Muche's Equine Action Photos

The Cavalry -
Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

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Cavalry Reenactors Relive the Battle of Gettysburg in Long Beach


Two Confederate cavalrymen make their way across an empty field in search of Union forces. On the hill can be seen the Southern artillery already prepared for the action that is sure to come. Surprisingly the cavalry scouts fail to spot the Union cavalry grouped just beyond the trees. This quiet beginning soon evolved into a scene of controlled chaos as the Confederate cannons fired round after round at the Union line while their infantry advanced on the Union troops at the bottom of the hill. Meanwhile, the Confederate cavalry alternately engaged both their Northern counterparts and Union ground forces as horses carrying officers and generals from both sides galloped across the smoky field, positioning and rallying their men.

This was the the beginning of the reenactment of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. For two days reenactors from across California simulated a spectacular battle involving infantry, artillery and cavalry at El Dorado Park East in Long Beach as spectators were given a glimpse of one of the most important battles of the Civil War.

As well as viewing the battles, visitors could explore the Union and Confederate encampments. It was here that that the event really came alive as you could watch and talk to the who men were busy cleaning their weapons, cooking by a campfire, or tending to their horses. It was this last group, the cavalry, that was the reason we were there.

While the cavalry was the eyes and ears of both armies, there was quite a bit of difference in the way they were used in non-scouting missions. While Southern cavalry was generally used as a far ranging offensive weapon, the Union tended to use it more for defense, in particular to guard the artillery. Also, while the federal government tended to provide more uniform mounts, particularly in the early stages of the war, Confederate cavalrymen had to provide their own horses and replace them themselves if they were lost. Today's reenactors must naturally also provide their own mounts and these horses must be trained to accept and ignore things that would send the average horse into a walleyed fit. As well as pistol and rifle fire from their rider, they must also accept fire from other riders in close proximity, cannon fire, massed musket fire, swinging sabers coming from seemingly all directions, and, finally, yelling and screaming from the participants and the spectators. While no horse is completely bombproof, these horses are about as close as you will probably get.

Chuck Ellingson, who portrays a Confederate Major of Cavalry, is the Battalion Equine Coordinator. His mount Ghost, an Arabian-Quarter Horse mix, is extremely calm both on and off the field and his only quirk according to Ellingson is that he won’t let anyone else ride him. Ghost, along with all the other horses, had to be evaluated for suitability before being ridden into battle. New horses are first introduced to the conditions at a reenactment from a safe distance, usually being left in camp to see how they handle the noise and crowds. If they react well they are slowly moved closer to the action and begin training to accept the firearm and sword work of their rider. This program continues until it is felt that they are ready for the real thing. Even then the horse are worked continually to reenforce their training. According to Ellingson, it usually takes four or five weeks for the horse to complete its training.

While most reenactors bring their own horse into the hobby, some ride borrowed mounts. Jim Suchin, a trooper of 1st North Carolina Cavalry, rides Blackie, a nine year old Mustang belonging to Manual Fernandes who also rides a seven year old Mustang named Spirit. Both horses, which were trained by Fernandes after he acquired them from the BLM, are working cow horses as well as reenacting mounts.

When asked why he had chosen Confederate cavalry as opposed to the Union, Ellingson had several reasons. “Southern cavalry is less regimented than Union when it comes to uniforms and equipment and someone has to do it or you can’t have a reenactment,” he stated. John Brian, a Union Infantryman expressed similar thoughts regarding the choosing of sides: “This is about people and events not politics. North or South you had to go about the business of living and reenactments make it more real than the pages of a book. You have to have both sides.”

This was the second Civil War reenactment to be held at El Dorado Park and the largest to be held in Southern California. Gold Coast Festivals, who put on the event, is already committed to doing it again next year. The quality of the event should make it a must attend for not only those interested in the Civil War but for horse people who want to learn more about these exceptional horses and their riders.

   Confederate Cavalry

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment 

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Confederate Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

   Union Cavalry


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment


The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

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The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Union Cavalry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

   Cavalry Battle

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Cavalry Battle - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

   Infantry and Artillery
Infantry

The Infantry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment



The Infantry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment



The Infantry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Infantry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Infantry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Infantry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Infantry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

The Infantry - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

Artillery

Artillery - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment



Artillery - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment



Artillery - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

Artillery - Long Beach Civil War Reenactment

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Jim & Lani Muche muche@earthlink.net

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