Saturday, February 11, 2017

Favorite Photos from Civil War Civilian Reenacting 2016

This is a slower time of year for history and especially for reenacting. And, due to a family matter, I have not had much opportunity to research for upcoming postings. Therefore, I thought I'd do a sort of "2016 Civil War Living History Yearbook" to help pass blogging time, for there were plenty of pretty cool pictures taken at those amazing events.
One thing I hope you notice is that *most* of the photos in this collection are not of the typical variety one sees often.  Because we do varying styles of reenacting, this is also what the photographs depict.
Here are some of my favorites:
~Historic Fort Wayne~
Two young ladies from the 1860s.
My daughter, on the right, is certainly growing up into quite the young lady. She does not remember when we didn't reenact the Civil War - she was only two when we began in this hobby.

The actual Tillie Pierce in a 
photo taken roughly around 
the same time as the 
Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
My daughter, looking as if she
could be Tillie Pierce, resident
of Gettysburg back during the
Civil War.

A little spooky, eh?
Yeah...I thought so, too.
~Historic Fort Wayne~
It was mid-May...and it was very cold. So cold, in fact, that we had snow! Yes, a light covering fell to the ground during the time of year when we should have been in the 70 degree range.
But we still had fun...
There are so many great pictures from the Greenfield Village event. How can I dwindle it down to just a few?
Well, I suppose in order to see the rest of them, you'll just have to click HERE. But to wet your whistle, here are the dwindled few:
~Greenfield Village~
My wife is totally in her element here...dressed in some of her most favorite clothes, spinning wool into yarn, and, best of all, talking to interested visitors about this period craft one rarely sees outside of the local museums. 
I love this picture of her.

~Greenfield Village~
This picture is one of my very favorites taken at the Village during Civil War Remembrance: farm boys taking a short break from their hard laborious farm chores to pose for a picture in front of the historic Firestone Farm. Kudos to Tom on the horse-drawn harrow behind the boys.
And thanks also to the horse who left his, um, touch of authenticity.

~Greenfield Village~
After a rousing debate about Lincoln, we shake hands to show our respect and continued friendship.

~Greenfield Village~
An 1860s evening inside the Eagle Tavern. 
Yes, a reenactors-only evening inside an actual 19th century tavern where we had great conversation, fine music, and a wonderful period experience not found at too many other reenactments.
This is probably my very favorite experience during the three and a half day weekend.

~Greenfield Village~
I really love the people I reenact with - - they are so much "Help!" to me whenever I need it! 

Ha! Now do you get it? 
Or do I have to explain?

~Charlton Park~
Another top-notch event is our full-immersion scenario at Charlton Park in Hastings, Michigan. All of us that you see here are entrusted to bring the events of a "family" living during the time of the Civil War to life, all taking place in and around an actual mid-19th century house.  

~Charlton Park~
We do our best to stay in 1st person in our conversations and our actions. We also ask that our visitors remain in this immersion manner as well, such as the old flame of my sister you see in the photo above (Mr. Bagley, the gentleman on the right) who showed up very unexpectedly, much to her shock.
 The gentleman in the picture below explained to us the plight of his people - the Jews - many of who were being forced from their land in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky by Gen'l Ulysses S. Grant, due to the thought that they were running a black market in southern cotton.

~Charlton Park~
Realism reigns in all aspects of this amazing event, for this small open-air museum is perfect in displaying a reenactment of the Civil War era.

~Port Oneida, Michigan~
Not really at a reenactment, but the era is depicted in this photo. Larissa and I do presentations on mid-19th century farming as part of "Our Own Snug Fireside," and on this day we did three one-hour presentations to good-sized crowds.

I hope we are asked to go back this year!

Port Sanilac is another one of those events where we can take an idea and run with it.
We've thrown a county fair and reenacted the citizens of Gettysburg. One of the cool things we did this year was...
~Port Sanilac~ go swimming in Lake Huron!
Yes, I see one authentic bathing costume here while the rest of the ladies went in their clothing. Not necessarily period correct, but fun nonetheless. And it garnered some attention for our reenactment. 
Girls in bathing costumes (or showing their ankles) will do this, you know.

~Port Sanilac~
This was the first time ever that my daughter was on a horse...she loved it and said wanted one.
I told her we can get one after we get a barn on lots of land.
She'll be a-waiting quite a long time...

~Port Sanilac~
Annie Etheridge - the Civil War nurse who was also a Daughter of the Regiment  - as portrayed by the 21st Michigan's own Jillian.

