Yorktown National Battlefield Civil War Weekend After Action Report

Submitted by Mark Sopko, Lieutenant, 9th Virginia Cavalry Rgmnt, Co. D


May 25, 2015

Mon Capitan, Dragoons,

I am proud to report another safe and successful Living History weekend at Yorktown National Park. Great friends, great weather, great riding; this was a Memorial Day to remember. 

The 9th Virginia Company D displayed its skill to an audience of record size, with two demonstrations and practice running at the heads on Saturday. We had two more demonstrations on Sunday. All told, over 800 spectators attended our demonstrations and at least 200 people walked through our camp.

Many thanks to all who participated! Big thanks to Jan Chat for providing lunch fixings both on Saturday and Sunday. She, of course, brought her cookies and all her contributions were well received. She even had coffee ready for Sunday AM, which was a nice relief for yours truly.  

We had eight horses on the line and in the demonstrations, which filled out nicely for the charges. Corporal Ace Moreau led us in drill with Amy Moloney as guidon.  Myself, Dave Mize, Corporal Mike Scholl, Harry Moloney, Rick Smith, and Marci Drewry rounded out our line. We looked good and even with one new horse, demonstrated the drill like the veterans we are. 

Narration was done by Trooper Mike Riggleman on our first day's demonstrations. Miss Megan Mize had bowed out of the narration due to a slight injury; however, after desperate pleading by Trooper Mike, she stepped in and assisted the narrations for our Sunday drills. Miss Megan was accompanied by her equally lovely mother, Ginnie Mize. They and Betsy Smith added a bit of beauty in their period dresses and parasols to our Cavalry Camp. 

Dave Langston and his two sons, Mike and Patrick as well as Will Drewry, set up a nice Civil War weapons display for the crowd. Chappie Chapman attended in full correspondence regalia, even having an old style camera that takes digital photos. 

We also made the news. Here are a couple of websites and photos of our unit last weekend: 

Colonial National Historical Park - Yorktown Battlefield (Facebook) 

Daily Press Video

Daily Press Photos 

Many visitors came through our camp, but one older gentleman stood out in my mind. This gentleman, in his straw hat and sunglasses, proudly stated he was 77 years old. During our conversation, he indicated that, as a very young boy, he would listen to his Grandfather's stories about riding in the Virginian Cavalry during the Civil War. Distracted, and getting ready for our next demonstration, I was polite, thanked him for coming to see us, but recommending that he go to watch our demo. After the demo, this gentleman approached me, and with a trembling voice, said "Thank you!…Watching you,… I saw my Grandfather." 

I have the honor to be your most humble servant, 

Mark Sopko, Lieutenant
9th Virginia Cavalry Rgmnt, Company D