|Ghosts of Gettysburg: meet those who were there...sort of...|
You can blame me.
The wonderful people that took part in our reenactment last year did such a fine job in their roles as Gettysburg citizens I just couldn't let it go. They really took it to heart and it seemed such a waste to just let it go and end it.
It really was spectacular. (Read about it HERE)
It was so good, in fact, that I felt we should do it all over again this year.
And I'm glad we did, because it was even more successful!
What surprises me is how few people realize just what the citizens of battle towns had to go through to survive. All we hear about is the military and the battles, as if nothing and no one else mattered.
And that's why civilian living historians intertwining with military reenactors are so important. In fact, it was at this year's Port Sanilac (which took place the 1st weekend in August) that I received one of the highest compliments one could give:
A family from Fredricksburg, Virginia came up to me and thanked me for "showing that there was more to the Civil War than people shooting at each other." They went on to explain that most of the reenactments they attend in their neck of the woods only tend to show the battles and nothing else, and after seeing a few of them they became bored, especially their pre-teen children. However, after seeing our presentation here their interest - especially the kids - has been renewed. They loved the battle as it included the wounded soldiers, the citizens coming out to help, and even death. They also enjoyed our Citizens of Gettysburg living history presentation.
To have folks who live in the midst of Civil War country tell me this made all the stress of hosting the event easier to handle.
Yeah...it made me feel real good.
Tell you what - rather than repeat what I wrote last year, I'm going to let my pictures do most of the talking (with additional help with my attempt-at-being-witty captions):
|Meet Doc Turlo, the finest doctor in town. In fact, he was the only doctor in town!|
|Meet the Wade family: Samuel, Georgia, mother Mary Ann, and Ginnie. The young ladies portraying Georgia and Ginnie really do look eerily like their long dead counter-parts. I've not seen any photos of Samuel or Mary Ann.|
|Once again, we had the Rebels come through town, and our wonderful reenactors did a great job as frightened citizens scurried hither and thither to hide their belongings and food from the scavengers.|
|Young Sammy Wade was kidnapped by a Confederate soldier!|
|"Mama! Mama!" he cried as he was carried off! The look of fright on Ginnie's face just about says it all.|
|But wait! What's this? Look! Look who is coming down our road!|
|Thank God for Michigan! Huzzah to all of you!!|
|The Wade ladies prepare to feed the starving soldiers as they march through town.|
|"Would you kind sirs like some fresh-baked bread?"|
|Our civilians certainly got into the spirit of the times!|
|And the men got to enjoy some fine home-baked food!|
|Cannon fire: the signal that a battle was about to commence!|
|Though civilians tend to come out in droves, the military men were not nearly as large. But for those who came, my hat is off and I am honored. You boys (and girls) did a fantastic job!|
|The Rebels knew that they'd been beat and made a retreat on lightning feat! (I'm a poet and don't know it - I try not to show it).|
|We did a medical scenario afterward. Doc Turlo's nurse, Miss Jones, had a difficult time keeping up with all the wounded and did her best to encourage the other ladies to help out.|
|Whether Confederate or Union, all were human - all were cared for.|
|Wounded men all over the field!|
|Here's a soldier, writhing in pain as a bullet past through his shoulder, awaiting to have his arm possibly amputated.|
|Doc Turlo worked night and day on the wounded men. As quick as one soldier was off the operating table, another was put on.|
|This young zouave's wounds were mortal. All hope was lost for this poor soul.|
|And he was carried to spend his final moments on this earth under the shade of a maple tree.|
|All the ladies could do was keep him as comfortable as they could.|
|And, while resting in the arms of his brother, Pvt. Jody Reynolds went to his Endless Sleep...|
|Ginnie and her mother (in a bit of historical revision) give the Confederate soldiers a "what for" for kidnapping little Sammy.|
|No, Ginnie Wade was not kneading bread dough out in the field where the men were fighting, but we wanted to show the audience what happened to her. Here she is, very happy to be doing her part to help the fighting Union...|
|Moments later, after a sniper's bullet pierced her back, killing her instantly, her lifeless body was carried out back (actually, her body was carried to the cellar of the home she was in).|
|And the rest of the Wade family mourned the loss of their loved one at such a young age - only twenty years old.|
|Again, I am so proud of our living historians who took their roles so seriously.|
|The sight of wounded men and arms & legs piled outside the windows of the houses and buildings were ghastly, as was the stench of death beginning to arise from the bloating bodies.|
|Elizabeth Thorn, great with child, began her duty to bury the dead as soon as she could.|
We had another presentation, just as last year, on the Citizens of Gettysburg. Over a dozen of our living historians each became a Gettysburg citizen and gave a little speech in a 1st person manner about how their lives were affected by the great battle that took place in their town.
Also included in this presentation was a bit about the fashions of the time, including mourning.
|Here, Miss Schubert explains the etiquette of mourning to the audience. If you are interested in the mourning practices of the mid-19th century, please click HERE.|
So I deeply apologize for this mistake.
And she was SO good, too!
|Visitors and reenactors, sitting in chairs and upon bales of hay, were enthralled by the stories of the Gettysburg citizens. These are the stories that need to be told as much as the battles, for more than soldiers were affected by the War.|
|The finest group of living historians anywhere. I was honored to be on the stage and in this picture with them.|
|President Lincoln (Fred Priebe) was also in our midst and gave a few rousing speeches including his Gettysburg Address.|
|He also spoke of the upcoming election, hoping to garner more votes from the local men, and maybe even convince the women to guide their men in the voting process.|
|After his speech, the President inspected the troops.|
|It wasn't all scenarios at Port Sanilac. Everyone had time to reenact in the more traditional sense and visit with their neighbors. Here, some of the ladies spend the morning hours enjoying each others company.|
|Here is Kristen and Elizabeth - two beautiful young ladies who epitomize the look of the youth of the 1860's.|
|And this is how they will look to the people over 150 years from when this photograph was taken.|
And, as usual, we do like to have goofy fun and take our own blooper or silly pictures.
I hope you enjoy them!
|Ladies, are you buzzing? Here are some of my favorite Queen Bees!|
|Stop with that period music!!! I said I wanted to hear some Taylor Swift or Violent Femmes!! Or even "In A Gadda Da Vida!!"|
|Be vewwy, vewwy quiet...I'm hunting webels! They like bwead.|
The real home guard - don't mess with these ladies!
Or their fake wood gun.
Or what's left of the sauerkraut that's dangling precariously from the wooden spoon.
I hope you enjoyed this latest time-travel adventure.
It certainly was a great pleasure taking part, that's for sure!
A lot goes into putting on an event. A lot more than many realize. It doesn't just come together over a beer at the bar. There are meetings - in person and over the phone.
And there are e-mails, private messages on Facebook...hours upon hours spent organizing, planning, advertising to reenactors and visitors.
And then time spent at the location lining up the tents, helping others to set up and tear down, carrying the heaviest items for those who can't lift...seriously, I don't stop.
So when I say I am honored for those who participate and for those who will go the extra mile for me and help to make this event the success it has become, I mean that with all my heart.
See you next time in time.
*Some of the depictions in this posting may not be 100% accurate to actual events (such as Ginnie Wade kneading dough in a field). This is a result of it being a reenactment and not a play or a movie.
We do our best with what we have.