Recently, I was invited to speak in the first person as Mrs. Robert E. Lee at the Ladies Tea at the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, the second of largest Civil War Reenactment in Kentucky. This event is usually held on the third weekend of August.
The weather was beautiful, cool and breezy, making it very pleasant for the ladies in their multi-layered visiting frocks. An inviting tent set up with tables and chairs complete with table cloths and flatware wrapped in linen napkins. This was a wonderful venue in the late morning, with the pastoral scenery dotted with Confederate and Union encampments.
Ms. Mary Kuhn, former educator turned BORA volunteer, greeted me as I arrived to introduce myself. She had a warm, welcoming smile, and ushered me just inside the kitchen door of the historic Rogers House, where Ms. Mary and others were preparing the lunch for the Ladies Tea. Ms. Mary Kuhn and Ms. Paula White or organizers of the Ladies Tea.
General Lee, portrayed by David Chaltas, had joined the gathering and the ladies were most excited to meet and greet him! He was most happy to receive the admiring smiles and laughter of the lovely ladies! The general offered the blessing of our food and ask to remember in prayer the tragic loss of one of our smallest reenactors; a sweet six-year-old by the name of Maggie Sue.
During my 15 years as a Civil War reenactor and approaching 12 years a presenting as Mrs. Robert E. Lee, I have met many sisters in the hobby and I was pleased to see that some of them in the audience.
A most delicious menu of savory chicken salad, served on flaky croissants, resting on a bed of lettuce, complimented with fruit salad consisting of peaches, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. The entre was off with a sweet dessert of chocolate truffle; a chewy brownie, topped with whipped cream. Former students of Sharon Graves, Executive Director of BORA were on hand, dressed in period attire to help serve the ladies and clear the tables.
As the ladies were finishing up their lunch, Ms. Paula White, who lives in Florida and makes the yearly trek to Richmond, KY to help with the event, presented tickets for the drawing of attendance prizes donated by local businesses. This practice is customary at a Ladies Tea and a delight to those in attendance.
Next on the program was a special presentation to Sandy Profitt Jackson. She has been a long reenactor who is battling cancer. She was given bracelet with as many sections as years that she has been in Civil War reenacting. She is improving, but continues to battle the disease.
Next on the program for the Ladies Tea was my first-person portrayal of Mary Anna Custis Lee. A heavenly morning breeze quelled my nervous jitters, an ever- present companion before my presentation. The ladies in attendance were most attentive to my recollections and memories as wife of General Robert E. Lee and time spent at Arlington.
It was such a pleasure to present Mrs. Robert E. Lee at this wonderful event. As everyone took their leave to gather at the battlefield to watch the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky, I was sure to stopped by the kitchen of the Rogers House to thank Ms. Mary Kuhn for a wonderful Ladies social event. She was busy taking care of the clean-up with the help of her young assistants, already planning for next year’s event.
Fudge Brownie Truffle - by Greg Tipton, Cater for BORA
1 box Fudge Brownie Mix
2 family size boxes of chocolate pudding
Whipped cream or Whipped Topping
Follow directions for the brownies and chocolate pudding. Mix together when brownies cool. If serving in Truffle dish, save some of the brownies to crumble on top. Dish up and add whipped topping to each serving. Enjoy! (Greg’s motto: simplest recipes taste the best).