Friday night, it was cool at Crossroads Village. I had finally warmed up in my wool blanket, when Mother Nature decided to make a call. As I was getting up I heard some voices speaking low. As I walked to my watering tree I noticed that there were four men over by the Commanderís tent. So after I did my duty I went over to see who they were. It was some old friends from the old third, so I joined them.

We talked until around 2AM and then we all left for tents, to catch some sleep before the morning started.

I finally got some warmth back from the old wool blanket and was dozing off when something woke me fully. I stepped out of my tent and looked over the camp. It was very dark, a large cloud had covered the moon. As the cloud rolled past the moon it got very bright. There was something different. It took me a moment or two to realize what it was.

The camp seemed to have grown by a huge number of tents. The smells were different and I could see men walking guard duty on the edges of the camp. I could hear horses whinnying softly in the background. I sat down on my campstool and just looked. My mind seemed to be telling me I wasnít Jack Long Assnt. Surgeon for the Fifth Mi Inf. at a civil war event around Flint Mich. I was somewhere else in time. My name was Dr. J. Long, Civil War surgeon overlooking a war camp during the 1860s, the night before a battle. My thoughts were on the men who I knew were going to die the next day and the ones who would be wounded.

I was scared. I knew that 50% of those who would be brought to me would also die. I was never trained to put bodies back together after being wounded by shot and shell. I detested war with all the hardships and danger to innocent boys. But my faith was strong enough to know that God would provide me with the strength that was needed for this task. Tears were streaming down from my eyes and I cried for all the mothers who would learn about the death of their precious sons.

I could not get these feelings out of my mind.

After this dread feeling, which seemed like it went on for hours, another cloud covered the full moon. When this cloud moved on I looked back across the camp and it was back to 2006 at Cross Roads Village. The tears were still in my eyes when I went back to bed.

Now for all of you new people who have never experienced first person it might be hard to imagine what it is like. But I think my mind put me in a state of first person. And believe me it was real. I can still smell and hear the camp from the 1860s. It was real and a bit scary. But boys, this is what Civil War reenacting is all about. Some of you may wonder why I have stayed around reenacting at my age, so now you know. It is all about first person experience, whether by one's self or interacting with a buddy.

So now when you listen to veterans talk about first person, listen and learn. If this is done, then it will make all the hard work and heat worth every minute of it.

© By Jack Long (



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