Here you will find a growing collection of Wes Mayhle's writings. Both of his parents are published writers so it was easy for Wes to agree to begin to write reports of the events he attended, to be published along with his photo's in various publications. Some he wrote as if he were back in the 1860's watching the cataclysmic war in first person. He used language and phrases common to the time and used the pen name "Azzit Mightabin" (as it might have been). Wes is contemplating writing a novel and if so chapters from it may appear here first. Enjoy!!
How this website happened PT. 1 of 4
In 2005 the itch to photograph was getting to me. I had used film camera’s as I grew up. My father had dabbled in photography. My mother was a constant shutterbug, documenting every family event. It was in my blood. But film just didn’t do much for me. I wanted instant results and I wanted to experiment with colors but a limited budget for film and processing was stifling. So I bought a digital camera in early 2005, a Sony Mavica CD-500. It used mini-CD’s for media recording. The cycle time was abysmal, 3-10 seconds to write each file but cd’s were cheap and re-usable.
I had become an avid Apple computer user at the turn of the century and used it to search for a subject I could photograph that was not already saturated on the internet. It appeared that every possible photograph subject had already been taken, I even found a photographer specializing in telephone poles!
-end of part 1-
My fictitious 1860’s character Azzit Mightabin reports on the 2005 Tunnel Hill, GA reenactment battles.
Sat. Sept 10, 2005
Consisting of a small house, corncrib, and privy, the little farm looked rather lonesome and surely was apprehensive about the gathering of so many military. Skirting the field I passed a fort named "Keys" and I heard the sounds of a railroad to the north and understood the reason for the troops. They were either here to defend it or to destroy it. Since being known as a neutral observer I was able to casually stroll through the ranks of the Rebels when I heard my name being called. I was pleasantly surprised to see some old friends from Florida. After a few words and a promise to visit after their inspection time I moved on a bit. I then realized, by the large number of town folk assembled, this was no inspection. There were assuredly Union troops about the place and a fight was a-brew. I was thankfully pulled into the woods surrounding the large sloping field just minutes before shots rang out.
Some brave Confederates dashed out to the small house probably to save whoever might be inside. Quite a few boys eventually went out there because the buildings and small garden provided good cover. Cavalry from both sides took to the field to spy out what forces they were a-facing. Several Union cannon appeared in the northwest corner and between them and the Rebel cannon inside Fort Keys (in the southeast corner) they proceeded to plow the field without the use of livestock or plow. The Confederates sent out some more infantry to draw out the Union boys while the cavalry from both sides attempted to quell each others desire to see or spy. After a while it devolved into a stalemate, the small cabin still standing but the privy was now sporting a dangerous lean. Then a good number of Union soldiers came out from behind the cannon and slowly forced the Confederates to retire from the little shack and most of the field. There was a good number of Union troops (300-400) but I knew the Rebels had near about as many hiding in the woods. Sure enough when the Union showed all it had, the Confederate officers brought out the men from the tree-line along with a couple field pieces and 2 mountain howitzers. Slowly and with precision they pounded the boys in blue all back to where they came from and further ... out of my sight into the tree-line on the opposite end. The cost in lives was horrible and fallen soldiers lay all over the field.
Sun. September 11
I spent the night alone recording my thoughts and tending to my person. The next day it seemed both sides had been reinforced because the numbers were the same as before and still evenly split. (300-400 for each side). The Union must have studied their business harder overnight because they moved all their artillery closer where it could take more of a toll on the fort and not the outhouse. I stayed a little closer to the Rebel fort to record the artillerymens' efforts. The battle again started to unfold much the same as the day before with each side anxious to defend or attack the little dwelling in the field. But this time the Union artillery had more of an effect. Today they stayed together and seemed to have more discipline, concentrating the fire better. The Confederate boys were confident but were soundly beaten and before long the Federals had charged and fairly overrun Fort Keys. Once again my neutrality saved me and Union officers let me walk unharmed out of the battle area. I hurried to telegraph station as fast as I could to send out this report.
My fictitious 1860’s character Azzit Mightabin reports on the 2006 Brooksville Raid reenactment battles.
Sat. Jan. 21, 2006
The North has also taken notice of this fact and has increased their raids inland by the Federal troops. Indiscriminately and severely they burn the countryside, destroying entire farms and mills. It seems that more often now, the Federals ranks are filled with deserters and former slaves who once called the very places they burn "home".
While resting over the New Year holiday I had learned of a planned Union raid near the west coast area around Bayport and Brooksville. Being a faithful chronicler of these unpleasant events I traveled toward the sound of the drums and fifes till I found myself about 10 miles west of Brooksville in between two large encampments. Both were filled with many god-fearing men and many who did not. Despite their fears, both camps seemed set on destroying the other. The Florida boys mainly consisted of the old and sickly "Home Guard" who bravely fought for hours delaying the Northern invaders till help could arrive from the garrison at Tampa. Near nightfall, after hours of a fighting retreat the locals were reinforced and the Federals stopped the attacks for the night. Later that night I heard many of the Confederate soldiers and marines who had forced marched for hours complaining, but they had without doubt saved the Home Guard from destruction.
Sundays daylight broke late and gray for a steady wind had arrived pushing clouds overhead. As the ominous clouds soared swiftly, now the much larger forces of Confederates beat the Union raiders out of their hastily prepared defenses while the Rebel Artillery pounded them in the open as they retreated back to their boats that brought them from the forts on the coast. Unfortunately the Union had done what they had set out to do; destroying the local crops and supplies that had been destined to flow north sustaining the Rebel armies.