Living History Event 2-16-13

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The Garrison has been busy this month both on site and off.  On February 11, Larry Pope traveled to Santa Fe to participate with employees of all State Monuments at the annual ‘Culture Day at the Roundhouse’.  Each entity of the Department of Cultural Affairs had displays of their sites and activities set up in the Rotunda of the New Mexico Legislature’s Roundhouse.  Each State Monument was represented at the New Mexico State Monuments display which included a small cannon and saddle for hands-on activities.  The display was well received by all who passed by.

Larry Auld, Mike Bilbo, Dan Judy, Theresa Matuszek and her son Wayne all joined forces at Lincoln State Monument to commemorate the 200th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln.  This was done with three special viewings of the new movie ‘Lincoln’ by director Steven Spielberg.  The Garrison was used as historically clothed ushers for viewers of the movie, which played to three ‘sell out’ crowds.

The monthly living history event went off without a hitch, despite the freezing morning temperatures.  Larry Pope was able to bring out his new horse ‘Goldie’ to enhance the camp display.  We had to break an inch of ice out of the water for the horse to drink in the morning, but as the day progressed, so did the temperature.  It turned out to be a beautiful day.  Theresa Matuszek, now the company cook, made a breakfast of bacon and biscuits.  Colors were raised at 10:00 and were immediately followed by an infantry drill session headed by Mike Bilbo.  Several visitors happened by during the drill and were ‘pressed into service’ to fill the much depleted company ranks.  They performed admirably under the circumstances and leaned much about the Antebellum Army.

Larry Pope conducted a discussion on packing the Grimsley saddle and saddling the horse.  This was well attended by visitor and volunteer alike and, fortunately, the horse was cooperative.  Rations were distributed in preparation for an afternoon march, the target of which was the fort’s lime kiln.  By 1:00, we were on the march headed down the Rio Bonito in search of the kiln.  Unfortunately, the horses outpaced most of the garrison for this march, so we’ll have to work on our coordination on that aspect.  Passing through a number of fences, we finally made our destination.  The lime kiln was constructed to ‘bake’ lime stone into quick lime, the essential ingredient in mortar necessary to set brick or stone together in the construction of the buildings at the fort.  This was a wonderful ‘find’ and worth the trip to see.  The Garrison returned to the fort completely exhausted and elected to rest until evening flag ceremony.  This took place at about 4:30 and was followed by a wonderful chili stew dinner provided by the cook.  We all hit the sack pretty early, owing to the day’s activities.

Sunday dawned cold again, but the day warmed very quickly.  Breakfast was had and the flag was raised.  Numerous visitors appeared fairly early in the day keeping the Garrison busy for most of the morning and part of the afternoon.  We broke camp and left the site by about 3:00.


The Garrison is continuing to engage in various activities supporting Fort Stanton both on site and off.  We are also improving our interpretive techniques as we gain experience with each event we do.  Our afternoon marches are designed to show our volunteers the expanse of Fort Stanton and all its outlying points, each very important to the overall story of Fort Stanton.  We will continue to gain this experience in order to better relate information to visitors, which is, after all, the reason for our existence.