Sweet's Civil War Battle Reenactment

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Isoterica, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Penfan inspired me with all the Civil War shots to share my own. There's a lot of images so I made them a little smaller for easy loading.

    A touch of History: "Colonel Benjamin Sweet, later General Sweet, ran Camp Douglas in Chicago. Douglas held thousands of confederate prisoners during the Civil War, and is sometimes called the “Andersonville of the North."

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    Silent Canons

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    Union Encampment

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    The General

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    The South Prepares

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    It's almost time..

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    The first of the canon fire

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    Returning from Recon

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    Duck and Fire!

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    Man down is left behind as the Union Army advances

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    The Confederate Army giving everything they got left

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    The north advances. Note the man lying down, the abandoned soldier is now dead.

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    The North securing the field, the south has fallen

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    The last bastion of the South and it's fallen men

    The Union Army has won

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    The Last Horseman

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    Confederate Presentation of Arms. After which they rushed the crowd to excite the children!

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    The Northern Ranks.. more reserved, they marched off the field

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    Back at Camp

    A few men holding down the camp

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    Surgeons attending the wounded, they trepanned him due to brain swelling and his seizures stopped.

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    Field Remains (It amused me, couldn't make them seem real no matter how I processed)

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    Tending Fire. It was cold that day and they would be spending the night.

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    A boys life..

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    Stars and Stripes

    We missed the skirmish but got there for the battle. This reenactment wasn't as big as the ones out east.. but then some battles were smaller too. Canon XSi w/18-135 and Ricoh GR
  2. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    I don't know Kristen, those "field remains" may not look absolutely real but they certainly made me recoil... As I was looking at these photos of yours which I've enjoyed, I kept thinking about the real life civil war and all the death, dismemberment, pain and horrible suffering and how re-enactments can't give you that reality - and then I saw your "field remains" photo.
  3. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    The surgeons were talking about real life civil war surgery as they were tending to the acting wounded man. The survival rates weren't good. In that mans case they pretended to bore a hole in his head to relieve pressure but they explained only some 30% of those men survived given errors, infections and other factors. Amputations by battle or after the fact didn't bode so well either. These battles were violent, the number of men.. and women, a fact they don't share but women did fight too, as well as older children... the number of people that died was staggering.

    We're so desensitized by stuff like this but all one need to do is look at the children to remember. During the reenactment with the wounded soldier one of the mothers was scooting her boy in closer to see what they were doing. Of course it was all pretend and the doctor would stop to explain things or answer questions so it didn't seem realistic at all. He held up a little piece of wood or plastic or whatever and called it a piece of skull and the soldier was fitted with a cap so that it looked like there was a tiny hole in his head and the surgeon said to the boy, do you want to see? Do you want to poke the hole? The boy started screaming, mommy no more.. The boy wasn't desensitized like everyone else watching and it scared him to see it and it wasn't at all intended to scare like being in a haunted house or like the realistic graphics in movies now. He was horrified of the wounded mans condition.

    That pile of limbs was there when we arrived. The battle hadn't happened yet. I saw cheap spook house props and kinda grinned being that we have always been heavily into halloween. We've had graveyards, realistic ones in our front yard. A beetlejuice with spinning head, a mausoleum.. and the kids would lay under leaf piles and jump up when trick or treaters came to call. So they were props. But looking above you see the wounded man by the canons. They suffered canon fire. He was wounded, the other men that were at that post grabbed one of the canon barrels and they ran off and left him, taking what they felt was valuable. As the battle continued the wounded man proceed to crawl from the rearmost canon towards the one in the foreground. Like a wounded man might. When the opposing army came over the hill he was still alive. They finished him and took that post and in that photo you see him laying there. In another photo you see the Union army moving over a field of bodies, the Confederates. They weren't just crossing the field, they were making sure the dead were dead. That is what struck me most. They weren't moving on, they were checking the bodies, finishing.. and moving on.

    The canon fire, the clods of dirt that flew up into the air, the smoke and the soldiers ducking and running.. it wasn't a hollywood level production but those little details, not the big echoing booms, were the ones that stuck. Out east they had thousands performing.. bodies were likely scattered everywhere.. so much action you couldn't even see all the details. I sat on the side of the south at this smaller reenactment where the area was roped off because I knew the north would be coming, the action would come to me. Imagine it all around though.. Imagine men and women scattered so far you could no longer see the details of their faces, their clothes, their injuries.
  4. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    May 13, 2013
    wow. I love your report and photos. It must have been horrific to be a soldier during those battles. How did you feel as war photographer?
  5. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Thank you for your additional descriptions, Kristen. It sounds as though they did very well at recreating.

    As for that mother...pushing her little kid, well...I'll say no more!
  6. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I don't get a lot of unique opportunities to photograph things so when there was a reenactment last year and I missed it, I told myself this year I would keep my eyes out for it. The audience was behind a tape barrier and I was one of many watching, one of several photographing and I used zoom most the time to get close. I watched their signals for when they would shoot the canons and my husband who was there too would tell me when he saw something coming and I just tried to get all that I could. I would have loved to move among them, even to pretend to be a civil war photographer in their act. I could not however be the real deal. I admire the men that do that work because the reporting needs to happen but I don't want to be among them.
  7. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Maybe I haven't been paying attention properly, but it's nice to see you posting more photos again Kristen
  8. Isoterica

    Isoterica Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I posted quite a few lately, in the GR thread though I did just sell the camera, I made a Fuji thread and have a lot posted.. , also selling gear and sifting the film cameras I'm keeping and the ones I will part with, busy busy. Maybe I just don't stand out but thanks for stopping by Paul!