Editor’s Note: PHASE 4 Learning Center, Inc. is very proud of the work we do, as we help our students to be successful in their school life and to make the transition to their future lives in the military, college/training, or employment. We are also very proud of our staff members, who have made it the mission of their careers to help our students be successful. These staff members each bring their unique perspectives and interests into their interactions with our students. As a tribute to the staff which makes PHASE 4 a success, from time to time we will be presenting web posts that highlight special achievements and accomplishments of individual staff members.
The largest battle ever fought in North America, the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) resulted in the largest number of casualties and is often described as the turning point of the Civil War. This summer, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of that “turning point” and the impact it has had on our country, Civil War reenactors participated in historically accurate representations of the battles that occurred in the Summer of 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. PHASE 4 Behavioral Specialist and Civil War buff, Mike (Mikey) Martin, and his wife, Robin, were honored to participate in the remembrance and reenactment of the historic events of Summer 1863.
During the battlefield reenactment our own Mikey became Lieutenant Michael E. Martin of battery B Virginia artillery, Gen. Heth’s Division; Gen. Pender’s Brigade; 3rd Corps under Gen. A.P. Hill, Army of Northern Virginia Confederate States of America. Lt. Martin was in command of several cannon pieces on the field during the first day’s battle against the Union’s Iron Brigade. Robin Martin became Lady Robin Lynn Martin, a true Southern Belle.
On the eve of July 6, 2013, Lady Robin and Lt. Martin attended a reenactors camp ball held by the 2nd South Carolina String Band. The ball was held in a tented enclosure among the encampment of the Union Army reenactors. Both Confederate and Union Army reenactors attended the ball in good cheer, dance, and fine spirits.
Lt. Martin wore a full wool uniform with elaborate braid insignias on the sleeves of his tunic to indicate his rank as a Lieutenant. His red hat, called a kepi, indicated that he was with the artillery portion of the Confederate Army. This is the style of uniform a Confederate officer would have purchased in Richmond, VA from his own funds before the war’s initial outset.
Martin says of wearing the Confederate uniform, ”As in any reenactment once that uniform is on, you are in that era and you embody a true soldier of the war. It becomes as real and alive as it can be without having actually been there. So the entire time I was a Lieutenant in the Army of the Confederate States of America.” Although he was entirely in character while wearing his uniform, he stressed that part of the “job” of a reenactor was to be willing to stop for photographs, talk to, and teach any of the 200,000 spectators that were in Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary.
Lady Robin Lynn Martin wore a handmade lace and satin hoop skirt in the style popular for special occasions during the Civil War era. Her outfit included a corset, giving her figure an hour glass appearance. The fan she carried is important because “…well, all Belles carry them!” The fan carried by an unmarried woman of the era would also have been important as a way to keep her hand from fully touching a gentleman’s until marriage.
When asked how he became so interested in the history of the Civil War, Martin says, “I’ve been into the Civil War since I was 7 years old. I read The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara and was hooked. I’ve been to dozens of reenactments and speak all the time at different places on the battles, war, leadership, etc.”
“The 150th reenactment is so special to me because I was at the 125th anniversary when I was 10 years old and vowed to be in the 150th and attend the ball that is always held. So, talk about a dream come true!”