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We live in Virginia – the heart of reenactments from many eras.   There are Revolutionary, Colonial and Civil War reenactments on a regular basis.   Here’s an account of our adventure shooting the Dec 2012 150th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Fredericksburg including the pontoon boat crossing of the Rappahannock River.  

We had requested media passes to get as close as possible and ended up sitting on the edge of the dock as the pontoons approached.    The tide turned a smidge and they floated in so the Rebs on the shore switched gears and came racing up the dock to shoot OVER OUR HEADS.

Civil War, reenactment, reeanactors, soldiers, rebals, union, Massachusetts Irish Brigade, Fredericksburg, Virginia, battlefield, battle, civilians, street, river, pontoons

Rebel troops we could touch prepare to fire on Union troops in the pontoon boats

Utter immersion.    Sights, sounds, smells, the entire gamut.    The best thing about something like this happening in your home town is knowing where to go/sit/shoot from for neat angles.   In this case I could point forward across the river at the assembling yanks and their boats coming across, shoot laterally and slightly up a hill to catch the Rebs shooting back (or over my head!), and then turn slightly to my right and catch the battle raging up a historic hill called Rocky Lane on a profile view.

We live in Virginia – the heart of reenactments from many eras. There are Revolutionary, Colonial and Civil War reenactments on a regular basis. Here’s an account of our adventure shooting the Dec 2012 150th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Fredericksburg including the pontoon boat crossing of the Rappahannock River. We had requested media passes to get as close as possible and ended up sitting on the edge of the dock as the pontoons approached. The tide turned a smidge and they floated in so the Rebs on the shore switched gears and came racing up the dock to shoot OVER OUR HEADS. (Insert We Could Touch Them) Utter immersion. Sights, sounds, smells, the entire gamut. The best thing about something like this happening in your home town is knowing where to go/sit/shoot from for neat angles. In this case I could point forward across the river at the assembling yanks and their boats coming across, shoot laterally and slightly up a hill to catch the Rebs shooting back (or over my head!), and then turn slightly to my right and catch the battle raging up a historic hill called Rocky Lane on a profile view. Insert First Wave Halfway and Flag Forward Then Union soldiers brought over big old flags and a breeze started up. Whoo hoooo. As the last of the Yanks were coming across the bridge, we picked up and headed along a friend’s property to their rooftop and bridge to be elevated above the street battle. As we were standing there with them the Amtrak train came through into the middle of the battle underneath the overpass. COOL. The battles of Fredericksburg were fought for control of the railroad. I can only imagine how it must have been to be a passenger on that train as both sides shot blanks underneath them. Insert Lady n Bridge and Straight Forward Sutlers (travelling shop keepers) set up in the park a few blocks away and the battle continued up that direction. TONS of crazy people to shoot, some in costume, some not. Loved, loved, loved the group of southern women who stood on a street corner heckling the approaching Mass. Irish Brigade (sprigs of anything green in their hats to remind them of home). Screaming things like “Go back to your wives and leave our husbands alone” “You immoral men will burn in hell for what you do” etc. Scowling, serious, great street theater to shoot. Insert Reb Supporters and His Turn My favorite shot of the day was inside one of the sutler tents – a young reenactor looking out at the battlefield with a gentle light coming across his contemplative expression.

The first wave of Union troops crossing the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg ,Virginia

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Union flags forward as the Irish Brigade comes ashore at the base of Rocky Lane in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Then Union soldiers brought over big old flags and a breeze started up.   Whoo hoooo.

As the last of the Yanks were coming across the bridge, we picked up and headed along a friend’s property to their rooftop and bridge to be elevated above the street battle.   As we were standing there with them the Amtrak train came through into the middle of the battle underneath the overpass.   COOL.     The battles of Fredericksburg were fought for control of the railroad.    I can only imagine how it must have been to be a passenger on that train as both sides shot blanks underneath them.

reenactors, soldiers, Union, flag, reenactment, anniversary, battlefield, battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, streetscape, fighting, rifles, woman, train, bridge

A reenactor pauses for a smoke break with the railroad bridge in the background

Sutlers (travelling shop keepers) set up in the park a few blocks away and the battle continued up that direction.   TONS of crazy people to shoot, some in costume, some not.    Loved, loved, loved the group of southern women who stood on a street corner heckling the approaching Mass. Irish Brigade (sprigs of anything green in their hats to remind them of home).    Screaming things like “Go back to your wives and leave our husbands alone”    “You immoral men will burn in hell for what you do” etc.     Scowling, serious, great street theater to shoot.

reenactors, soldiers, Union, flag, reenactment, anniversary, battlefield, battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, streetscape, women, attitude, sticking out tongue, costumes,fighting, rifles

Rebel supporters – portraying the women of town – let the Union troops know their opinions

 

My favorite shot of the day was inside one of the sutler tents – a young reenactor looking out at the battlefield with a gentle light coming across his contemplative expression.

reenactors, soldiers, Union, flag, reenactment, anniversary, battlefield, battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, streetscape, fighting, rifles

A young reenactor readys for battle inside a tent