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July 04, 2013

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Flannista

Any opinions about war reenactments or people who participate in them? Apparently, these folks are very fussy about proper costuming and accessories and dying the right way, etc.

About 15 years ago, a couple lived next door to me who participated in French & Indian War reenactments. Every once in a while, they would put on their costumes and sit on the back deck singing songs from that period. Across the way a neighbor has a brother who participates in Revolutionary War reenactments.

What's that all about?

Matissta

Here's an interesting story about a African-American re-enactor, who participates at Gettysburg, even though no black soldiers fought in the battle.

http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/news/ci_23598670/black-re-enactor-civil-war-is-question-character

Sista C

Every sitcom or movie that ever had a plot line about reenactors made them seem like overzealous dingbats. And I gotta say, putting on costumes and sitting on your back porch and singing, seems rather dingbatty. But, it's kind've cool to consider the people who're consumed enough with this stuff to make sure that their uniforms are period-correct, and that they fight or die or camp in the most accurate way that they can. They've really taken the time to research whatever battle they represent and want to do it justice. I'd love to be at Gettysburg today, see the sights hear the sounds. Growing up I read book after book, and went to the museum at Vicksburg. You can still see some areas where caves were dug to protect people seeking shelter once they'd lost everything else.

Flannista

Hey Sista C. Glad to have your company this morning.

Did you check out the animated map link in this post? It's really, really fascinating the way it combines moving map stuff with video footage, etc. I've read so many books about the battle of Gettysburg, but that presentation helped me for the first time to understand how the Confederacy nearly won on Day One.

Flannista

While biking at the Fitness Center this morning, I thought about what kind of role I would want and in which war reenactment.

My first thought: I want to be Davy Crockett.

What in theeeeee hell does THAT mean?

Sista C

You secretly long to wear a coonskin cap?

PEACEsista

Thanks, Flann, for the interactive map. I found it to be interesting, entertaining and information and I liked the name of the film company: Wide Awake.

After reading the review, I wondered why you chose to read the book. It was not very complementary. What was in the review that compelled you to want to read it? Or, maybe you bought it before reading the review, to fuel your interest and observe every angle.

My cousin's ex-husband was a re-enactor and a truly unstable person. I think she participated for awhile also. I'll have to ask her more about it. I think he may have only been happy while pretending to be someone else. I wonder if he is at Gettysburg today?

However, I doubt that everyone who participates is tweeked. I'd imagine that a fair number of history buffs and theatrical types are drawn to participate in reenactments, too, plus, some younger folks are likely roped into it by their parents.

Flannista

PEACE -- thanks for reading the review of this latest book on Gettysburg. The one in the Times was the only negative review I read (and I read several before buying). I'm still in the first part where all the troops are gathering, etc. Guelzo uses a tremendous amount of quotes from first-hand sources, like soldiers' letters, etc. For most, I guess, this would make for tedious reading. I'm fascinated by it, however. Keep in mind that I read most every word of the Warren Commission Report and the official 9/11 report. I'm a junkie for details, particularly first-hand quotes.

The book has about 200 pages of footnotes. I haven't read all of them, but enough to find that they, too, are fascinating.

Why I like these details, but not the details of a cookbook is beyond me.

Flannista

Sista C -- I don't know if I secretly long to wear a coonskin-hat or run around in the woods in moccasins. Or shoot one of them long-barreled rifles. Or have my own television series. Or die a heroic death at the Alamo.

Probably all of the above.

PEACEsista

Ummm ... to be fascinated by the details in a cookbook, I think it helps if you like to cook!

I made two pies for noway's birthday celebration last night: bluebarb (with four cups of fresh organic blueberries and one cup rhubarb from our garden) and sour cream apple (excellent recipe recommended by a friend.) I have made a lot of pies in my day, but these may have been the best!

Needless to say, I love the details in cookbooks!

nowayasista

The pies were terrific. Glad there a few slices left for America's party day.

