08 January 2010 by Published in: General News 5 comments

Hat tip to Russell Bonds for bringing this beauty to my attention.

From the January 7 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, we have our first nominees for Civil War morons of the year for 2010:

Stanardsville Civil War dispute ends in courtroom stalemate
Published: January 7, 2010

STANARDSVILLE — In a Civil War re-enactment that went too far, two Union and Confederate cavalry commanders who tussled on the field of battle each were found not guilty of assault.

The two pressed charges against each other after the Sept. 19, 2009, re-enactment of the Battle of Stanardsville.

The Confederate commander, Doug Nalls, claimed his Union counterpart, Joseph Ferguson, knocked off his hat and Nalls allegedly responded by firing his revolver. While the weapon was not loaded with a bullet, the Union commander suffered facial injuries from the revolver’s powder blast, according to a prosecutor.

This chapter of the Civil War ended in a draw: A judge concluded yesterday that he could not find either man guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Greene County commonwealth’s attorney said the re-enactment gone bad was the result of “bad blood” between the men that boiled over on the battlefield, located about 20 miles north of Charlottesville.

Confederate re-enactors testified during the several-hour trial that the two had exchanged words before the violent encounter. According to Confederate witnesses, the Union commander used archaic slurs such as “blaggard” and “knave” to describe his Confederate counterpart.

The prosecutor, Ronald L. Morris, said today that more contemporary insults were also exchanged. He said courtroom accounts of the physical exchange were in dispute except for two points: “The hat came off and the gun was fired.”

Nalls’ father testified he had to wade into battle to separate the men.
Ferguson left court unhappy with the outcome. “The feud on the battlefield goes on,” he said.

Injuries, accidental or otherwise, are not uncommon during Civil War re-enactments. In 2008, a Confederate re-enactor brought a loaded weapon into a battle being filmed for a documentary and shot and wounded a Union re-enactor. — The Associated Press

I’d call this galactically stupid, but that would be an insult to stupid people. Amazing. Truly amazing.

Scridb filter


  1. Fri 08th Jan 2010 at 4:56 pm

    You cannot make this up. I want to meet the character who actually fired away with “blackguard” and “knave” during the altercation. Come to think of it, I want to meet the guy who took umbrage

    The problem might lie in the way this event was pitched by the promoters:

    U.S General George Armstrong Custer is advancing on the peaceful Stanardsville with a mounted cavalry. Will you defend The Cause? Or will you join with the Union army to see that Virginia once again joins the United States of America?
    Come for a fun and historical weekend at The Battle of Stanardsville Reenactment. There will be exciting battle scenes, historical demonstrations, carriage rides, shopping, a period-accurate ball and plenty of activities for children.”

    The odds of attracting characters like these two were probably overwhelming from the “gitgo”…..

  2. Chris Evans
    Sat 09th Jan 2010 at 2:06 am

    Thanks for the post. That is definitely some stupid behavior.

    One of the most idiotic (but funny) reenacting events I have ever read about is described at: http://wesclark.com/jw/rush.html

    I think this line from the above link may still take the cake of stupidity at a Civil War event: “Nobody was safe, even in the portajohns (doors were kicked in, in order to fire upon the hapless occupants).”


  3. Michael Lynch
    Sat 09th Jan 2010 at 2:02 pm

    “Knave” and “blaggard”–sounds like this guy was a refugee from medieval reenacting.


  4. Valerie Protopapas
    Sat 09th Jan 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Well, at least they were dealing with something that really happened in history however badly. My daughter (44 in two days) is addicted to World of Warcraft. Her character looks a little bit like Haystacks Calhoun with braids. And she isn’t alone. Apparently TONS of folks of all ages are addicted to video games both on-and-off-line.

    But even the “gamers” and the re-enactors are mental giants compared to the folks who are lost without “reality TV” and “talk shows” like Oprah and Jerry Springer! And then there are the sports nuts who can’t tell you anything about George Washington, but can give you the names and stats on every base, foot and basketball player extant. It’s sad, really, but what can one do…..

  5. Paul Rowland
    Tue 26th Jan 2016 at 12:31 am

    Just wanted to say hey to Joe from 1st Maryland Cavalry, 4th Virginia and 7th Virginia. Sounds like what happened between me and Eric Kyff at Brandy Station years ago. Amy Harlow came to my defense in front of the crowd (we were galvanized). But I was beaten down by my own Culpepper friends. I remember Doug Noll from when I was with 1st North Caralina under Chris Cook. Pass it on to Joe if you can. Paul Rowland, (Joy’s boyfriend)

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