And the first of these is one that I helped to start nine years ago: Port Sanilac.
Now Port Sanilac, to my knowledge, never saw a real battle. But it does have a wonderful little open-air museum village on the outskirts of town that borders farm field on three sides and Lake Huron on the fourth. It is part of the Sanilac County Historic Village and Museum, and every year the Civil War unit I belong to, the 21st Michigan, hosts a reenactment on the grounds there.
The best part about being the host unit is we can come up with whatever scenarios we want. And we invite everyone to play along.
In past years we presented Gettysburg, Shilo, 1st Bull Run, and even had a County Fair and a shotgun wedding.
This year we presented the Citizens of Vicksburg on Saturday and the Battle of Brown's Ferry on Sunday.
As always, my camera was working overtime to capture, as stealthily as possible, the images to document this always wonderfully historical (and fun) weekend:
|What a glorious welcome!|
As a patriotic person, I love seeing the American flag in its numerous forms,
and this is what greeted patrons as they entered.
Isn't it great?
Small town America in the 1860s opens up before your eyes as you enter the reenactment grounds. Aside from the battle and fashion show, little else is staged. We roam the grounds as if it were where and when we actually lived.
For instance - -
|Some of the farm boys (and girl) in the area take a |
break from their laborious duties to hang out on a bridge
over a dried up creek. Yes, the weather's been that hot
up here in Michigan!
This picture is like looking at the past. It's just...real.
|How about this young mother with her child taking a|
trip to the store and then, once her shopping is done,
sits and watches the 1863 world go by.
|My daughter, in the pink dress, attends cosmetology school|
in her modern life, which can easily transcend to her
1860s life by doing the hair of the women of town.
|Just a few of the wonderful ladies of the 21st Michigan.|
We are so very lucky to have such top-notch reenactors in our group!
|Wait---what did I just say??|
Do you suppose the real Victorian women acted in such a manner?
Something tells me they just might have!
|And here we have another of our fine 21st Michigan members, Mrs. Paladino.|
|Our town is very privileged to have our 16th President|
visit, and, of course, Mrs. Paladino was honored to speak
with such a man as Abraham Lincoln.
|And Mr. Lincoln, ever the polite gent, asked for|
permission to remove his coat and hat before
speaking. The heat was stifling.
|Listening to Abraham Lincoln...|
We enjoyed hearing the stories of his youth and of the shenanigans he and his brother pulled on his step-mother.
I mentioned that we had a fashion show for the modern "apparitions," and, for some reason, I have had the pleasure (?) of hosting it for the past few years. I really don't mind - it's kind of fun actually, for most of the fashion shows are hosted by women, so this adds to ours being that much different.
And different it is, and not only because of yours truly as the host:
|Larissa came out as a farmer's wife and explained her clothing as well as her everyday chores from working in her kitchen garden to cleaning the house and caring for her family.|
|Children were not left out of the picture:|
Two of Elaine's children willingly took part as she
explained the fashions and styles of 1860s kids.
|Sue spoke of her more upper class dress and of all|
the, um, underpinnings she had on. Yep, she was in
seven layers on this summer day.
|And here is the grandmother of Lucy McRae.|
She explained that the family of her granddaughter
had to quit their house for the safety of a cave.
The new residence nearly proved fatal to Lucy,
as she later explained:
|And Mrs. Gooden speaks of her ball gown.|
I called her up at the last minute so I caught
her off guard, but she did wonderfully!
What would a Civil War reenactment be without a battle?
Well...we had more like a skirmish, which is just fine, for the folks always enjoy watching and hearing the big guns:
|The cannons are always a favorite...and really get the crowd |
a-running over to watch the fight!
This year's depiction was the Battle of Brown's Ferry.
Early on the morning of October 27, Federal troops under Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen floated down the Tennessee River on flat boats, passing beneath the Confederate guns on Lookout Mountain before landing on the opposite shore.
|After driving in the Confederate pickets, the landing parties were set upon by Col. William C. Oates and his Alabamians.|
|Oates's men were too few, however, to drive the Yankees back into the river and a Union bridgehead was established. In the next few days reinforcements from the east under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker arrived and supplies began flowing into the city.|
To stop this, troops from Lt. Gen. James Longstreet’s corps attacked the Union rearguard at Wauhatchie on the night of October 28.
