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Archive for March 12, 2012



Johnny Rebs teeth rattle from the firing of a 6 pound gun during the 150 Anniversary of the Skirmish at Picacho Peak.

FORT HUACUHUA's historic and ceremonial regiment empty their pistols before turning their horses and beating a hasty retreat from advancing Confederates.

Visiting spectators at the wire, many re-enactors, like Robert Guyton, enjoy sharing their knowledge of the Civil War with the hundreds of spectators.

Great crowds turned out for the Civil War in the South West to watch more than 200 re-enactors battle out the great Civil War engagements of the South West. Two were fought in New Mexico, Valverde and Glorieta Pass, is often called the Gettsyburg of the West. The third battle, Picacho Peak is fought near the actual battle spot, just across I-10, lies the unmarked grave of a Union trooper who died, buried where he fell at the skirmish known as the Battle of Picacho Peak. Today hundreds turned out to relive those days of the the Confederate Territory of Arizona, and the 150th Anniversary is on everyone mind. “This is a rare thing,”! “A 150th anniversary”! says VJ Audegis and Annette who have been coming for 12 years to this contest between the blue and grey. “This is a really special year”, “this anniversary preceded by the statehood celebration has made it a very exciting year” say Baldy Cervantes and his thirteen year old son Elvis. Both had attended the Civil War in the South West Weekend before and wanted to become re-enactors so they both joined on the spot.


Gaining battlefield experience in 2012, next year, both will be able to bare arms in the battle, firing against the Yankees and be promoted to corporals.

Both father and son are reveling in the anniversary this April 15, the 150th year, of that chance encounter at Picacho Peak, called the most western battle of the Civil War. This summer Cervantes and Elvis are taking off three weeks and driving back to Gettsyburg for the 150th anniversary and re-enactment, a four day event that will see more boots on the ground this July, than has trampled those grounds since the original battle when 133,000 men battled and died in the most desperate fight of the Civil War. Cervantes is proud of his Arizona roots and his Hispanic culture, so when the recruiter mentioned the First Texas were made up of a number of Texacans, and their reenacted force was lily white now. “They needed us”, he said, “We fit right in”.
“We know that few people understand what was happening during the Civil War in the Southwest and these battles offer the public a glimpse into history and how the battles were fought,” says Rob Young, Picacho Peak State Park Manager. “This is also a popular camping park for RVers because it is just off the highway and surrounding Sonoran Desert habitat is so unusual, especially when there are magnificent poppies.” The Mexican Poppy were looking good about three weeks ago but warm days and hot wind frazzled this year’s crop into a less than an average display with pockets of opportunity if you catch them at the right place, at the right time, that spot won’t be Picacho Peak this year.

Lots of color, some clashing, but rebels were just that. Able to rebel against conventional uniforms and able to pursue their own look on the battlefield.

Today Confederate hats are flying out the tent door and Gerald Durbin, owner of the Coon River merchantile, can hardly keep up with the line at cash out. Confederate hats out sell Union all day long. Pausing for a breathe, between checkouts of hardtack, hats of blue and gray, uniforms, flags and dresses he reasons the Johnny Reb look allows variety enough to let its owner change his persona, “those Yankee troops never change”, he explained. “Like cookie-cutters, everyone looks just alike.” Fifteen year old Taylor Horrid, chose the Confederate side and dressed in period clothes to came with his uncle. He was having fun learning about the Civil War.

Moving troops skillfully was artfully demonstrated by the officers and the troops ability to follow commands.

For Taylor, learning how to load, fire, clean a black powder musket has been great and military drilling is something he learned and now loves. He looks forward to learning more about the United States and its history.

Seventeen year old Heather Jones, Mesa accompanied by her Johnny Reb brother, fourteen year old Bryson both have shared their love for history with their friends, "It's fun to be part of something that made our country great".

Brother Bryson thinks it’s fun to “help people learn about history”. His friends think his re-enacting “is pretty cool” and a few friends have joined up.

California re-enactors hung together at camp and enjoyed the desert setting.

Bunch of loosely connected California re-enactors who frequently see each others at events, camped together at Picacho. “We’re all history buffs” and we find re-enacting to be “a good kick in the ass”, says Ray Daniel (right).

Back at camp, Larry Hammack (left) and Robert Guyton pose for a filmless image

“Ain’t that a good looking peacock”, says First Sgt Mark Guyton (right) a re-enactor from Mesa whose brother, Robert (the peacock), mustered him in.

Rebels overrun the Union artillery taking over the cannon and turning it on their owners firing grapeshot till the North left the battlefield.

Heavy musket firing with black powder, was grimy and dirty work and after the 6th round, many found it difficult to ramrod the shot or simply clean the barrel.

"Members of the storied 4th Cavalry Regiment, one of the most famous and most decorated regiments in the US Army. Ft Huacuhua was in the middle of the Apache Indian War"

Since 1855, the 4th Cavalry has continuously served the United States of America in the Indian Wars, the Civil War, the Philippine Insurrection, World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War. Today the 4th Cavalry is a historic and ceremonial regiment stationed at Fort Huachuca and its Troopers are active duty and retired military who care for their horses and drill weekly.

Rod Preuss USA (Ret.) Executive Officer of the storied 4th Cavalry Regiment Ceremonial Unit ...



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