After my son’s death in 2006, as well as also being retired about that same time, I found myself needing something to get my mind right and occupy my newly-found free time. Having been involved in living history and Revolutionary War reenacting as far back as 1972, I began to look into getting back into it, but Revolutionary War reenacting had all but died in the local five-state area so I thought it might be a pleasant change to try something different. The American Civil War had been of great interest to me ever since the Civil War Centennial in 1961 (when I was 11 years old) and since Civil War reenacting is very active around here I thought I might try that. Deciding to do Federal or Confederate for me was easy. Confederate rebels would have allowed guys with one arm (I am a disabled Vietnam veteran) to serve, the Yankees would not have, so….Confederate it was!
First of all, The Spangtown Mess has no political agenda. We do not advocate slavery or any of the other evils associated with the Confederate cause. Indeed, three of our members are people of color. It should be remembered that the Confederate soldier was an American too, but from a short lived country that is gone with the wind, so to speak. To tell the whole story of the Civil War, one must tell both sides. We try to tell the Rebel side as best we can, and as authentically as possible.
Events we have attended, starting with the 150th Manassas (Bull Run), included Shiloh, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Chickamauga, Perryville, Cedar Creek, Winchester, the seven day Red River event in Arkansas, and the surrender at Appomattox. These events involve thousands of men. There were 18,000 men at Manassas! They involve serious preplanning and logistics. The 5th Texas and the Spangtowners are often one of the larger single units to attend, and have become well known for it. Other out of state smaller events have included Fort Wayne Indiana and Hastings Michigan.
We do local events as well. One of the largest in Ohio is held at Hale Farm and Village near Peninsula. It ranks as one of the largest local events in the country and certainly the biggest in Ohio. There are often nearly 1,000 participants for the crowd of 3,000 spectators each day of the event. Another large local event is at Zoar. Zoar draws nearly as many as Hale Farm and is held in a preserved 1800’s village administered by the Ohio Historical Society.
The Spangtown Mess hosts an event in Marion too. As part of the “Travel Through Time” event sponsored by the Marion County Historical Society, the Galion members provide a hands on type of civil war experience at Sawyer Ludwig Park. In addition to spectator events, the mess participates in its own drill sessions, work sessions, and an annual Christmas party.
Membership is open to all, but use of firearms requires a minimum age of 16. New members may borrow uniforms, rifles and gear from the “loaner box” until they can provide their own. It’s no small feat gathering everything needed which includes a rifle, bayonet, cartridge box, cap box, belt, jacket, trousers, suspenders, shoes, shirt, canteen, haversack, knapsack, hat, tent, and whatever else the soldier might need. All must be authentic and in accordance with what the 5th Texas would have had in 1863. Travel to events is facilitated by car pools as much as possible. We welcome any new recruits and hope to double the size of the mess in the coming year. Interested individuals can contact our Spangtown Mess Facebook page or contact individual members for information.
Currently, the Spangtown mess includes: Harry Titus, Adam Lumpkins, Tryston Smith, Brian Johnson, Bryce Gillam, Cristian Meade, Tommy Morosco, Devon Lilly, Denver Lilly, Kaleb Scherer, Mat Murrin, Dayvin Hageman, Spencer Kearney, Robert Compston, Jimmy Bones, Deia Lozier, Kayleen Weaver, Julie Smith, Brittany Smith, Teresa Sherman and Lisa Tucker
Jonah and Ryan Fairfield and Brandon Russo also participate with us but live outside the area.
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