|Though fighting continued into the next morning, Longstreet’s men failed to unhinge the Federals. With the Union supply line well established, the Confederate siege of Chattanooga was all but over.|
|Though the military participants were small (why, guys?), those who came had a great time and gave the public a good showing.|
|And...the modern folk also were able to see Annie Etheridge in action!|
|Marty portrayed a rebel...and as he rode toward the Union lines...|
|...a gun was fired and he was shot...|
|...falling off his horse...dead...(yes, we do know how to put on a reenactment!)|
|The Blue Bottle Respite Tent~|
Water for the thirsty
Food for the hungry
Healing for the soul...
|The Sanilac County Historical Museum...where even|
a President can find time to take a breather.
|Robert Beech is our resident wet-plate photographer, using original equipment and processes to capture the images of our living history representations of 1860s America.|
|Why...Victorian women didn't laugh!|
Note that I did not say that farby is acceptable in any way. By relaxed I mean not putting on airs or coming off "Hollywood" or stiff or scripted. It's just us trying to be normal Victorian people. And it's those two adjectives together that makes a difference: normal Victorian. Yes, the Victorians (it's a noun now) did act quite differently than we do today in their morals, mores, and attitude. The let-it-all-hang-out I-will-speak-my-mind-because-I-have-a-right-to-do-so attitude was not nearly as prevalent during the mid-19th century, especially among women, as it is today. In fact, it wasn't very common even in my own 20th century youth!
And yet, those pesky Victorians we seek to emulate were human. Oh, they may have been more proper and filled with etiquette and all, for they were of their time, but they really aren't as far removed from us as some would think. They cried, joked, wondered, became excited, had fear, needed time to think, and they, um, laughed...sometimes uncontrollably...just as we do today (and just like Beckie is doing in the picture above).
And isn't the point of reenacting to make the valiant attempt to live and act as those who came before in the varying ways and personalities? Not be stiff and scripted? And, by the way, if you throw your 21st century attitude into the mix, then you blow it.
That's my take...
Anyhow, until next time, see you in time.
~ ~ ~
But wait---there's more Dept:
So...it's Sunday late afternoon...it's been a mighty hot weekend, we're all a bit sweaty and maybe even a little cranky - - so, since we're this *I=I* close to Lake Huron, a few of us decided to hit the beach and stick our toes in the water for a little cool down.
|Larissa took this picture of us heading to the beach.|
|Even more of us caught up with each other at the Lexington (Michigan) A&W restaurant.|
Yeah...we're just plain and boring people in modern clothes...sigh...
One More Thing Dept:
My friend, Fred Priebe, began writing a blog. He and I put it together the other day and, well, it's now up and running. It's called "In Lincoln's Time," and, as he describes: "This In Lincoln's Time blog will focus on Abraham Lincoln and the times in which he lived; the social culture of the times, the etiquette, the political atmosphere; and so much more."
Now, if you scroll up in today's posting, you will see a few photos of Fred.
What? You couldn't pick him out?
Why, he's the guy who looks uncannily like President Lincoln himself!
I've been to his house numerous times (yes, he actually lives in a log cabin house!) and the man's gigantic library is filled with books all about our 16th President...as well as the times in which he lived. So I believe we're all going to be in for a real treat!
Won't you please check out Fred's blog?
And if you are so inclined, please feel free to 'follow' him.
Click HERE to visit "In Lincoln's Time."
In closing Dept:
You may have noticed a change in the mast head of this Passion for the Past blog. My previous photo has been there since early 2013, so I thought it time for a change.
It seems fitting, for I have been leaning heavily toward the colonial period in our history of late...I'm not leaving the 1860s, mind you, but adding to my time-travel adventures. There is plenty room for both.
The premise between the two pictures, however, is relatively the same: Historical Ken sitting in period clothing amidst a historic setting holding a writing utensil to paper, preparing to write the next posting for Passion for the Past.
But isn't it interesting to note the differences from the 1770s to the 1860s - a 90 year time span?
|Writing my latest Passion for the Past blog post: 1776|
|Writing my latest Passion for the Past blog post: 1863|
And that's what I'm all about - -
Again, until next time, see you in time.
I would like to thank the many photographers for taking so many wonderful pictures. Besides me and my stealth camera we had my wife Patty, Larissa Fleishman, the Sanilac County Historical Society, Mike Gillett, and Carrie Kushner taking some pretty nice shots as well.
|Carrie, who rode to Port Sanilac with us, took this picture |
of our one year old pup, Paul Anka, as we wound
northward on M-25.
Our own Gettysburg 150th
1st Bull Run
~ ~ ~