In the late winter of 1864, troops stationed in Vienna had a problem: The Town's infirmary was full.
Soldier Charles Lowell, stationed in Vienna with 2nd Mass. Cavalry, recounted the problem in his diary. Soldiers spilled onto the roof, or hobbled onto the porch, getting fresh air, killing time and waiting for some space. A photographer stopped by to take a photo.
On Sunday -- nearly 150 years after that photo was first taken -- re-enactors from the 28th Mass. gathered on the steps of the infirmary, , to mimic the original shot in period dress. Local photographer T.R. Cook set up shop on Church Street to capture the scene, as Vienna Police blocked traffic and a crowd -- including bikers, walkers and church-goers from the Vienna Presbyterian Church -- gathered to watch.
The re-shoot has been a dream of Historic Vienna, Inc. member Sarah J. Brady since she began volunteering 12 years ago, she said.
"I thought, Wouldn't it be wonderful to do a 'then' and 'now' shot of this photo? and now just happened to be the perfect time, with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War."
The town has several other events planned to commemorate that anniversary -- including re-enactments -- but this weekend's photo shoot was the informal 'kick off' of those commemorations.
Brady said the original shot was taken of Union soldiers in the 2nd Mass Calgary at the town's Union hospital, which was also used as a billeting station. The basement was often used to store officer's horses, she said, which is likely why a horse was in the photo.
"The soldiers are dressed informally in the ... picture because we believe that they were in the infirmary recovering from illness or war wounds. Vienna was considered the edge of battle lines then," she said.
Brady, Cook and the re-enactors were able to coordinate on Sunday to take the photo. But they were missing one important player: the horse.
All of the organization's go-to horse contacts had taken their horse to participate in the re-enactment of the Battle of Antiteam, Brady said, which left members of HVI knocking door to door to find a horse who could stand in for a picture.
Resident Katie Icke, whose family has had a farm in Vienna for about 36 years, came to the rescue with her horse Pistol, who gave organizers and onlookers a laugh when he began to relieve him shortly after Cook started to take photos.
Brady cleared the mess with a shovel -- twice -- before Cook could resume the shoot.
"[Pistol] did well for his photo debut," Icke said.
Did you miss the shoot? Click through the photo gallery to catch a glimpse of the action.