She wore a long sidesaddle skirt with two pistols on her belt, and stayed just behind the lines. When she saw a man fall, she dashed into the midst of the battle to lift the wounded soldier onto her horse and get him to safety. Twice her horse was shot out from under her.
For her bravery under fire, Annie was one of only two women awarded the Kearny Cross.

~Port Sanilac~
Whenever I see a horse, I try to utilize the opportunity for photo opps, as you have seen with my daughter and with Jillian. I also like to get in on the fun myself. Here you see wetplate photographer extraordinaire, Robert Beech, taking a tintype of me sitting upon 'Little Jack.'
And here is how that image turned out:
Pretty nice, eh?

~Port Sanilac~
But I just don't sit on horses...I can ride 'em as well.
I may not be the swiftest in the saddle, but I certainly
can take a horse out for a walk or trot.
Riding through the tent city like this was definitely
a high point for me.
That's my patriotic wife there - she was quite surprised
to see me saunter past.
By the way, this was one of my all-time favorite moments.

For the Jackson, Michigan event, the weather was not with us. It rained for much of the day so I did not really get the opportunity to get the pictures I wanted.
But of the ones I did take, I like these two the best:
The battles at the Jackson event are always excellent and, aside from the crowds who come to watch, the note of realism is fairly strong.

My friend, Samantha, was standing by the pond, as 
you see here, and, to me, it was "picture perfect."

One of my very favorite events (okay, so nearly every reenactment is my favorite!) is Wolcott Mill. This is where the civilians of the unit I belong to, the 21st Michigan, put on quite the harvest display.
The fall and harvest time is my favorite part of the calendar year, and celebrating it in the way our ancestors did has given us the opportunity to experience a part of 19th century life that most don't even think about anymore.
Yeah...the fall is actually less about football and more about preparing for winter...
Unfortunately, for 2017, there will be no Wolcott Mill.
This makes many of us living historians pretty sad...
~Wolcott Mill~
What's under the fly of Ken's tent?
I spy homemade candles, an heirloom apple display, and a barrel full of fresh pressed-on-the-spot cider.
Perfect for autumn.

~Wolcott Mill~
Shelling corn is a family affair.

~Wolcott Mill~
Remember what I said about freshly-pressed cider?
Here you go - - the kids help by putting apples in the

hopper to be chopped and then pressed.

Something that many living historians don't even think about reenacting is Christmas time, for they're too busy working extra hours so they can earn more money to spend on Christmas gifts. Well, I'm here to tell you that celebrating Christmas in the past is a memory you will not soon forget. It may even give you a whole new outlook on the Holiday itself - it certainly did for me!
~Christmas at the Fort - Historic Fort Wayne~
Decorating the feather tree while grandmother plays Christmas music on the pump organ inside a beautiful period home as we portray a well-to-do family
~Christmas at the Fort - Historic Fort Wayne~
Christmas dinner - - yes, we present as a family and attempt to remain in a first person manner to help with our own celebration.

~Christmas at the Fort - Historic Fort Wayne~
It is a rare opportunity to visit a bedroom inside a
historic house from the 19th century during the night time darkness, but Kristen and I
did just that in the attempt to get a feel of what it would 
have been like to spend "time in your room" 
on a 19th century pre-electric evening.
Getting ready for bed...

There you have a concise collection of collodian images.
Well...not really collodian-----but the photos herein pretty much rounds out my 2016 1860s time-traveling experiences.
I've been in this hobby for fourteen+ years and there is no sign of me slowing down. In fact, with the inclusion of the RevWar/Colonial, my time spent in the past in ever-increasing.
Some say I live in a bubble - that I'm hiding from the present.
Nope---not at all. I just refuse to talk modern politics on a blog entitled "Passion for the Past."
I also refuse to talk politics on my Facebook page.
That doesn't make me unaware. It just says I prefer not to talk about such a thing on the internet.
Believe me, I am very aware------'s now time for me to prepare for my travel into the future past. There is a living history show coming up, there are presentations to do, and the 2017 reenactments are on the horizon...for Civil War and Colonial/RevWar.
And I can't wait---
Until next time, see you in time.



Unknown said...

Hi Ken- I'm a new viewer to your blog and I am really enjoying your posts! It looks like you are very knowledgeable about colonial times and enjoy bringing it back to life. I would love to know more about getting involved in the historical reenactment scene. Are there any online resources that detail upcoming reenactments throughout Michigan? Thanks for your time!

Historical Ken said...

Hi Kristen -
Thank you for the kind words.
I run a page on Facebook called "Citizens of the American Colonies" and I frequently update the events listings.
Please feel free to request to join the page and we'll get you the information you are wanting.