#8 Nature Remembers

Traumatic Percussions

American Artillery reenactors explaining the use of a 18th century cannon the nearby spectators

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse now occurs around the same time each year, emulating the date in which the original battle occurred, so long as it falls on a weekend so that for accessibility. The Battle itself has been reenacted each year for approximately the last fifty years. With the coming of each reenactment, administrators and park rangers prepare for the reenactor’s arrival. As previously stated the reenactment and the various reenactor encampments spread across both Greensboro’s Country Park and the National Military Parklands, though the Battle itself takes place on an empty field in the forest lawn cemetery.

Since the reenactment takes place on park lands, the nature of the modern world surrounds those reliving the past. For many reenactors, the thrill of reenacting derives from truly believing as if one was living in the past and each reenactor I spoke to regarding these moments cited the nature around them as a catalyst to theses “pristine moments.” Reenactment of the American Revolution does not always center around the act of battle itself, though many reenactors are drawn to the hobby for their interest in military history and their longing to relive the battles of generations past.

The pristine moments that many reenactors chase, both male and female, often reside on the battlefield. The wafting and obstructing scent of gunpowder hanging in the air as opposing armies face each other, while volleys of fake musket fire ring in the reenactors’s ears. One aspect of reenacting that draws a considerable crowd is the cannon-fire. The percussion of the cannons sending disruptive soundwaves to nearby neighborhoods but also disrupting the nature around them, as nearby crows dart into the sky startled by the traumatic thud and flash of gunpowder fluttering at their wings.

Smoke from British cannons firing obscured from the woods behind the reenactment battlefield

Humanity’s obsession with bringing the past back to life forces the nature within these historical places to relive the violent events of the past. With each shot from a cannon, the ground shutters much like it did over two hundred years ago. The cannon percussions echoing the percussions of cannons long rusted away, felt by the same grounds, thought the cannons during the actual battle were utilized to far more violent ends.

Whispers of Mass Graves

After the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, the armies involved moved Northward, skirmishing and evading each other all the way to Yorktown, Virginia. The armies left the wounded and the dead in Guilford. The Quakers and other citizens in the surrounding community cared for the wounded and buried the dead. Within the Guilford Battlefield itself, it is estimated that multiple mass graves exist, guarded by the equanimity of time and by the secrecy of administrators at the park. The decomposed bones of soldiers that served in the battle are now apart of nature, remembering the violence of the past through now resting beneath the dirt and leaves hidden in a grove of poplar trees.

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