Blog on writing and Civil War reenacting, with links to historic fiction and how-to resources for Civil War reenactors.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010
In the Van: Six days in the Tennessee wilderness.
By the numbers:
20 draft animals
1 smart dog
30 miles of bad road
"In the Van with Kirby Smith", a living history adventure in Tennessee, helped me as a writer of history. As a result of what I learned as part of the event support staff for this Civil War event, a paragraph in Jesse Ludlam's Wars in which oxen play a part will be carefully rewritten. And I learned enough about horses, wagons, mules, oxen and wagoners to keep from stepping in it whenever they come up in a book from here on out.
Enjoy the photos, all by Sherrie Platt Williams of Tennessee, who was 'embedded' on the wagon train as a refugee.
Top: These are "working" oxen, getting a vacation. They are hired (with the owner) for jobs where heavy loads have to be moved through environment that can't handle heavy equipment, like levees and in some national forests. They've done work for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Right: When the brake handle breaks, someone gets the job of operating it without any leverage while the teamster urges the horses up a steep grade. Roads were so bad the soldiers on the trip spent quite a bit of the first two days as pioneers, cutting out and grading roads so the wagons could use them.