Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Princeton Civil War Reenactment ~ The Last Huzzah

The last huzzah for the Civil War reenacting season. We could not have asked for a nicer weekend.

October surprised us with one last weekend of Indian Summer.

It was a very small event this year. I think a total of six or seven units were present. Very different from previous years but very nice, in its own way. It was quieter. Calmer. More peaceful.

David has, by now, reached some level of status in the medical reenacting community. He rubs shoulders with the elite and veteran surgeons and is respected in all ways. He was in his element talking with the other surgeons, sharing research, ideas and practical advice.

I am so proud of how much he has thrown himself into this impression. Back when we were married, six years ago, he was a staunch Confederate artilleryman and declared he would never don blue. Well, he has. :) And he has found his own little niche where he fits just perfectly. He is so good at what he does.

The boys were delighted to be out. They ran hither and thither, collecting sticks, rocks and acorns aplenty. Since their clothes did not have pockets, they used me as a collection receptacle. I came home with my reticule completely stuffed with various natural things.

I didn't realize how much the boys have grown over this summer. Judah just barely was able to fit into his tunic and trousers. Of all the boys, he has grown the most this summer and he will most certainly need all new clothes for next season.

David still fits into his clothes width-wise, but not height wise. He is such a skinny fellow but he has grown tall, and his wrists and ankles look gangly since trouser hems and sleeves fall short of the mark!

Malachi wore this little button suit that I made for his older brothers several years ago. Yes! He has now been breeched. :D He just barely fit into it but I was glad he got a chance to wear it. He looked so cute, in my completely biased opinion, and very grown up.

I wore my sheer bodice and swiss waist since the day was so warm. I was secretly hoping it would be cold enough for me to wear my red wool paletot that I made earlier this year and haven't had a chance to wear yet! Alas. My secret hopes were in vain.

To be completely honest, I felt rather sad at this event since my dear friend Laura recently moved out of state and I felt her absence very keenly. I will admit I indulged in some self-pity and walked the lovely tree-carpeted paths quoting melancholy poetry to myself and feeling very brave and heroic as I put on a smiling face to the world lest anyone suspect my sad misfortunes of soul.

I just feel more and more out of place as David settles more into his role as assistant surgeon. We both research together and share information to make our impressions better. The more I do this the more I see that there really is no excuse for David to bring me and the children with him. The more I feel absolutely sure that my presence in a field hospital is absolutely NOT excusable, no matter how "family friendly" our unit may be. I don't like setting up our tent alongside the "hospital tent" as if surgeons just happily drug along their families wherever they went and had their wives and children conveniently encamped with them, where just outside my tent threshold I can behold piles of fake amputated limbs and a vast array of medical tools. It just would not have happened that way. I am really not sure where I fit in or even if I fit in at all in the mainstream reenacting community. I feel like I am holding David back from improving his impression. I ruin it just by being there. I wish I had a group of like minded females who would be willing to have their own, separate, civilian area and an impression completely removed from the lame one of "visiting" their husbands while they are in the field.

At least I had my little boys to keep me company - it is impossible to indulge in self pity very much when they are so active and so busy and require so much effort to keep up with!

And it really is a very delightful thing to have such a handsome husband. It makes the battle ever so much more interesting to watch.

The boys were thrilled with the horses.

All in all it was a lovely event and a very good meal was provided in the evening. A nice way to wrap up Civil War reeancting for this year. For more pictures, you can see my album here: Shadows of the Blue and Gray.



  1. I seem to hardly ever comment, but I love this post Sarah! I so enjoy seeing photos from reenactments and wish I could come to one your family and my family were at at the same time someday. Glad you enjoyed my post about penny rugs! yes it wonderful to get rid of wool scraps that we had no idea what to do with! :)

    I love your outfit as usual and your boys look adorable. I especially love the hats.

    In Christ,

  2. It must be very frustrating not to feel you have a (period) purpose when reenacting. I sometimes feel out of place with all the armour and weapons everywhere in camp, but at least it was a common practice in "my" period to bring the families...

    Still, you seem to have had had a nice time, you all looked beautiful as usual, and set of very nicely against the autumn colours. Malachi really was adorable in his little suit - more so I think because it contrasts so to him only just being in dresses :)

  3. I wish we lived closer to each other Sarah! You would love the type of events AGSAS does! I was in your very shoes many years ago. Frustrated with battle reenacments and camping out. It just felt so wrong. Then I joined a group that does events in houses and villages and settings completely appropriate to the period. Plus, I just know our kids would get along so nicely (and look adorable playing together)!

    If you have no progressive civilian groups around, I'd encourage you to take matters into your own hands. Find a few civilians who are like minded and start having your own fun! It does not have to be anything big - just a handful of you at an historic site or park...you do that with your family anyway...and seem to be very creative and adventerous when it comes to trying new things, new time periods, new experiences.

    I'll be making full sets of clothing for my kiddos over this winter. I've stretched their current garments as far as they can go...

    Jess Craig

  4. I wish I still lived in the Midwest, because I went to a lot of the events you go to. I was looking for the same thing! I know of a few ladies that are like minded, but none that travel as far south as you. If you and your family ever make it up to Boscobel p.m. me and I can put you in touch with a few (or maybe I'll even be back for that one). Good luck in your search for companions, I'm starting mine over again!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!