Living History Event April 20, 2013

Event Overview Spring at Fort Stanton brings a variety of entertainments to the senses. This year’s entertainments include such things as; ‘Oh my God it’s cold for April’ (lows in the 20’s), ‘The pollen is so thick I can’t breathe’ and ‘Hey, the wind is only blowing about 25 miles per hour’. We also experienced some very good things like; ‘Look at all the wildlife’, ‘The days are sure getting long’ and ‘Did you know we had over 60 visitors today?’. Yes, life is good at Fort Stanton.

We were joined early on Saturday by our new friends from NMMI who had visited the fort last month and so much enjoyed the day that they wanted to join our ranks. We threw them right into the fray with our stock of uniforms on hand. Josh was assigned to train our new recruits in the manual of arms, a job he completed reluctantly, but well for his experience. With their new training, the cadets (and professor) joined the rest of the Garrison in the morning flag ceremony. Immediately following this, we engaged in a musket stacking exercise much to the entertainment of all involved. Our visitation picked up quite rapidly during the morning and we had several people on hand during each drill session. Victoria Davis began her corset making seminar with several ladies in attendance including a couple of local young girls. Corsets were displayed, fitted, cut and some were sewn on site. Those in attendance were very happy for the opportunity to share in Victoria’s knowledge.

Just before lunch, Matt made a presentation on the Military horse which was quite informative. Unfortunately, he found that information pertaining to our time period is difficult, at best, to obtain. Many visitors followed this presentation as well as the balance of the Garrison. The most visual part of the talk was the measurement of horse height, which was done with the assistance of several volunteers. Following the horse talk, everyone reveled in the bounty of the commissary as we were issued rations and consumed same on the parade.

After lunch, we made our way off site to the shooting range and were followed by a few visitors to that location. Larry held a short discussion on ammunition of the time followed by Mike who trained the men in live firing. And then we let loose! We did individual firing and then made several volleys at the wood target. The men enjoyed themselves so immensely that it only took a few minutes to exhaust the ammunition supply. After clearing weapons, we marched down range to view the damage. The total tally: 4 demolished cinder blocks and 30 hits on the wood target. Not bad for a couple veterans and a bunch of ‘Fresh Fish’, and everyone had a grand time. After cleaning up the range of our debris (and that of others), we traveled back to the fort grounds. Our NMMI compatriots quickly changed back into their normal uniforms and had to return home, though they promised a return trip. Many visitors were on hand during the afternoon and abounded with questions concerning our uniforms and equipment, the horses and our organization. Hopefully, we answered them all adequately. Following evening flag ceremony, we settled in for a nice dinner outside and took stock of our busy day. We were exhausted and actually went to bed a bit early that evening.

Sunday morning began a bit slowly as we recovered from the previous day’s activities. Visitation was slow at first, but by noon, had picked up significantly. We were obliged to remain on site the whole day to accommodate the number. In my estimation, there were probably 40 or 50, but I did not check that count with the museum. During some of the lulls in visitation, we cleaned out the flower beds in the Nurse’s quarters court yard and cleaned the building. With everything done, we left around 5:00 in the evening.

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There were a large number of visitors to the fort over the weekend and all seemed satisfied upon leaving. Our efforts to present new activities for visitors has paid off and will continue to do so.

The Garrison will begin a collaboration with the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell. Through Mr. Thrasher’s efforts, the Institute will attempt to procure several sets of uniforms in the next few months. Their goal is to send several cadets to Fort Stanton on a monthly basis to participate in our living history encampments. This will probably begin in September when the cadets return from summer break and last through the school year. We are excited about this development.

The Garrison will hold a business meeting at the next Living History Encampment which will take place on May 18. Conveniently, that day is also ‘Armed Forces Day’.

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 19

5:00-Living Historians gather to prepare for activities.

Saturday, April 20

  • 10:00-Morning Flag Ceremony
  • 10:15-Drill Infantry/Dismounted
  • 10:30-Corset Construction (Victoria Davis)
  • 11:00-The Army Horse (Matt Midgett)
  • 12:00-Ration Issue
  • 1:30-Live Fire Demonstration (Fort range by the Rio Bonito Bridge)
  • 3:30-Drill Mounted Saber Exercise
  • 4:00-Ladies’ Tea
  • 5:00-Evening Flag Ceremony

 Sunday, April 21

  • 10:00-Morning Flag Ceremony
  • 11:00-Garden cleaning
  • No further scheduled activities, however living historians will be on site most of the day.

Special Note:

For those wishing to attend the ‘Corset Construction Seminar’ hosted by Victoria Davis, you will need to provide the following materials:

  • 1 yard of muslin or other inexpensive material (for test pattern and fitting)
  • A portable sewing machine and/or needle and thread
  • Parchment paper or wax paper to copy patterns
  • Sewing accessories (scissors, tape measure, pins etc.)

Please RSVP Victoria Davis ( to confirm a spot in this seminar