Cook Plantation has many legends. Some feel this blurred, but unusal image depicts the leprechaun said to guard the secret Cook gold. Cryptozoologists claim it is a view of an undernoursihed Sasquatch. Local historians say it is none other than the "Lost Confederate" who, according to legend, has defended Cook Plantation since the fateful defense of 1864.
Notes from Friends
My dear Col. Scott,
I just wanted to let you know what an absolutely incredible experience I had at the living history immersion day. I must apologize for my lack of telling you so in person, I am a quiet person by nature, and I find it much easier to write about my emotions. This was my first reenactment experience, and I was not disappointed. There is just something about being at the business end of forty some muskets that makes the heart race. The adrenalin rush of firing with a group of honorable men is second to none. I will most certainly be at the American Heritage Festival, and I will enjoy every spine tingling volley!
For the King!
Thanks for all the hard work and effort on you and your family’s part. We are blessed by your ministry and your prayers.
Dear Col. Scott,
Thank you SO much for the photos. I appreciate having them. I scrapbook and will send them to family and friends to share what the guys are doing.
The boys came home thoroughly enthusiastic about the whole experience.
Thank you for extending the opportunity to me and my friend to experience We Make History in a whole new way together. I was very excited about being part of the reenacting this weekend. God is so good! I had so much fun and it was so educational. All the 1st Virgina members were so helpful and patient with us green soldiers.
There is so much for me to learn in being a reenactor. I thought of a number of things I could have done better. I am definitely considering being part of the American Heritage Weekend. It is a question of how many days can I participate. The day the students come sounds like a time to really bless others.
Thank you again for your leadership and financial investment in the 1st Virginia and 1st Minnesota. Our family has again been blessed.
Beyond Buckeye, AZ
Dearest Col. Scott,
I wish to thank you again for all your work and effort into the Living History Immersion Day in Flagstaff. I know it's a tremendous amount of work, and it gets bigger now that we have our own depot and armory. I continue to pray God will guide you and Lady Scott to the next goal, connecting you with the people and resources who will get all of us there. I am so amazed at our new recruits. As we sat giving glory to God at the end of the day, I know I wasn't the only person with tears running down my cheeks. I know many of those fine men and women are feeling the same love and welcome I felt when I first attended a We Make History event. It is an indescribable mixture of joy, praise, and humility. And that was before the liveliness of the "victory ball" that followed inside the Cook Plantation. I thank God every day for bringing all of you into my life.
Your Friend And Humble Servant,
Defend The Plantation!
History by full immersion with the
1st Virginia Volunteer Infantry
1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.
From the battlefield journal of Pvt. Christopher Francis, 1st Virginia
Our Corporal smiles as he watches the new recruits suit up. In front of him, some two dozen men are putting on the trousers and sack coats of our newly formed Union regiment. He's not alone. A dream is coming true for us, watching the birth of a fighting force. They are a proud and devoted group of men. They look handsome in their dark blue uniforms and forage caps with the shiny brass bugles encircling a “1”.
"It's a shame we have to shoot at them," I think to myself.
Our Colonel advises us to spiff up. We're not the most handsome unit in the war anymore.
Putting on the garb of a soldier starts this osmotic process. It instantly takes people to another level, transforming a dismissible human into somebody with dedication, purpose and courage.
We teach the Yanks how to form up in columns and march. They take to it right away. Then comes another big moment -- putting rifles in their hands. I lend a new recruit my Springfield.
The commanders line them up again and teach them weapon safety, the rules of engagement. Our recruits ask no questions. They already have much respect for a gun. We put them through the manual of arms -- "attention," "shoulder arms," "order arms," "right-shoulder shift," and "trail arms." They watch the veterans go through the motions and absorb it into them. The Sergeant makes some corrections, but only a few.
They pass their first major test of battle, a skirmish in the woods. Filled with confidence and brimming with enthusiasm, we move on to a scenario of fancy.
* * *
History forgot it, but recently uncovered documents reveal the Federals occupied Flagstaff. If you wore sandals and Birkenstocks, you were for the Union. If you wore cowboy boots or hiking boots, you were a Confederate sympathizer.
Fresh from their victory in the woods against a superior enemy force, Union commanders put a company on a special assignment to march to a plantation deep in the woods. Rumors say a sizable deposit of gold is hidden there, in addition to much food and livestock.
On this day, a beautiful lady is celebrating her 15th birthday with the ladies of Virginia in their finest hoopskirts. The ladies enjoy punch on the porch as the children skip rope and sing a song of the "banks of the Rappahanny."
Her father the Corporal joins her at the party, flanked by a small detachment of 1st Virginians. Inside the plantation, a "poor, wounded soldier" recuperates from a Union musket ball that shattered his right hand.
The Federals march in and immediately confront the detachment in front of the plantation. The ladies, scared and screaming, watch as the federals pick off the guard, only sparing the Corporal.
"Run inside!" the women shout as the melee heightens and the enemy marches onto the property.
Shrieks accompany musket fire as the Union force closes in. Their colonel walks up to the ladies.
"Where's the gold?"
They don't know about any gold. One suggests he might find it at the end of the rainbow. Unfazed, he asks about livestock.
