(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.
- 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.