Question of the Week: What’s your favorite reenactment memory?

What is your most treasured memory of either participating in or witnessing a Civil War reenactment?

11 Responses to Question of the Week: What’s your favorite reenactment memory?

  1. By far it was the NPS Last Match of the Iron Brigade, held on July 1st, 2013,

    Led by Scott Hartwig and Dan Welch we followed in the steps of the Iron Brigade of the West from where the brigade turned off the Emmitsburg Rd at the Codori farm and marched to the sound if the guns. We had a rather large crowd of people (1500or more) following us.

  2. It was during a Civil War Roundtable fieldtrip to Antietam on the anniversary of the battle. We were standing near the Harper’s Ferry Road. As our tour guide, Dennis Frye, was explaining the timely arrival of A.P. Hill’s men who marched from Harper’s Ferry that morning to help save the day for Lee’s army, we glanced down the road. Coming over a rise in the road, the tops of a couple of Confederate flags begin to appear. As they drew closer, the gleam of bayonets also appeared, soon to be followed by a long line of tired Confederate soldiers marching over the hill. It was like going back in time. Apparently, reenactors had made the march that morning all the way from Harper’s Ferry and we happened to be there as they arrived. The hairs on the back of my neck were bristling witnessing their arrival.

  3. For years the NY Capital District Civil War Round Table went to Gettysburg twice a year to raise money for battlefield preservation, for the commemoration of the July battle and Remembrance Day in November. I always looked forward to the Remembrance Day’s parade, seeing all the Union and Confederate units marching in their very best. My absolute favorite was the always last unit in the parade: reenactors of the USCT regiments. It was a special treat to a Civil War music lover because it was the custom of the USCT reenactors to march the entire parade route singing. All those wonderful voices ringing through the November air is a memory I hope never to lose.

  4. While serving with the 74th Illinois we were “charging the cannons” about 100 yards in front of them when the all four fired at once. I could feel the chock of air when it hit me. I will never forget this, and when I read about infantry charging cannon, I am reminded of this. That has been easily, thirty years ago. Awsome,

  5. I never re-enacted a battle, but saw the 1961 centennial reenactment of First Manassas. I was just 15 and taken there by my father, a veteran who was wounded on Utah Beach in the Normandy landing taking his engineer company ashore under heavy fire. I had already read a good bit about the CW and thought I knew a lot. I knew the shots were blanks and though it was funny when a few times I saw a guy (apparently) drop BEFORE the volley was fired. I also thought some of them looked fatter than I figured they would have been. Dad didn’t think any of it was funny. He just said things like “It’s just for fun. They’re having a good time.”

    My only re-enacting was at Chancellorsville VC back in the 1980s, dressed up as a Confederate soldier left on the battlefield to help with “salvage operations” collecting all that truck the Yanks had left when they skedaddled. It was first-person, so I had to stay in character. One time I had shown how to load and fire my Enfield rifle—no live fire—and a little kid asked me:
    “How many people have you killed?” and I said something clever like “Well I’ve shot a couple Yankees. Does that count?”
    Ha ha. I recall getting a few laughs, but it did make me think about things.

  6. Back in the early part of this century (I THINK it was 2004, but I’m not certain) I took my son and his friend to Cooperstown, NY. On our way there I decided to take them through Gettysburg to let them see some of the sites. The place was overcrowded to say the least. We literally stumbled onto a sizeable re-enactment that was just getting started. We also had a prime parking spot miraculously open up for us (it seemed like a Moses parting the sea thing!). So we were able to stay and watch that reenactment be carried out. It was great. The rifles and cannons firing were something else. For the rest of the trip my boy and his friend talked about nothing else. My son developed a real appreciation of and for history that serves him to this day.

  7. Pulling a guard mount from 2:00 to 3:00A.M. on April 10, 2011, at Fort Sumter. The night fog hid the absence of all stories of the fort walls above the first that left me thinking that I am seeking exactly the view of the parade ground and the walls at this minute exactly 100 years ago., absent the wooden barracks. The only emotion missing was the anxiety of awaiting the first shot of the war to come, as I relished the view of the fort’s inerior a century ago as if transported there in a time machine.

  8. After the heat and humidity peremptorily ended one evening’s battle during the 2013 Gettysburg re-enactment, we walked up through the Confederate camps to reach our parked car. I suddenly heard a stirring Confederate song – probably “Dixie” – rising above the trees blocking our view of the gravel road leading to the camps. We waited; up came the Southern infantry, marching up the road with a regimental band leading. The distant music grew louder, and as the weary bandsmen and infantrymen tramped past us, the visuals and music were stunning, perhaps because my Civil War ancestors were all Confederates.

  9. Seeing Robert Hodge, a one-man reenactment, sitting on an embankment in his well-worn uniform near the Mule Shoe during the !50th anniversary.

  10. Portraying a soldier in the Iron Brigade at the “Maryland, My Maryland” event in 2012 for the 150th anniversary of South Mountain and Antietam. The spectator-less Cornfield scenario was stupendous from beginning to end: Marching in the pre-dawn darkness (and, for several intervals, just standing in place uncomfortably), the landscaping preparation that must have gone into creating the look of the cornfield, and then, during the height of “battle”, feeling a genuine sense of fear as the Confederates charged through the cornfield toward us. Several of the Confederates were committed enough to continue portraying the corpses piled up along the fences of the “Hagerstown Pike” for what seemed like hours afterward.

    I continued hearing phantom bugle calls for about a week afterward.

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