The thirteenth annual reenactment of the Battle of Leatherwood was another fun weekend for the participants and spectators. Reenactments are like a family reunion, where old friends meet on various battlefields and have a good time. The combatants wear blue or gray as necessary to produce a good battle. They are history buffs, and love to discuss campaigns, strategies, and similar topics.
Spectators were treated to an entertaining weekend at one of the largest events in Perry County. Several vendors served food, and sutlers sold period clothing, quilts, flags, and cast iron. Visitors were able to use our new swinging bridge, recently rebuilt by the Perry County Fiscal Court, after spring floods destroyed the previous one. They also saw the cut stone blacksmith shop, probably the last cut stone building to be built in our area, and our molasses pit, which had been moved to the barn area.
The Education Day, Friday, Oct. 23 was a phenomenal success, as thirty-seven bus loads of kids from six counties visited on a beautiful day to tour twenty-five stations relating to the Civil War and pioneer living. They saw a period school, a person making lye soap, and one making salt from brine. There were two blacksmiths, and a replica of an old general store with an incorporated post office. Notable personalities portraying General Lee and President Lincoln lectured. H. K. Edgerton, gave animated talks about black Confederate soldiers. A period camp served food. A bugler demonstrated calls. A display of Confederate flags, and a medical display were nearby. They also heard a talk about life of a soldier, the importance of the Declaration of Independence, a presentation by a nurse, and an undertaker. Steve Ball played music of the Civil War on a period guitar. He played a minstrel song (Camptown Races), a Civil War song, and ended with “Goober Peas.” The kids loved it. They also loved the skirmish in conjunction with an artillery demonstration. It was a beautiful fall day for this kind of event, and many kids ate their lunch, as they watched others view the stations.
The ladies had a tea on Saturday with live music and several speakers. They were served various finger foods to go with their tea, and received a complementary tea cup and saucer to take home.
Prior to Saturday’s battle, Bruce Austin played the National Anthem on his bugle, Steve Ball played “My Old Kentucky Home,” we had a salute to the veterans, H. K. Edgerton gave an animated talk concerning the history of the Confederate battle flag, and General Lee talked briefly. Cannons opened the battle, as pickets and skirmishers fired upon each other with 58 caliber muskets. The battle see-sawed back and forth, and eventually the Union prevailed, as in the original battle. The bugler played Taps then Reveille, and the fallen soldiers rose upon the command of “resurrect.” They lined up in front of the crowd and gave three salutes.
The reenactors met that evening at Stuart Robinson School for a ball. Young and old joined in several dances for a good time, and went home tired.
Sunday’s first activity was a period church service conducted by Rick King. It was a good service, in the tradition of old time services. The reenactors attended the church service, and later went to battle and shot at each other, just like at a family reunion. This time the Confederates won, and again, all lined up for three salutes. They joined for a group picture, then broke camp and went home happy, but sad that they will have to wait through a long winter before meeting again.
Kerry Crutcher is Chairman of the Battle of Leatherwood Reenactment Committee.