Journal - 03/19/00
Bentonville Civil War Battle Re-enactment

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Heard about a civil war battle re-enactment that was gonna take place about 80 miles from here in eastern NC - the last major battle of the "Wah" in North Carolina. (the final surrender took place a couple months later at the Bennett House, about a half mile from my place.) We started off the day heading south to just below Chapel Hill, a little Bar & Grill called Michaels. Michaels has gotten to be a routine hangout for bikers every Sunday for brunch. Today was cold...about 38 when we left the house, and the place was really slow. Only about 10 bikes when we pulled up, half of 'em crotch rockets. We still had a great breakfast - ran into my neighbors, Tim and Rodney, and shot the bull about the upcoming Sturgis ride. They did it last year and had some tips for our trip this year.

By the time we got done eating, it was near 11am and the parking lot was a bit more crowded with about 50 bikes, but very heavy with those funny little japanese bikes, so we just rumbled out headed south and picked up Hwy 64 towards Raleigh. Stopped off at The Little Bar to take a leak...hell, I figured I've made enough withdrawals there over the years, I could leave one deposit behind the bar on a Sunday when they were closed.

Once again, against my best wishes our timetable and route made it near impossible to do anything but hunker down on the Interstate and haul ass. We got to just the other side of I-95 and slipped up on the back roads and headed for Bentonville Battlefield Memorial Park. 135 years ago today was this final battle between the godless heathen yanks and our good ol' boys here in the south. The nosey bastards were in our backyard and had three times as many troops as us, but the battle was pretty much a stalemate.

We pulled in the front entrance, around the Road Closed signs and smiled at the flag-wavin' dude trying to get our attention...I think he was trying to say what a nice bike I had...Kim seems to think he was telling us we couldn't go down that road cuz it was for participants of the battle...anyway I just waved at him behind my back as I putted along the dirt road...hell, the parking was a LOT better up here from what I could see!

Right next to the entrance to the battlefield was a big ol' sign says Fire Trucks Only... looks like a safe spot to park the Harley, so I pulled it next to the Fire Chiefs Blazer and locked it up. There musta been a couple thousand cars parked in the fields all around here, some of 'em a mile away - sure is nice to have a bike that can park so close, huh?

If you've never been to a reenactment of a civil war battle, the first thing that strikes you is how stupid both sides was in how they least it looks that way now. Lined up shoulder to shoulder, three and four deep, hell, you could close your eyes and fire over your shoulder and likely hit someone! These guys (and ladies) really get into this stuff...looks like they were having fun, too... the battle was on the original battlefield, out in the middle of some farmlands.

The spectator area was unfortunately behind the Yanks, and we couldn't cheer on the grey like we shoulda... Ya gotta understand this place is just the other side of Johnston County (I do believe Jeff Foxworthy thunk up his whole "redneck" routine while passing through there one night), so the majority of the viewing gallery was distant relatives of some of the rebs who bloodied the fields here, so you gotta imagine the razzin' the yanks were getting from the spectators. Some of em looked back at us more wide-eyed and fearful of us than the oncoming greycoats in front of em! Hehehe - chances were some of US were packin real bullets!

The battle went on for about half an hour, with both sides hootin' and hollarin' and on cue a couple would fall down and play dead. In the end, both sides stopped their shootin, took off their hats and each regiment played a short vesion of TAPS in memorial to the Rebels who fell 135 yrs ago... I think the Yanks may have tooted their horn once or twice too... but looking over at all the bib overalls and ballcaps in the spectator area, I think they thought it wiser not to push things any further.

Afterwards we walked around the encampment a bit, and nosed around the vendor areas. But reality set in when we looked at the sky and figured we better scoot on home before the predicted weather came true. Once we got on the highway, after about 20 minutes of traffic jams, we went non-stop 80mph on home. Was fun, and I recommend you see one some time. This one is done every 5 yrs, but we saw one Fourth of July at Gettysburg one year that beat this one all to hell....Yanks swear they won that one too. In any case, was a fun day, if not a bit chilly - got up to 50 before the day was over though so not a total write-off.

Catch ya later!


HOW TO GET THERE: Find your way to I-40 as it passes east of I-95. Take Exit 341 if you're headed south on 40 or exit 343 if you're headed north. Then go into the town of Newton Grove, and follow Hwy 701 2.5 miles to Harper House Road. There is an Historic Marker on this corner. Go right on Harper House 3.75 miles to the Battlefield Park on your left.

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