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Annual Meeting January 2012
Though the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Albany is two years away, it's not too early to start planning for activities to commemorate the event.
That was the message Robbie Maupin put forth during the Annual Meeting of the Ray County Historical Society last week. The Historical Society and Maupin are working together to make the event a reality and would like to get other interested county residents involved in the idea.
Volunteers will be needed to help with fundraising, concessions, activities, marketing, parking, and management,
Maupin is passionate about Civil War history and was instrumental in organizing and planning the Battle of Lexington reenactment this past fall and he felt the time had come for Ray County to reenact one of the principal battles that took place locally.
Maupin is joining forces with the Ray County Historical Society to stage the Battle of Albany on its 150th Anniversary in October 2014.
Addressing an audience of over 50 people attending the historical society's Annual Meeting last week, Maupin outlined plans to reenact the ambush that killed Capt. William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson near old Albany on Oct. 27, 1864.
Several other 150th anniversary special events will also be planned, including a formal dedication of a State Historic Marker at the gravesites on the Murrell Thomas property north of Orrick.
"There's a ton of people out there, not just locally, that will be extremely excited to hear that finally someone is going to recreate this battle and recognize Bloody Bill Anderson, his men, and the Federal Troops who were able to finally bring an end to Bloody Bill. It's a time to celebrate their victory and to honor the men who fell on that field.
"To be able to do that for the first time in 150 years, I'm very excited to attempt."
Maupin has an extensive background in Civil War reenacting and has been involved in it for 15 years, taking part in most national events and in some movies.
He's been involved with productions by "Wide-Awake Films", KCPT television, the History Channel, and National Geographic.
"I've been very fortunate to be involved in all aspects of it - infantry, civilian, cavalry, heavy artillery - on both sides. "I've fought Union and I've fought Southern.
"Most of us had family members who fought on both sides. It's our duty to honor those people who fought in that war."
Being a Civil War re-enactor has changed the way Maupin feels about history and his family.
"My mother's been instrumental in opening my eyes to my family history, which goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War.
"It's an honor for me to be a part of recreating these events and this history so we don't forget where we've come from and the people who were instrumental in creating the country we live in today.
What we hope to do is give Ray County, the community of Richmond, and the area of Orrick something to celebrate during the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.
The two-day reenactment would also recreate larger battles with cannons and charging cavalry.
He mainly wants Ray County residents to recognize what occurred at the Battle of Albany and believes that recognition is long overdue.
"This really wasn't a big battle," Maupin said. "It wasn't like the battle of Lexington. It was a small skirmish
But what happened there is due recognition and the men who fought there, the men who died there, the circumstance that happened there. It's way over due to bring attention to this event and this area.
He didn't think we should miss the opportunity to recognize the death of Bloody Bill Anderson.
"Be it good or be it bad, some people look at this man and the men who rode with him as nothing more than a marauding band of murderers and thieves and pillagers. But they weren't. They were men. Young men mostly.
Anderson was 25 years-old.
Three of Maupin's relatives rode with Anderson when they were 17 or 18 years-old.
They were young men. They were caught up in a war that changed their lives and they fought for the ideals and beliefs that they thought were right.
It is not our place to judge those people who fought on either side. It is our place, if we're going to recreate these events, to do it as fairly and accurately as possible.
In the Battle of Albany, Bloody Bill Anderson and his men were on that spot of land and they did what they normally do. They mounted their horses and they charged headlong into the enemy. That's what they were known for. That's how they fought.
The outcome of that day wasn't what they hoped for.
Maupin said organizers will have to find a location that will accommodate everybody - the re-enactors, the settlers, the vendors, and the spectators and have the room and all the amenities to do it.
He would like to see a four-battle weekend with two generic battles with one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
In and of itself, the Battle of Albany would be too short-lived to draw very many re-enactors.
He said more re-enactors would get involved "if you give all these guys a chance to come for a full weekend of activities" with two generic full-scale battles with all the artillery, the entire cavalry, and all the infantry.
At a certain time after a generic battle, re-enactors would re-create the Battle of Albany and the death of Bloody Bill Anderson.
Along with the battles, he hopes the event will include a Civil War ball, the unveiling and dedication of a state highway marker, a parade, and tours of the Ray County Museum and the cemeteries where Capt. Anderson and Bob Ford are buried.
A weekend event would also provide the opportunity to recreate of the graveside funeral service for Bloody Bill Anderson, which occurred nearly 42 years after his death when Cole Younger brought his Wild West Show to Richmond.
"All these things are things you could draw as you plan and get ready for this event," he said.
He would also like to include a formal dedication of the monument to the Partisan Rangers located on the Murrell Thomas property north of Orrick. While this area could not accommodate a large assemblage, family members, city, county and state officials, and re-enactors would be invited to participate in the dedication. Maupin envisions a select group of mounted riders positioned nearly out of sight in the wooded area around the graves. When the service ended, the riders would withdraw solemnly.
Maupin has already started working with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to get a State Historic Marker placed at the site.
He said it takes a lot of planning, funding and volunteers to produce an event of this magnitude.
Organizers will have to take care of both spectators and re-enactors.
"You have to let them know they are involved in something very special and we are very thankful for them to be here.
I am hoping if we can do this event in Ray County, it will be a phenomenal experience and everybody will be proud to be involved in it.