Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reenacting 2011 - January, Get Thee Behind Me!

We had our annual business meeting of the 21st Michigan Civil War reenacting unit. It was ok as far as meetings go. It's the only meeting we have that we don't dress up in our period clothing - and who would want to? It's a business meeting, and it can get pretty darn boring. There have been times where it's gotten pretty nasty, too. But, it's been fine the last couple of years.
It's at this business meeting where we vote for the events we plan to have our unit attend, and there sure are plenty of 'em to choose from for 2011. With the 150th at hand, it seems as if everyone has the bug to commemorate the anniversary of the worst war ever fought on U.S. soil.

This is not how the ladies of the 21st Michigan dressed for our business meeting.
Maybe it would help it along if they did!!

According to our attendance sheet, I attended 14 events in 2010. That's 14 21st Michigan events. In actuality, I also attended four events with the other reenacting group I belong to, the Michigan Soldiers Aid Society (MSAS).
But, that's still not everything!
There were also 10 events I attended independent of any unit.
That's 28 total events - slightly more than every other weekend for the year!

So, you might think, "His poor wife! Stuck in that corset and living the drudgery of a Victorian woman on her husband's account!"
To which you would be wrong.
I am blessed to have my beloved almost as excited at participating in living history as me, especially now that she knows how to use her spinning wheel and walking wheel. Out of the 28 events that I attended, she joined me in all but maybe seven or eight.
And now a new "season" of time traveling is creeping up. But, I'm stuck in this v-e-r-y ---- s-l-o-w time of year for reenacting.
I am getting the shakes.
I must be addicted!
By most accounts in the Civil War reenacting world, this year will be 1861, and most of the events are geared to that time.

To help authenticate this journey through the past, I purchased numerous replicas of the Harper's Weekly newspaper - a couple from each month of 1861, as well as from '62 through '65. A prop to keep it real, and it's neat reading the first-hand accounts.
There are also numerous new events that I am looking forward to doing, including civilian-only events, where I can continue to practice my living history.
Yeah, I'm really getting excited!
Now, if only the weather would cooperate...wait! What do you mean it's only January?!?

Well, I guess that's why I created a pretty authentic parlor in my help pull me through these bleak, cold, dreary winter days.



Mary said...

I know exactly how you feel! Around this time every year I start having reenacting/history dreams and so I start watching every Civil War movie I can get my hands on and rereading my favorite Civil War novels. Well January is almost over so reenacting season is nearly upon us!

Historical Ken said...

I agree, Mary, Civil War movies help me as well. We just watched "Ride With the Devil" last weekend.
I heard a rumor that they will be releasing the extended director's cut of Gettysburg and Gods & Generals (with more civilian scenes including Lincoln and Booth as well as the Antietam battle) on Blu-Ray this coming April. Oh man! I hope so!

Amy said...

Wow, you have got to be the most authentic-minded reenactors I know. :) And yes, you are addicted. I'd be addicted too, if time allowed me.

But you know there has always been one thing that has eluded me with regards to reenacting. It's learning to talk to the visitors in a period voice. First person reenacting, I guess. I'm rather shy, and I'm not very good at approaching people, and in fact, not very good at knowing what to say when people walk up to my tent, where I'm usually sewing or whatever. I've seen lots of articles/posts about how to do a first-person impression, but for us shy people, putting those tips into practice is scary as all get out (that's a southern expression).

I commend you for your dedication. It's inspiring.


Historical Ken said...

Amy - Thank you for the kind words. As a good friend of mine likes to say, "I take my fun seriously!"

First person, by the way, is actually a lot easier than you might think.'re giving me an idea for an upcoming post...!

Mary said...

I'll have to check out "Ride With the Devil", I've heard of it and it seems really good. I heard that too! My friend actually found something about an extended edition of Gods and Generals on the internet, I'll see if I can find the link.