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At the Renfrew event last month in Pennsylvania (or Pennsyltucky as it is fondly known to some), I went Secesh (another funny term I heard.) I got to experience more relaxed Confederate reenacting (compared to the relatively strict Yankee version), although I still was with my home unit that usually does a Yankee impression. 

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It was also the first time I did rifle at a reenactment (usually I’m playing the fife.) The last time I carried a rifle was at Remembrance Day last year and damn was it heavy - that’s when I decided to be a musician instead. The battle at Renfrew I participated in was kind of “lame”, according to my boyfriend, who is a colonel and was next to me, and tearing cartridges for me some of the time. It was kind of fun to fire the gun, but I’ll tell you what, it is WAY more fun to march on the battlefield with a band. So that’s probably the last time I ever do rifle.

I also heard some pretty racist things said while I was standing in line waiting to go out. I won’t elaborate really on what was said in great detail since it was a small group, but comments were made about the current President that were racial in nature. Of course I should stress that not all confederate reenactors hold or openly express such views, but I have heard from other confederate reenactors that it not uncommon to hear such things in the pickett line, or around the evening campfire.

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On a lighter note, we played a lot of camp music. I tried out my washtub bass for the first time, which Ben made for me for my birthday. It was really difficult to play, but with more practice and the right tuning (it’s only one string) I can hone my technique. 

I’m looking forward to Cedar Creek, which will also mark the one year anniversary of the Civil War Tours Podcast!

[First two photos by Craig Shipp, last photo by Christine Tolbert.]

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(Can you see me? Photo by Meghan Daes)

Holy crap, what a weekend. This was officially my third event ever, and it was nearly my first (thank god that wasn’t the case). Previously I did a small regiment-wide muster at a campsite for a night, and Chancellorsville, which I believe was three nights. I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this event.

Let’s start with the logistics:

- First of all, it was hotter than hell itself. Every day was at least 90, and on Saturday the heat index was 110. Thank god for the women on the battlefields carrying around bags of ice (known as “ice angels” in reenactment lingo) - I had about 5 cubes in between my sack coat and my shirt at any given time. Luckily I sufficiently hydrated the entire week before, as well as physically conditioned with the Xbox Kinect Game “The Hip Hop Dance Experience.” There was also some woods right by federal camp in which we could avoid the sun. I lost five pounds in water weight.

- The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, or the organizers of this event, seemed to have miscalculated the appropriate ratio of attendees/tourists to port o’johns. Yes - sorry to report that they were foul to be point of inhumanity at most points of the day. The hand sanitizer dispensers that were in them were almost always empty, and there were no hand washing stations (is it any wonder I had a spell of reenactor dysentery aftewards?). Confederate camp was really, really far away (to the point that, when the tactical was cancelled, some confederate reenactors believe it was because the Yankee reenactors were too lazy to walk over [we had a bunch of ppl in our company alone who wanted to participate in it - the reason for the cancellation is unknown to this writer.]) Also - we heard they were late to a battle because they didn’t receive ice or water the first day. Again - nothing confirmed, but it was clear that the facility planning was far from well done.

The spectacle:

- Good lord there were a lot of spectators there. Grandstands of spectators. And there was funnel cake, and ribs, and three dollar cokes and the whole shebang. So much so that it was the first time I really had to step back and face the capital being made off of 50,000 lives. How much money were the organizers raking in on this? And how authentic can it all really be if there are grandstands and piped in music? It was a circus. Truly a circus.

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Just ordered my fez from R.L. Kelly & S.A. Miles Co. Could not be more excited. I am amassing somewhat of an amazing hat collection. 
In addition to my kickass straw hat, I was also lucky enough to have this green one (hover over the picture and you’ll see the ‘next’ arrow) made for me by the best camp chef/most kickass civil war reenactment matriarch ever, Mrs. Valentine. Has the touch of the feminine in it, which suits me well.  Just ordered my fez from R.L. Kelly & S.A. Miles Co. Could not be more excited. I am amassing somewhat of an amazing hat collection. 
In addition to my kickass straw hat, I was also lucky enough to have this green one (hover over the picture and you’ll see the ‘next’ arrow) made for me by the best camp chef/most kickass civil war reenactment matriarch ever, Mrs. Valentine. Has the touch of the feminine in it, which suits me well. 

Just ordered my fez from R.L. Kelly & S.A. Miles Co. Could not be more excited. I am amassing somewhat of an amazing hat collection. 

In addition to my kickass straw hat, I was also lucky enough to have this green one (hover over the picture and you’ll see the ‘next’ arrow) made for me by the best camp chef/most kickass civil war reenactment matriarch ever, Mrs. Valentine. Has the touch of the feminine in it, which suits me well.