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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Follow me boys! Do you want to live forever?!!"

Some of my happiest and most thrilling moments came during the 10+ years that I reenacted the American Civil War. I won't go into the why's of it all, suffice it to say that it's a way for grown men to play SERIOUS "Army" like we did as kids, at least me anyway.

As I grew into the hobby and learned more of the minutiae of the common soldier and soldier life I became more and more determined to have as realistic a kit as possible, right down to the hogs hair toothbrush. I spent untold amounts achieving this and, in the end, I was about as good as one could become.

  My friend, Jason Wickersty, and I at an Antietam reenactment. This tintype was taken  near Boonsboro, MD. by period photographer Robert Szabo.

Through it all I was able to meet some amazing people, form a few lasting relationships, start a business which lasted about 5 years and, to an extent, changed the way the hobby purchased authentic goods. I saw many battlefields and historic sites and was able to partake a small part in the movie "Gettysburg", filmed right near the field itself.


Hamming it up on the set of "Gettysburg"...shot through the neck with a ramrod...always the clown


Pointing across the field to where the Rebels would soon appear when the filming for Pickett's Charge began.

Of course, the above pictures only prove the obvious, that I am a ham and first rate idiot, but a lovable one...at times.

For a brief story on my 1st major reenactment click here: Seeing The Elephant This was the 125th anniversary of the "Overland Campaign" of 1864 featuring the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania (Laurel Hill and the "Muleshoe").

The next year saw the 125th anniversary of the final battles on Lee's retreat from Richmond (Saylor's Creek) right before the surrender at Appomattox. This reenactment has stayed with me because of one singular scene. As the brigade (3 to 4,000 full strength) marched off to the first fight, I caught a glimpse of the immense long line and what a real brigade on the march may have looked like. With flags flying and drums and fifes playing I had an amazing "moment". One's time in reenacting is filled with these brief, magic moments...if you are lucky and attend the right events. You cannot force them to happen, they just pop up on you and for that second or two you are outside looking in and in awe.




My unit, the 3rd NJ, firing a volley after crossing Little Saylor's Creek. I was the left general guide for the battalion and am pictured holding the guidon with the small American Flag. My counterpoint, the right guide, and myself, would move out in front of the battalion to help keep the ranks straight as we marched in line of battle. This job, historically, was given to the 2nd Sgt of the right most and left most company of the line...hence, me on the left.

The recent 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, TN also provided some excellent pictures too. Though I had retired before this event and thus, did not attend (I did attend the 130th), I love the pics I have seen of it and will share one here.


Damn, I wish I had gone. These Federal soldiers portrayed Western troops extremely well!



1 comment:

  1. that is so cool Joe!
    -Debbie Carl

    ReplyDelete