History is so much better when it’s “living.” Take, for example, the recent Lynch –Tweed Civil War Home Preservation Society’s Living History Event, held on Sat., May 20, onsite near Houston, Mo. I noticed an ad for it in the local newspaper, and frankly, it intrigued me – especially the part about the toe-pincher coffins.
We arrived on the scene of the encampment of the 2nd Missouri Infantry, out near the airport in Houston, to find a few souls wearing uniforms and period costumes. The re-enactors outnumbered the visitors in this case. Unfortunately, the Houston school district set its graduation date on the same weekend (the Preservation Society said they chose first, so there).
The 2nd Missouri attracts members from not only this state, but also from Iowa, Illinois and Arkansas. It’s an eclectic group, and in their brochure, they state,
Blue or Grey, it doesn’t matter to us as we have BOTH uniforms. When we are in blue we are the 21st Missouri US Volunteer Infantry. We also have civilian attire and represent the early war Missouri state Guard and citizens and partisan rangers from later in the war.
The 2nd Missouri is one of 10 companies in the 1st Missouri Battalion, which belongs to one of 5 battalions in the Trans-Mississippi Brigade.
The Lynch-Tweed House
The men in the 2nd Missouri that day in Houston appeared quite laid back and happy to support the cause – which was to raise money for further restoration of the old home, built in 1853 and left standing after Bushwhackers came through Houston during the Civil War. It still stands because it was built 3 bricks deep. Supposedly, if you look just right at a certain area in the back room, by a window, you can see the scorch marks from the attempt to burn the house down.
Rumor has it that the house may have served as a temporary courthouse, as well.
As for the camp, the 2nd Missouri set up tents, and a blacksmith worked on ironware nearby over a forge. A seamstress sewed on a uniform coat and Jackie Smith set up a tent near the camp, as women often did. She said women did a lot of the cooking, sewing, mending and so forth.
Smith also said she had been investigating the women who acted as spies during the Civil War, and who communicated by hanging laundry. “If Stonewall Jackson were moving to the South, a red shirt would be moved on a clothesline so the Union forces could see it,” she said. It sounds intriguing.
Later that day, the society conducted a candlelight tour in the house. They presented vignettes of field hospital skits, introduced the chaplain and interpreted history – including a visit to the shed that held the various types of coffins.
Because of Mother Nature and graduation, this year’s event took a back burner to anything else going on in the area. Several re-enactors didn’t make the trip – maybe fearing that the creeks would rise and they’d not be able to return home. The reenactors say “never mind,” that they’ll be back in full force next year – perhaps earlier in the year.
Visit the 2nd Missouri online: http://2ndMissouri.com
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