Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Reenactment at Wolcott Mill 2013

Do you know how members of the 21st Michigan are treated if they attend an event in modern clothing? They get apples and grapes angrily thrown at them and then they get chased by a knife-wielding grandma!

 ~(All photos but 2 are from this year's event)~

It's been kind of a strange year in the world of reenacting for me. Kind of like Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities: "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
Well, not really "worst."
I think it's because I lost my job in June, and that really put a damper on the whole season for me.
But I've been trying to keep a positive attitude.
Understand, the events I've attended themselves have been great, especially Charlton Park and Port Sanilac, and we've done some pretty amazing 1st person/immersion impressions - more than in previous years, and that's really taken it all to a new level. Of course, to bring the world of the mid-19th century to life takes special people, and I am glad that I am amongst very special living historians - the best of the best, as far as I'm concerned.

A Wolcott photo from a previous year - we had no sun this year as you see here. Reenacting kids really know how to keep themselves occupied without all of the electronic modern amusements rotting their brains.

Our final major event of the 'official' reenacting season is Wolcott Mill, located up in rural northern Macomb County (north of Detroit). This event is wonderful for a number of reasons, with the first and foremost being the time of year: autumn, my very favorite season. And because the temperatures (and weather temperament!) is usually on the cool side, the "fair weather" reenactors generally stay home while the diehards attend in full vigor.

A nice autumn setting

Secondly: though we are in tents (intense?), we still create a town atmosphere that effectively gives the visitor that time-travel experience.
Third - I really, really enjoy the evening lantern tours given here. Since I usually take part in them I don't get to see too many of the other scenarios; I'm usually involved in my postmaster presentation, and have been for a number of years. But for the second year in a row, me and another member of the 21st Michigan gave the touring groups a seven or eight minute etiquette lesson. Just a quick overview of male-female interaction with a bit of comedy thrown in to keep it fun. And the 'tourists' seem to enjoy it.
And finally, the land of which this all takes place has an actual 1847 gristmill that is, with its mill pond and stream, surrounded by the colorful autumn leaves prominent here in October.

Another *sunny* Wolcott Mill photo from last year.

This is a simply beautiful setting.
Unfortunately, the weather this year was a bit unusual in that we had an unexpected warm-front come though days before and, during the weekend of our reenactment the cold front pushed its way through, bringing with it plenty of rain and even the threat of severe weather. Nothing severe materialized for us but the threat from the weatherman was real enough that they cancelled Sunday's activities and sent everyone packing by noon.
Well, at least we had Saturday, right? And, I suppose we were lucky that nothing severe actually did rear its ugly head.
So, safe and sound (and dry) at home, I went through my Saturday photos and chose some of the best ones for you.
I hope you enjoy them.

Realism is always heightened whenever horses are at an event

Young ladies of the 21st Michigan: my daughter (on the left) and Andrea.

The 21st's own Ginnie Wade - she and her family did a fine scenario of showing when Miss Wade was shot and killed on the morning of July 3, 1863.

There is something about reenacting that brings friends together to visit in a way one doesn't see very often in modern times. There's a connection that is difficult to put into words.

Nothing like being near a warm fire on a cool fall day, and 21st member Sofia has done a fine job honing her outdoor cooking skills.

This lovely young newlywed, Mrs. Lynch, enjoyed spending time with her in-laws and with friends...

...including these two friends: one from the north and one from the south!

Mrs. Paul enjoys a moment of solitude.

Chicken roasting on an open fire...ahhh...fall...
For some reason, this just captured my attention, so I captured the scene. 
Here we have a few of the civilian members of the 21st Michigan, as well as one of our good friends, and even one of our soldiers. This is how the future sees us.

This is how we see ourselves

And this is how we really are!

During the course of the day on Saturday, the Rebel army came marching through civilian camp, stealing bread and whatever else they needed. Due to the coming rains, this is the only military photo I took. But keep scrolling down...

 At Wolcott Mill, I normally take time on Sunday to capture the likenesses of the military men in camp and on the battlefield. However, due to the cancellation at noon on that second day this year, I couldn't get such images. Lucky for me, some friends did and allowed me to share their photos with you here:

Men of the 21st Michigan and other units form up (Photo by Lowell White)

They were ready to fight the Confederate army that were just over a hill. (Photo by Lowell White)

Off they went, to meet them on their own ground. (Photo by Lowell White)

The cavalry held the Rebs off until the infantry could arrive. (Photo by Lowell White)

The fighting was intense - - - - - (Photo by Lenore Jordan)

The Rebs had the upper hand and sent the Yankees skeedaddling, only to fight another day. But that day didn't come, for the weather became too fierce...(Photo by Lowell White)

And there you have it.
No matter the weather, we all still had a great time showing history in many forms.
It's sad knowing that this is the last big reenactment until next May for those of us here in Michigan. But, we still have the 1863 Christmas season on the horizon, and that always brings a smile to my face.
See you next time - - thanks for visiting.



Karen~The Barely There Primitive Bear said...

I enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing. This is something that I would like to do, myself.


Ruth Torrijos said...

Fun times! lol That pic of the three ladies talking is EXACTLY what EVERYBODY down here looks like constantly! lol Always talking! You need to come visit the South, Ken!

Fun time! I wish I could have been there!


Historical Ken said...

Thanks Karen! You should get involved in a reenacting group.

Ruth -
I love the south! We almost moved there shortly after we got married, but family "kept us" here (too strong of family ties).
We did take our honeymoon in Tennessee!
We hope to go to Colonial Williamsburg next year, God willing, and that's in Virginia!

A Country Victorian said...

It looks like it was a fun weekend! I wish I could have been there, but it's just too far of a drive. I still do have one more (very) small reenactment to go to though, so I'm happy. Does Greenfield Village have any Winter events?

Nice pictures, as always!


Historical Ken said...

Thanks Veronica - - - -
Greenfield Village has no winter events, though they are open through the end of November. In December they have their awesome Holiday Nights.

the bee guy said...

Sorry to hear of your job loss Ken. I think with your historical talent you'd be a perfect fit to work somewhere at the The Henry Ford.

Historical Ken said...

Thank you sir - - - to work at the Village would be a dream come true! Imagine: dressing on period clothing AND getting paid for it!