Pea Ridge: 152nd Anniversary (Reference Photos)

The battle of Pea Ridge occurred on March 7-8, 1862, but they ‘celebrated’ the anniversary this weekend, which was the 15th-16th. There was a small collection of reenactors doing demonstrations, and, as the highlight, the national park brought out their functioning 6 pound smoothbore and had it fired a few times. It’s always great to go out and wander the 4,300 acres (4300!!) of the park, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some reference photos for my wargaming efforts.

The demonstration area was in a field south of the Old Wire Road, near Elkhorn Tavern. It being March, the sun was low in the southern sky, so, unfortunately, most of these photos are back-lit. I’ve tried to do some ‘correction’ in Photoshop to reduce some of the high contrast shadows, without totally blowing out the highlights.

Anyway, I hope some of this proves useful to someone, somewhere.

This gentleman is portraying a Missouri State Militia member. He gave a brief tour of an action that occurred just north of Elkhorn Tavern-an artillery duel between a four gun Illinois battery and 22 Confederate guns. I'm sure you can guess the outcome. Excellent presenter.

This gentleman is portraying a Missouri State Militia member. He gave a brief tour of an action that occurred just north of Elkhorn Tavern-an artillery duel between a four gun Illinois battery and 22 Confederate guns. The engagement produced a Medal of Honor winner. I’m sure you can guess the ultimate outcome. Excellent presenter. That fellow in the back isn’t a reenactor, just your typical rural Arkansan of a certain vintage.

 

Model 1841 6 Pounder. Your barrels can't be too bright, or too brassy. These 6 pounders were prevalent in the early war, but were soon supplanted by larger smoothbores.

Model 1841 6 Pounder. Your barrels can’t be too bright, or too brassy. These 6 pounders were prevalent in the early war, but were soon supplanted by larger smoothbores.

Union limber. I'm sure the '6 Pounder' wasn't on the back, back in the day. Note, the top of the ammo box is NOT padded. I've been painting them as if they were for my miniatures. Ugh.

Union limber. I’m sure the ‘6 Pounder’ wasn’t on the back, back in the day. Note, the top of the ammo box is NOT padded. I’ve been painting them as if they were for my miniatures. Ugh.

Bad timing, on my part by a fraction of a second. Still, here's the lanyard being pulled.

Bad timing, on my part by a fraction of a second. Still, here’s the lanyard being pulled.

I got to see the 6 pounder fired twice. VERY cool. The piece actually belongs to the national park, not a reenactment group. The ranger gave a pretty detailed presentation while the crew went through their drill before firing.

They fired the gun twice while I was there. VERY cool. The piece actually belongs to the national park, not a reenactment group. The ranger gave a detailed presentation while the crew went through their drill before firing.

Here’s a dropbox link to a video I took of the artillery piece firing. I was using my little hand-held Lumix camera, so it’s a little jerky, at times.

There was a presenter for each side. Both were great at their job. And not overly-well fed, like some of the other troops.

There was a presenter for each side. Both were great at their job. And not overly-well fed, like some of the other troops.

I probably mix up pants and jacket colors too often in my miniatures, if this is anything to go by.

I probably mix up differing pants and jacket colors too often in my miniatures, if this is anything to go by. Also, note how light the un-dyed (I assume) fabrics can be.

Volley fire

Volley fire

Here’s a video of Confederate volley fire.

Union presenter. Also great.

Union presenter. Also great.

War face. Note the variety in shades of blue.

War face. Note the variety in shades of blue and indigo. I believe these guys were portraying the 24th Missouri Infantry, but I could be mistaken.

Union column approaches

Union column approaches

Every Confederate wants to see the Yankee rear, right?

Every Confederate wants to see the Yankee rear, right?

Video of the Union reenactors firing by file.

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Comments

  • Frank Arey  On 03/16/2014 at 1:05 pm

    Useful information, Tim. Again, I envy your proximity to Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove (and the UofA and Dickson Street Bookshops!). Have you taken a look at the 152d anniversary events for Shiloh, April 5-7? I’m sorely tempted by that!

    • arkiegamer  On 03/16/2014 at 1:33 pm

      What can I say? I’m lucky!

      I have not, but I will-sounds like a worthy road trip. Coincidentally, I’m currently reading a book about Shiloh, that I purchased around Christmas time.

  • daggerandbrush  On 03/16/2014 at 5:46 pm

    Thank you for the report. I am always fascinated by the huge interest people have in the Civil War and reenactment of it. There seems to be a rather massive event somewhere in Eastern Europe (Poland?) where they reenact medieval battles, even featuring cavalry…

    • arkiegamer  On 03/16/2014 at 6:21 pm

      I grew up in the US south in the 1970s and 80s, and the Civil War was still very much a living breathing part of contemporary culture, albeit in a distorted manner.

      For many years I resisted doing much reading or studying of the conflict because, at least in my mind, the war was so over-glorified by ‘my’ people, and was tied up with racism, reactionary political tendencies, bitterness, provincialism, and any number of other less-than-pleasant qualities.

      Of course, MY view of the Civil War and its reflection in contemporary society was very over-simplified. It’s a very complicated subject, and one that it’s quite easy to get emotionally argumentative about, if one isn’t careful.

      This event that I attended was quite small-maybe 50 reenactors and a crowd of under 200. It’s the first event of its sort that I’ve ever been to, and it was quite apolitical-the strategy, tactics, and militaristic minutiae was conspicuously and completely divorced from any discussion of the politics, perceptions, and cultural heritage of the war.

      I sometimes worry that things like reenactments, or miniatures wargaming, for that matter, trivializes some very important events. It’s easy to get so burrowed in to the trivial facts of these conflicts that you lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s certainly more comfortable to lose sight of that picture, at times. Then again, I’m not sure how much thinking I’d be doing about the Civil War and its reflections in modern society these days, if I hadn’t started playing miniatures on the topic!

      Anyway, I went off on a long tangent, there. It was very cool to see the guys in uniforms, learn about the day-to-day life of the soldiers, and see a cannon fired. Plus, how often do you get to see crowds of people who are enthusiastic about history? I’d like to see a larger event, some day. Apparently they can get quite huge, and, like the event in Poland, have cavalry, and everything. Probably not as cool as winged hussars, or Polish lancers, though!

  • Frank Arey  On 03/16/2014 at 9:40 pm

    You’d have enjoyed the 150th anniversary at Pea Ridge. Huge crowds – it was a beautiful day – it was nice to see so many people turning out, regardless of whatever motivated them individually.

    Along those lines, have you been to the reenactments at Prairie Grove? They do those every other year – in even-numbered years – so if your calendar is open in early December 2014, I’d recommend it. Lots of reenactors – cavalry, artillery, and infantry – and “sutlers” tents with booksellers, uniforms for reenactors, etc.

    • arkiegamer  On 03/17/2014 at 4:32 pm

      I’ll definitely make Prairie Grove this year. It would be criminal (or at least extremely lazy) not to, as close as it is. Thanks for the heads up!

  • A.P. Hill  On 01/14/2015 at 6:01 pm

    Nice photos. I too paint miniatures @15mm and agree, that I switch up the colors to much on the jackets and trousers. Keep up the good work.

    • arkiegamer  On 01/15/2015 at 7:54 am

      I would expect great accuracy in uniforms from A.P. Hill, himself! Thank you.

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