Monday, June 1, 2009

As Promised - Pictures from the Memorial Day Event at Greenfield Village

Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village is what I believe may be the most anticipated Civil War reenactment of the year for most of us in Michigan. And it has come and gone so quickly that I scarcely remember all that I did those three days. Fortunately, I had taken loads of images from my (as my daughter calls it) "pocket tintype" and I'd like to share some of those images with you. It is mainly of the membership from one unit that I belong to, the 21st Michigan Volunteer Infantry Co. H, a family oriented unit that has a large military and civilian contingency.
(I also belong to the Michigan Soldiers Aid Society and I will present a blog on them in the upcoming months.)

The following pictures are in no particular order (except for a certain few) but I have included an explanation beneath each.
I hope you enjoy them!

One of the nicest things about the three day Greenfield Village event is that it is the first of the season for most of the area's reenactors and the chance to visit members not seen since last year make it all the more special.

Some of the children in our reenacting unit (including my young daughter on the right) wrote letters with pen & ink to the soldiers, using period correct stationary.

My wife (on the right) and her very good friend, the Preacher's wife. In the sun, my pocket tintype has 'played' with the colors of my wife's half-mourning dress that she made this spring, so the purple-ish color does not show as correctly as it should. She also made her bonnet as well.

Our laundress and her helper did a fine job performing their duties for the public. They actually did laundry for our members over the weekend using lye soap - if our ancestors did it that way back then, we can do it that way now!

Your blog host and his wife! Patty's half-mourning dress and bonnet shows the colors much better in this image. This photo was taken inside the The Eagle Tavern.

The President (and chaplain) of the 21st Michigan standing with the Military Commander's daughter.

Michigan Senator Jacob Howard (portrayed by 21st member Dave Tennies) speaks with a patron. We love to interact with the public, sometimes in 1st person, other times in third person. But, either way, we hope that when they walk away from us, that we have taught them about history in a fun and interesting way.

Evening, after the public leaves, can be the best time for us reenactors. Here my son performs Civil War era songs such as "Wayfaring Stranger," "Shady Grove," "Just Before the Battle Mother," and "Lorena." Notice that we all remain in our period clothing, even when the public is not there. That's dedication - that's passion.

Our resident insurance salesman, who is an insurance salesman in his 21st century life as well, researched and found a very interesting history of the business and portrays it in a fun historical way. Who would think insurance could be interesting? Mr. Jones shows that it can be!

My son and his date just before leaving for the ball. Don't they look great?

Here are a number of the 21st Michigan Co. H military. Capt. Schroeder, having the respect of his men, does a fine job leading the troops into battle.

Members of the 21st, as well as other units that participated at the Greenfield Village reenactment, march off to war.

Yup - another image of my two sons as they march down the road to battle.

My eldest son received a letter from his close friend back home. I do the post mastering and have many from the differing units write letters to each other. It's made us more like a community. My rules are simple: Civilians must come to my post office to get their mail. I deliver to the respective Captains of the different units, including Confederate units.

We like to have fun in our camps, too. Here, while her husband is off fighting, a young wife is gambling at a card game while smoking a stogy with the local men folk...on the Sabbath!

Of course, the Preacher's wife is shocked and none too happy about this occurence...

...and she brings out her bible to point out the error of her ways!

But, through all of our fun, we do not forget our reason for being there on this Memorial Day Weekend, and, just as women did soon after the Civil War ended, the ladies of the different units layed wreaths and flowers upon the graves of those who had fallen. Since there are no actual graves (anymore) at the Village, they lay wreaths at the garden in front of the church. Then, men and women who served in the actual military are called out to the Village Green so honor can be paid to them. Veterans from WWII, Korea, VietNam, and the numerous wars after walk out to the center. Very solemn and very touching, a dry eye could not be found. Much better, say, than a parade down main street with clowns, politicians waving from convertables, and kids decorating their bikes.

This is truly one reenactment that pays the homage and respect in the way that it should be.
And I am honored to play a small role.




Amy said...

Great photos!! Hey, I know the award looks all girly, but I love your blog so much that I've given you a pass-along blog award. Come by my blog to pick it up if you like! :)


Mrs. G said...

Ken, I've been remiss in not commenting sooner but I loved the pictures! You seem to have such a good time there that I get envious all over again!


Historical Ken said...

Amy - thanks for the award. Just the thought makes me feel great (and I thank you for understanding about why it's not posted on my blog).

Paris - I get envious as well when I see that your everyday life is the lifestyle I would love to live. That you have been able to accomplish this in the 21st century gives me the hope that my family and I will one day be able to also live a traditional life.
For now, however, reenacting (and my antiques) fill the void.