Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Ten Year Anniversary

I usually keep this blog fairly impersonal, but I've been thinking a lot recently about the value of living history (as in this post) and also just passed a personal anniversary. Ten years ago, I joined my first reenactment group. It was a pivotal event in my life, and it's hard to imagine what other paths I might have taken had I not happened upon this strange and fascinating hobby (not to mention what I would have done with the loads of time and cash I've also spent over the years). Moreover, I was lucky to be involved from the very start with people who did things right and strove for accuracy and authenticity. My reenacting experience inspired, and continues to energize, my interest in material culture and social history. Here is a small collection of snapshots, a couple from each of the eleven years I've been involved in living history.

Co. "A," 26th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, the "Lakeshore Tigers" (1862-1865)
Ludington, Michigan, June 2002
Wolcott Mill, Michigan, October 2002

Young federal soldiers, Holly, Michigan, May 2003
My favorite photo of three of us young kids early on. That's my shebang on the right.

Federal hospital steward, Elk Rapids, Michigan, August 2003
I was already dabbling in other "impressions."

Federal soldiers, Wolcott Mill, Michigan, April 2004
The next morning, we woke up with two inches of snow on the ground.

Federal soldiers, Spotsylvania trenches, May 2004
One of the best events I've attended because of the great earthworks.

Federal soldiers, Saline, Michigan, Michigan, April 2005
We bugged out of this one early. Miserable weather.

Confederate soldiers, Maryland, June 2005
My first (and only) time as a rebel. On the set of the "Fields of Freedom" documentary.

Federal soldiers, Greenfield Village, Michigan, May 2006
Only three years later, and we're looking pretty grown up.

Federal soldiers, C&O Canal, Maryland, July 2006
Fresh from five weeks on an archaeological field school in Ohio.

United States volunteer militia, ca. 1814
 Mississinewa, Indiana, October 2007
My first time outside the Civil War at a reenactment. In a borrowed kit.

Federal soldiers, 116th PVVI, Fredericksburg, Virginia, December 2007
Looted the town and nearly fired some houses.

Hatman, King's 8th of Foot, ca. 1780
Michilimackinac, July 2008
My second summer at Mackinac.

Frenchman, ca. 1760
Fort St. Joseph, Michigan, October 2008
A cold event and the debut of our "opium den."

Federal soldiers, Greenfield Village, Michigan, May 2009
I still do Civil War events regularly, despite the other periods in the photos from here on.

ANZAC Infantrymen, Pacific Theater, ca. 1944
Fort Meigs, Ohio, June 2009
Nothing like a timeline event to bring out the obscure impressions like these Australians.

Virginia citizens, ca. 1776
Williamsburg, Virginia, June 2010
At the "Under the Redcoat" event.

First Regiment Volunteers, state militia, ca. 1812
Fort Erie, Ontario, August 2010
This was the end of a week-long Canadian odyssey. We did Rev War at Fort George, spent a week in the 1771 north redoubt at Fort Niagara, and finished in the War of 1812 at Fort Erie.

Royal Marines, ca. 1814
Chester River, Maryland, July 2011
Out for some documentary filming on a reproduction ship's boat.

United States Navy boat crew ashore, ca. 1814
Chestertown, Maryland, October 2011
The annual Sultana "downrigging" celebration.

Cowboys, ca. 1880
Old Bedford Village, Pennsylvania, June, 2012
Most reenactors are just playing cowboys and Indians, anyway. So why not do the real thing?

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