Fort Monroe Living History and Encampment

12 June 2016

Mon Capitan,

I am proud to report that another great event is now under the 2nd US Cavalry, Co A’s belt for 2016.  We had a very small showing, but it was a pleasant, albeit hot, weekend.  Trooper Riggleman, Trooper Thomas, a guest appearance from Trooper Rivas, LTC Mize (Narrator) and myself rounded out the unit.  Vehicle breakdowns, schedule conflicts, and medical conditions dropped our numbers down to only four horses.  In addition, horse issues prevented Trooper Riggleman from riding in our three demonstrations on Saturday. However we were plussed up on the ground by Trooper Brandon, a cross dress cavalryman from the 14th VA, who came with Trooper Rivas. We did two demonstrations on Sunday and were gone before the afternoon thunderstorms.

Our camp was about a mile from the fort and demonstration field.  Riding through the old fort entrance was a neat experience, as we proceeded over a moat and through the wall.  The fort itself is like a pristine park, with plenty of shade provided by 100+ year old oak trees and lots of green grass.  Our demonstrations were tight (with only three/four horses it had to be). LTC Mize showed his metal by narrating all our demos in the intense Virginia heat.  He was, of course, assisted by the lovely ladies of Miss Megan and Mrs Ginny.  Everyone we talked to loved our demonstrations and the fact that we were there.

Even though we had a very small group and the heat was a bit excessive (90+°F), we had a great time.  The Park Service did an outstanding job preparing the camp for us with water, hay, firewood, a port-a-john, and shade for the horses. My hats off to Ranger Aaron Firth (the only Park Ranger at the Fort) for his willingness to work with us and allow horses back in Fort Monroe after 50 years.

I want to thank everyone who came to this event and supported the Old Second.  All helped out and pulled their weight including team Mize who pitched in at camp and in the demos. From setting up and tearing down to picket watch and poop patrol, I really appreciated the help! Despite some earlier concern, manure was not an issue and one 20 minute daily sweep of the fort was all that was required to keep the lawn clean for visitors.

The best way to describe last weekend at Fort Monroe: Great friends, good humor, good ground and a love for horses and history!

I have the honor to be your most obedient servant!

Lieutenant Mark Sopko
2nd US Cavalry, Co A/9th VA Cavalry, Co D