I was asked to post this for Richard Laska, our landowner at this past summer's Assaut on Allegheny Event. If we have any takers on this, I need to hear from you a.s.a.p.
“Frozen Hell on Top of Allegheny -- December 12-13 2009.”
We would like your opinion on the idea of gathering a small group (about 50) hard corps troops at Camp Allegheny on the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Allegheny. That’s right. Mid-December on a 4,200-foot ridge in West Virginia. Want to be a part of this wacko idea?
Our goal is to create both a video and a greater appreciation of the real experience of Civil War troops that cruel winter. We don’t want a large number of participants. This is a small-scale survival thing, not a typical shoot-em-up.
And it must be done this year -- the battlefield’s pristine environment may not exist much longer. If nearby construction continues, more than a dozen 400-foot industrial wind turbines will line almost a third of the horizon, and noise from the blades will interfere with sound recording.
If we lose the brooding, silent and remote nature of the battlefield, it just won’t be the same.
The battle on that ridge was intense, but we want to capture the misery, drudgery and boredom between the adrenaline surges of war. Conversations between soldiers who are wet and uncomfortable. Thirsty. Cold. Tired. Video of soldiers who look sick, both physically and emotionally. Trying to boil water for coffee on a cold windy day. Guys who wish they were anywhere but where they are.
We want to honor those who struggled through that dreadful winter here by showing a little of what their life was really like. How their endurance influenced the course of American history.
Nobody has tried to show Civil War life under winter conditions on Camp Allegheny. Nobody. Because it was too tough. Our dream is to produce a video showing the commitment, determination and triumph of pigheaded human willpower over the forces of nature and logic.
If we are lucky, the weekend of Dec 12 and 13 will produce lousy weather. Horrible conditions That would be perfect. Miserable, but perfect.
After the work is done, Rich and Marcia Laska have offered to let participants sleep in their cabins and heated shop. Unless, of course, you want to brave a winter night on Top of Allegheny...
It will take soldiers who really know their Civil War character. Each participant an actual Camp Allegheny soldier. It could be some awesome material. A unique way to inform the public about our history.
The fact that we have only one month to pull this off is a blessing. No wise person would try to do this if he had time to think about it.
Who wants in? Can somebody bring the right tents? We will want folks to bring uniforms, or passables, for both sides of the fight. Most of the shooting (video and otherwise) will happen on the land we used for the reenactment last summer -- the actual battlefield is too vulnerable to march on.
How reenactors respond, in the next week or so, will what we can do on the 12th and 13th. If folks volunteer the time spirit and resources, we can have the plan ready to go by Dec. 1. If not, no big deal. .
And, we’re asking participants to pay whatever they can for the privilege of being miserable. To cover at least soe of our for expenses -- video, supplies, insurance and so on.
Holding a reenactment of soldiers’ life in horrible conditions similar to the original Allegheny campaign? That’s wild. It will get a lot of attention.
One final note, we have permission from the landowner to take a “class photo” near the battlefield proper, and a Civil War publication has asked for such a photograph.
Rich and Marcia Laska