Straight From the Front Lines

The following report comes to you from Aaron Braithwaite and Katy Harvey, Museum Program Specialists at the Indiana State Museum. Both give an inside look into the action that took place at the Indiana State Museum on March 28 during the 4th Annual Civil War Drill.

civil_war_drill_01“I never thought once in my life I’d be serving in the military, but there I was in the Union Army, ‘fresh fish’ as they called me. Standing there with my newly issued rifle we drilled, marching together to prep for battle. On such a beautiful day I don’t think any of us expected what was to come, but as we marched on, shots rang out! A Confederate ambush! Quickly we gathered and returned fire; splitting into two groups. As the main group kept the southern soldiers pinned, three others including myself pressed from the east, flanking the Confederates’ position. With minimal losses victory was quickly ours! I guess I didn’t realize just how dangerous working at the museum could be.” (Aaron Braithwaite)

civil_war_drill_02“Like most days, I began my day began by photographing the soldiers practicing their morning drills. The troop had been drilling intensively for the past week in anticipation of a Confederate attack. During the morning of March 28, the captain caught wind of Confederate movement to the south, and sent three soldiers to scout the area. I grabbed my camera just in time to capture the scouting team face to face with Confederate soldiers. The three soldiers hurried back to the troop to warn them of the approaching danger. I heard the captain order his troops to fall into ranks and prepare for battle. As the soldiers marched forward, I was able to photograph the pride and hesitation in the new recruit’s faces. Suddenly, the Confederate soldiers fired! Although new and inexperienced, the recruits charged courageously forward to fight and protect the Union. The troop did lose a few good soldiers that day, but was able to stop the Confederates from advancing farther north. Although my day started as any other, it ended with me in the center of an ambush photographing a battle between the Union and Confederates.” (Katy Harvey)

The 4th Annual Civil War Drill was presented by members of the 1st Irish Infantry of the 35th Indiana Volunteers, a local Civil War re-enactors group. The group presents during the last Saturday in March each year. During the presentation, visitors get a glimpse of civilian and military life during the Civil War.