowded parking lot and thought about the long walk ahead of us to the battle field. We were both glad to see the shuttle.
As we got to the battle area the first we noticed was the tent area.
We stopped and listened to the two in this picture about life back in the day when this battle took place.

They explained that women were very important during the Civil War as nurses, laundresses, seamstresses, cooks and the list went on and on. It was explained that the Confederate Army was made up of mostly young farm boys who were taken care of by the women in their lives be it a mother, grandmother, aunt or even a young wife. Therefore, they didn't know how to cook, sew or tend to boo-boo's.

From there we made our way to the concession area. Kettle corn was a big seller.

It was warm today but I think they sold lots of drinks mainly for the blue bottle souveniers.
In walking around we saw demonstrations of the way things were done in days gone by.

I am so glad I was born in the 1950's and NOT the 1850's!

We passed these ladies in period dress. Give me shorts and a T anyday!

There was a theatrical show but we weren't able to catch it. Here are the "actors" practicing.
This fella was learning how to play something I can only describe as spoons but in fact they were just pieces of wood and each was held between the fingers. He was having a hard time but the lady sure could play!
We watched this lady spin yarn and learned all about cotton growing back in the day before modern day farm machinery.
Here's where laundry was done....oh yeah, I'm really glad I was born when I was! I just don't think my nails and a washboard would get along.
We walked past this tent that shows how bathing was taken care and how much it cost.
I'd be finding me two bucks somehow, some way!
We took a walk down "tent row" to see what life was like for men in the field when a battle wasn't going on. Some wrote home, some sang from their hymn books, some took a nap.
It's getting close to the time when the battle will start. The troops are being called to order.
Marching to the battlefield.

Look at the difference in uniforms between the Union soldiers and the Confederates. The latter truly does look like southern boys right from the farms.

It was time to make our way towards the place where the battle would take place. We didn't think to take chairs with us and we noticed all these people didn't either. A lot of people made use of the natural seats located at the base of the peak.

There were quite a few Confederate and Union soldiers involved in the re-enactment of the battle or skirmish as it is called. This wasn't the case when this actually took place. I'll give you a little background on the events.

Twelve Union cavalry troopers and one scout, commanded by Lieutenant James Barrett of the 1st California Cavalry, were conducting a sweep of the Picacho Pass area, looking for Confederates reported to be nearby. Barrett was under orders not to engage them, but to wait for the main column to come up. However, their patrol surprised and captured three Confederate pickets. It failed to see seven other Confederate soldiers before they opened fire. During the bloody skirmish that followed, Barrett and two of his men were killed and three others wounded. Aside from the mistake of not waiting for the main force under Capt. William P. Calloway to arrive, Barrett erred in ordering a cavalry charge on the Confederates, who had taken cover in a thicket. The Union cavalrymen thus made easy targets. After a brisk engagement that lasted about ninety minutes, both sides withdrew from the scene.
The remains of the two Union privates buried at Picacho were later removed to the
Presidio in San Francisco, California, but Lt. Barrett's grave, near the present railroad tracks, remains unmarked and undisturbed. Union reports indicate two Confederates may have been wounded, but there is no confirmation of this.

The Confederate participants reported the engagement to Capt. Sherrod Hunter, commander at Tucson, who in his official report made no mention of any Confederate casualties aside from the three men captured.

The Confederate's are shooting their cannons in this picture which were quite loud.

I was really facinated with the perfect smoke rings the cannons made.

The aftermath of the battle.

After the "show" was over the participants lined before the rope that kept spectators at bay to answer our questions. Not only about the battle but about taking part in Living History events.

So this was our first Civil War re-enactment that we attended. It was interesting, it was fun and it won't be our last.

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