Cavalry After Action Report
Cowpens, Veterans Day Living History 2006
by Edward Harrelson, November 14, 2006


Arriving Friday night in pleasant weather, Messrs. Alexander and Eric Harrelson and I set about running a picket line and starting a fire.  Ron Crawley came out earlier in the day to set up the tent in daylight.  We used the entrance behind Pleasant View (sic) church which runs up to the picnic area.  The park was having roads resurfaced, so there was no traffic other than paving contractors occasionally driving by playing loud mexican music. 
 
Ron, Hunter and Taylor arrived after dark and we got organized.  Ron and I cooked potato / rice / bacon soup while the kids pretended to be jedi knights with flashlights in the smoke.  Dinner was surprisingly good.  Later we made popcorn and roasted marshmallows.  We stayed up past everyone's bedtime and finally crashed in a heap in the straw.  The tent will sleep at least six, though I think we could have squeezed one or two more in there.
 
Saturday morning commenced with hand-ax exercises.  Alex and Hunter worked most of the day off and on splitting or trying to split wood with a small hand ax.  Don Lyons arrived with some coffee (but not one biscuit!) and we got everyone suited up.  We were on site far earlier than the ranger (Jenny).  Ron was eventually able to contact the ranger office to determine where to set up the demonstration.  We had scheduled demo's at 10, 2 and 4.  We set up a heads course and a separate rings course at the dragoon marker near the WLI monument on the battlefield.  We were a little late for the first demo as our camp was about a mile away.  I stayed with the kids while Don and Ron gave the first talk and demo. 
 
We coordinated with Petra to drive down and meet us, and bring lunch.  She then took charge of the kids while the three dragoons suited up for the 2 pm demo.  We dressed as a 3rd Dragoon, a militia dragoon, and a British legion dragoon.  I gave the 2 pm talk to a sizable crowd.  We then ran the heads and rings, more or less simultaneously, as they were separated by fifteen yards or so.  We had a number of good questions, and the demo ran a little long.  Eventually, we put kids on horses and walked them back to camp. 
 
At camp, we dropped everything so Ron could leave in daylight.  (His trailer lights failed on the way to the event Friday.)  Don drove the kids to the demo site while Ron and I ponied Talley.  Don gave the final demonstration talk, after which we broke everything down and headed to the barn. 
 
The weather was outstanding, windy but dry.  The crowd was small overall, but not bad for a living history.  Had the road been open to traffic, we would have had more guests in camp.  We could have used the bathrooms being open on Friday evening.  We also met a rider, Darryl Henderson, who came by ponying a second Missouri Foxtrotter.  He seemed to be a nice guy, local to Cowpens, and he paints for the park.  We invited him to come out camping with us sometime.  We did not get his number, but told him how to get in touch with us.  Who knows, possible recruit.
 

Edward Harrelson
3rd Continental Dragoons

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