Photo Essay

The Battle of Sacramento, KY.

Battle of Sacramento #1

Sacramento, KY, was the site of a American Civil War battle between Union Major Eli H. Murray and Confederate Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest (Considered the south's most brilliant commander) on December 28, 1861. This event is also known as "Forrest's First" and was the largest Cavalry Battle in the State of Kentucky.

The town of Sacramento holds an annual reenactment of the battle in which local residents voluntarily participate, as well as professional and hobbyist re-enactors. I talked my dad in going to this event with me as he has always been interested in guns and the civil war. This was our first time to attend an event like this. I wanted to get as many photos as I could while I was there and I took over 400. We were there for the last day of the three day event. (May 15th, 16th and 17th.) As it turns out, the main battle re-enactment was on the Sunday that we were there.

We only had to drive less than one hour to get there and it was a very bright, sunny, beautiful day, 68 degrees. We arrived at the small town of Sacramento and immediately saw some free parking and free ride to the battlefield. A school bus took us to the gate where we paid a small fee and got buttons to wear. The battle was just about to begin and there was a very large crowd already taking up all the view and the bleechers. I worked my way to the front (as I always do) and kneeled down and started snapping shots of the battle. It was pretty far off but eventualy some of the calvery came much closer. There were about ten cannons on the left and ten on the right of us. The ones on the right were not all that far away and when they shot them, the air sucked out of me, and my ears went inside out. They were 100 times louder than I thought they would be. The smoke from the cannons would fill the field completely for a while and then dissapate. There was a platform with an announcer telling everyone what was happening on the field.

After the battle they had a moment of silence for the fallen, then they all marched or rode on horseback in front of the spectators. I moved to the right side of the crowd, by the rope, for a clear view and got lots of shots as they passed by. Using my 18-200 zoom lens I was getting wide angle shots and close ups, one after the other. The costumes and the faces of the men all looked very authentic to the last detail.

After they all had marched by we were able to enter the camp. They had been living in these canvas tents for a few days, like it was back in 1861. They cooked the same way and followed all of the old ways of camp life it seemed. I walked though the camp asking if I could take their photo and everyone loved the attention. It was like stepping back in time.

I would stop people as they were passing by in costume and get their photo. Once my dad asked someone, "What general are you supposed to be?". The man said, "Ulysses S. Grant." He did look exactly like him.

We had a great time and I'd love to do it again!

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3 responses

  • Tim Jensen

    Tim Jensen gave props (22 May 2009):

    Great story and great pics. It looked like a lot of fun.

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham (Deleted) gave props (20 Jun 2009):

    A wonderful essay and images to back it up!

  • Jason Pepe

    Jason Pepe gave props (23 Jul 2009):

    Terrific Photo Essay! Voted YES!!

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