A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to attend one of the most interesting American traditions I’ve ever come across. The Civil War Reenactment. It was glorious and so much more than I expected.
The beginning of our trip sounded a lot like this, as we pulled through the gate to the festival
Oh there’s the parking guys… wait…what is that? Is that a something hanging from a tree? Is that a fake man hanging from a tree? Shit, is that a fake black man being lynched? Wait, it has white feet, it has white feet! Babe, are we sure we want to keep driving?
We kept going and thankfully that was really the only frightening part of the day. I was relieved when my guy told me the white dummy was supposed to be a spy. The festival staff had even hung a sign saying SPY around his neck. Still, a little too scary for this girl. We parked and walked down a wooded path and back in time. I was ecstatic as we walked through authentic-ish camps of soldiers and moved out of the way as regiments walked by, complete with drums and fifes.
From there we walked around looking at “civil war era” goods, watched demonstrations, ate high caloric intake foods and chatted with civil war geeks before battle. Magnificent.
The battle was amazing. I have never heard guns so loud so I jumped pretty much every time a cannon went off.These guys take it seriously. I decided if I were a reenactor I would die fairly early on just so I could take a nap while the others fight. Yup, I’m a pacifist.
The cannons were pretty special, it is unbelievable what good shape they are in and these guys who take care of them really put their heart and soul into it. We talked to quite a few reenacters and they were so happy and eager to tell us about their gear, uniforms and weapons. I had a completely different experience in mind (i.e. redneck, racist insanity) than was true when I left. Despite quite a few shouts exclaiming “The South will rise again!” or “Damn Yankees, the South will never give up!”, everyone was actually nice and respectful. I learned quite a bit, and of course, devoured an entire bag of kettle corn. Ahhhh, the ol’ days.
The Damn Yankee