Ironic that one of the most decisive battles in our history ended as July 4th rolled around. I have been to Gettysburg and many of the Civil War battlefields. I am glad I am not at Gettysburg today. To me they are sacred places that are best taken in alone or with few people. It is beyond comprehension that the bloodiest War we have ever been in was American vs. American. Imagine how many of us had relatives shooting at each other from different sides.

And as other countries struggle with democracy, Gettysburg is a good history lesson for all of us that democracy and liberty are not cheap and easy. Those who stood on both sides of the fight are great Americans and should be treated as such.

Reenactors... always thought they were a bit off. But then again, I have never done it so maybe there is something I am missing.

Flannista

Wish the Sassistas! had some of that pie, noway. I'm now remembering my 2006 birthday when PEACE sent me an ENTIRE rhubarb coffee cake. It was DEEEE-lish.

We agree with you, noway. As much as we'd like to be in Gettysburg today, we love it most in the Fall, after the leaves are gone and no one is there. One of the best times I ever had there was then I hired my own personal guide (at the Visitor's Center) who got into my car and gave me a 3-hour, day-by-day, skirmish-by-skirmish tour of the battlefield. He was in his 70s and had lived in Gettysburg all of his life. He was full of details PLUS he drove my car! What could be better than that?

treesta

Did you ever see the Electric Map at the old, old visitor's center, Flann? For 50 cents apiece, folks would sit in a small auditorium around a floor-sized topographic map of the Gettysburg area, and they'd use blue (the Yanks) and red (the Rebs) lights to explain the progression of the battle.

treesta

Gettysburg was a big part of my childhood. My mother's family lived for many generations in the small borough of Fayetteville, about 30 miles to the west of Gettysburg. We usually drove through Gettysburg on the way to Grandma and Pap's house, often stopping at Devil's Den to climb among the rocks, or at the Peach Orchard to charge up Little Round Top. Pap took us there once to show us the names of our relatives engraved at the base of the Pennsylvania monument.

I can remember Grandma telling me about the first time she went to Gettysburg. In fact, it was the first time she had ever been out of Fayetteville. Grandma was born in 1904. When she was 12 or 13 years old, her father had farm business to attend to in Gettysburg. They made it a family trip. Pop Perry hitched their horses to the wagon and off they went down the dirt road that now is Rt.30, Lincoln Highway. It took a half a day to traverse the South Mountain to reach Gettysburg, and a half a day back. Grandma's most vivid memory of that trip actually had nothing to do with Gettysburg. It was about the beautiful floral scarf that her mother had given her for the trip. About halfway up South Mountain, the scarf got caught in the wagon wheel. Pop Perry had to stop and take the wheel off the wagon to get the scarf out and free up the wheel. The scarf was obviously ruined. Grandma just chuckled and shook her head as she told the story. She got quite a scolding for not being more careful.

treesta

Flann, have you read any of the books by William Frassanito? Among others, he wrote, "Early Photography at Gettysburg". Here's an article about him from the Post a week or so ago:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/civil-war-historian-makes-gettysburg-his-focus-and-his-home/2013/06/29/e216c950-d9b6-11e2-a9f2-42ee3912ae0e_story.html

Flannista

treesta -- what fascinating comments.

First of all, I DID with great interest, read about William Franssanito last week. How in the world he discovered that some of those photos of the dead were set up is fascinating.

Second, I DO remember that electric map - the blue and red lights. But I don't remember the specifics of the day-by-day skirmishes. That's what I love so much about the animated map I linked to.

Most of all, I love the story about your Grandma and the scarf. Beats the battle of Gettysburg, scarf down. Thanks for posting.

Peter

I bet re-enactments are a blast.

Flannista

I'm assuming that's a pun, Peter.

I woke up thinking about how my sisters and I always reenacted "Gunsmoke" when we were kids, so I bet reenactments ARE fun to some extent.

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