Mosby Documentary being filmed in Fairfax County

Part II

The first article on Don Hakenson, Steve Sherman, and Chuck Mauro's production of "Mosby's Combat Operations in Fairfax County" discussed the planning effort for the making of this documentary.  The next phases of the documentary include the on-site filming, in studio narration, selection and video recording of historical pictures, writing the original soundtrack, and the writing and narration on the intro and the outro.

The on-site filming commenced in July 2009.  We choose Don Hakenson to be the first historian to be filmed on-site.  We chose Don because we were going to be feeling our way a bit and Don is an accomplished speaker on Mosby and wouldn't be phased by a little trial-and error.

We started at St. Mary's Church where Mosby completely routed the Thirteenth and Sixteenth New York Cavalry units on August 8, 1864.  We picked St. Mary's as everyone knew where it was to get to the site.  The production crew consisted of Bert Morgan doing the filming and myself, overseeing the process.  "Overseeing" means choosing appropriate backgrounds with Bert and holding up filming while cars passed by to eliminate the noise.  I became very adept at keeping an eye on the road and yelling "Go" when a car passed out of earshot.

We quickly established the on-site filming as a short introduction stating where we were, what happened there, and when it happened.  The balance of the story will be narrated in the studio while showing available historical pictures of the participants and the site.

We spent the better part of the day filming across Fairfax County for the sites Don was presenting.  These included Gooding’s & Padgett’s Taverns, Machen’s Farm (where Mosby men captured Boston Corbett), the Broders’ Farm (Oak Grove), Lieutenant Joseph Nelson’s attack of a school house on the Franconia Road, the Rose Hill raid and Mosby’s two attempts to capture the bogus governor Francis Pierpont.  Look for some raindrops on Don's shirt as we were determined to film him that day!

Working with each of our schedules we filmed both my and Tom Evans' intros in August.  I primarily covered the Herndon area including operations along Centreville Road including Mosby's Rock, incidents at Frying Pan Church and Laura Ratcliffe's Civil War house site.  We were extremely pleased to get permission from the Fairfax County Park Authority to film inside Frying Pan Church.  As just so you know, in case you think it is easy to talk into a camera, it did take each of us up to a half dozen takes to get everything delivered smoothly.  It also took me three weeks to memorize my lines but I was still never far from my trusty notes!

Tom covered the area along Hunter Mill Road including the junction with the former Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad where Mosby, acting as Stuart's scout,  crossed leading Stuart's cavalry to Herndon on the famous Christmas Raid of 1862. The Federal picket post on a nearby hill overlooking the junction which was attacked by the Rangers three times was filmed.  Mosby's horse collection point was visited, and Bert was able to film it although hampered by underbrush. The execution site of the Rev. John D. Read was also filmed.  

It was one of those wonderful hot and humid days where I cooled off in the car's air conditioning between sites.  We were interrupted while filming Tom in the afternoon by a heavy downpour and decided to quit for the day.  As Bert and I drove off together, the sky cleared and we went back to Tom's house, picked him up, and were able to finish his filming.

We then filmed Stevan Meserve and Mayo Stuntz in October.  Stevan covered the execution of Pony Ormsby at Ayr Hill in Vienna among other stories.  We were very pleased to have a 94 year old Mayo join us at Flint Hill and Springfield House cemeteries.  We plan to use Mayo to close the documentary as cemeteries provide "finality" for all of Mosby's men.

As simple as it sounds, working with all of our schedules to do the filming can sometimes prove challenging.  Our first stumbling block came as we were unable to get all of us together with Gregg Dudding's schedule, so we asked Eric Buckland to join the crew to help us finish.  Quite the opposite of Chuck and Tom's day in August, we filmed Eric on a cold day in December just after the big snow storm.  So we have some sites with snow on the ground!  

Eric covered the Fairfax Court House Raid where Mosby made his fame capturing Brigadier General Edwin Henry Stoughton.  We were able to film at a number of sites associated with this raid.  He also covered the capture of a notorious Mosby guerilla, Jack Barnes at Hope Park, and the capture of the sutlers wagons known as the Ice Cream raid.

One of the things Bert taught us all to do was how to walk and talk as we delivered our lines.  Bet you didn't think we could do that!

With the on-site filming now complete we will finish collecting the historical photos we will use as illustrations and then move into Bert's studio for recording the narration to finish the stories.

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