There's an old saying...
We did a tour of Antietam yesterday. Hubby and I went, along with 3 guys that he works with. B, N, and R. We pulled in at one of the stops where the Washington Monument is. There were some guys there doing a living history demo. As we were done looking at the stuff they had laid out, the guy asked if we'd be interested in seeing all that a typical enlisted Union soldier would have to carry. We stood there and listened while he talked about food rations, and how they would use a canteen half to make a little fry pan. He showed us how they would use a bayonnet end to grind coffee beans for their coffee. It was all very interesting, then he asked for someone to help him out for a minute. I looked away. Inside I was begging... "don't pick me, don't pick me..." Guess I should have said it out loud. He started talking about all they had in thier packs, and the uniforms... then he started loading me down like a pack mule. I had a bag with food rations, a canteen, a powder bag (that holds the black powder and miniballs or bullets), the backpack (and it was my turn to carry the axe) and the bed roll. All together, it was about 45 lbs of gear. Oh, and don't forget the Musket Rifle and bayonnet. It was interesting to have all that stuff on, and to think that then these young men (and some women I learned) would then walk miles and have to fight. And trust me, it's not like you're walking down some little country road. We were in Western MD. In the Blue Ridge. Mountains. And some of the soldiers that were there, walked for days to get there. I had a hard time with just standing there. My shoulders were aching, and my back was beginning to hurt. With all that weight on your back you even change the way that you stand. It was a wonder more of them didn't just collapse from exhaustion.
All in all, it was a very interesting day. I saw Burnside Bridge, very cool. We saw Bloody Lane, very sad. If you ever get a chance, just once you should visit a Civil war battlefield (or any of our country's warfields). The history is rich, and for me, there is an overwhelming sense of awe. Just hearing how the battles unfold, and the bits of stories to go with them is very interesting.
Oh, and to prove I'm a sucker, there are photos. Enjoy.