"What about chickens and pigs?"
Their answers do not matter. His men will take what they want, crashing the party in a most disrespectful fashion as possible.
The Union colonel swipes a glass of punch from a lady.
"Thank you!" he chortles, chugging it down as if he were in a common saloon, leaving the lady scolding him in desperation.
Having heard the commotion outside, the wounded soldier creeps to the second floor window. He has seen the bluebellies shoot down his comrades. But disrespecting the ladies is too much for him. His right arm may be useless, but his left can still squeeze a pistol trigger.
“Get away from the ladies you Yankees!” he shouts, sticking his head through the portal. “That was a warning shot and you’re out of warnings!”
The commander barks at his men, ordering them upstairs to seize the rebel. The Confederate ducks back inside and heads for the stairs. Harried ladies’ voices float up to him. He knows capture is inevitable, but he still has five rounds left.
He reaches the top of the stairwell only to discover two Yanks climbing toward him, with frightened ladies crowded behind the aggressors.
“You’re not getting me alive!” he cries, gun outstretched in his uninjured hand. “Don’t move a step further!”
The Yanks freeze at the foot of the grand stairwell, armed but cautious. Their antagonist could kill them both before either had a chance to load. But as the Confederate holds them at will, the occasional, mysterious shooting pains from his injured arm return at precisely the wrong moment.
“My arm, my arm,” he grimaces before collapsing.
The Yanks move in and wrestle the pistol away. The barrel points to the ceiling before the soldiers grasp it.
His arm still throbbing, the two aggressors take him by the arms and begin leading him away. They counted on resistance, but they did not count on the ladies of Virginia, who quickly surround them and begin fighting to regain possession of their defender.
“Take their guns!” the Confederate yells. “Get their guns!”
At least a half dozen women pull and tug at the bluebellies and their rifles, screaming to free their friend and compatriot. The entire mob inches down the hall as the invading soldiers push against them. Finally they free their prisoner from the ladies and their voluminous hoopskirts.
They drag him outside to the pen for the hounds as he spits words of disgust. “You aren’t gentlemen! Bringing dishonor to these ladies!”
He worries for the ladies scattered about the lawn, horrified at the invaders occupying their property until he spots two columns of grey-uniformed soldiers to his right.
It seems the Yanks made a grave tactical error, attacking the plantation, not knowing the 1st Virginia was encamped a short march away. They were unaware the Corporal would attend his daughter’s soiree while staying within reach of his men.
The Yankee captors stand engrossed in shock as the lines advance. The ladies bubble with expectation. The wounded Confederate prisoner and a fellow hostage sense an opportunity. With nary a thought and without a struggle, they dash from captivity to join their comrades.
He knows he has no weapon, but he loads and primes a make-believe weapon. He figures the motions shall serve as adequate intimidation amongst a strong line of battle-seasoned recruits.
Muskets crackle and Yankee slugs tick off a man to his left and right. He wishes for the handgun as a man to his side falls and leaves him in the front rank unarmed. Unafraid, he marches with them, daring the enemy to take him down. Another volley unleashes the ball that slices through his left arm, and he crumples to the ground.
Pain infects him as the ranks advance. He labors to breathe. Unable to rise, he cranes his neck toward the gunfire, attentive to the smallest hints of victory or defeat. A few more exchanges and his worries fade amidst the cries of wounded Federals and the ladies’ cheering.
He settles back into the grass and collects his strength. Before he can rise, a circle of ladies surround him.
“My other arm,” he grimaces. “Get me a nurse.”
The women of Virginia help him to his feet. A young lass with medicinal aspirations wraps his wounded limb with speed. They lead him back to the scene of the spoiled party, now a celebration again.
“I want to thank you for your bravery,” he tells the ladies who have gathered, taking note of their stand in the hallway. “It doesn’t surprise me at all. You are strong. You are Virginia women!”
He offers a bow and a traditional cry of joy with his healing arm raised to the sky. “HUZZAH!”
“HUZZAH!” they answer in unison.
* * *
The time is so perfect and beautiful. We sit on the ground outside the plantation, Union and Confederates, friends in history, offering prayers and praise to God as rays of the setting sun burst through to illuminate the clouds.
Men talk about how God has blessed their lives, some in unusual ways. A child offers a simple but humble sentiment: “I’m glad that my arm isn’t hurt any worse.”
We sing of being washed in the Blood of Christ. We think about our lives enriched by God’s love. I think about our new recruits, how they have stepped into the uniforms and picked up a gun with little or no experience. We saw them molded into soldiers in an afternoon’s time, fighting passionately and yet honorably.
A miracle has happened here. A great miracle of fellowship, one our Confederate and Union ancestors would have loved. Somewhere, they are seeing it, and perhaps they are giving us tribute.
Another recruit stands to tell of his blessings. The sun is just over his shoulder, painting the clouds with a bright orange glow. God’s favor is undeniably with us.
I know I am not the only one with watery eyes. I let the emissions of thanksgiving roll silently down my cheeks, and I am not afraid of who knows it or even if they understand it. My heart lies naked within me.
Many times I wonder why God has put me here, but the answer is less ambiguous now.