“Many of those boys in each company were recruited from the same town or neighboring towns. They all knew each other or at lest they knew each other’s family. So if one of them was a coward, news of his cowardice went back home on the next wagon-load of mail.” — Civil War re-enactor, responding to question about the courage it took to march into battle.
Yesterday morning, I drove up to Fort Richardson State Park, on the south edge of Jacksboro, about 60 miles north of Fort Worth, Texas. I spent a few hours walking amongst re-enactors as they demonstrated various frontier crafts and armaments. There were ladies sewing and blacksmiths smithing, and a gunfight or two broke out. Among the “soldiers”, most wore Union blue, and some wore Confederate gray. And there was one British Seargent Major– when I said “Yes sir” to him, he replied, “No! Not sir! Address me as Seargent Major, because I have the power to destroy both body and soul!” Yes, uh… Seargent Major! The most colorful sight and impressive sound were the booming of cannon and mortar, and the rattling of an 1866 model Gatling gun. This was my first visit ever to a re-enactor event. I am sure that most re-enactors are sincerely trying to present “living history”, and I appreaciate their conscientious and meticulous work. But, honestly, I felt a bit uneasy when I heard a few comments made by a few re-enactors– comments that made me wonder whether they are acting history or using this venue to vent their own sentiments about government and race relations. It is worth noting that I saw only one African-American re-enactor. For you photo techies, I used my D700 with 35mm lens and UV filter. I edited my photos to fit the general mood of the event, using Picassa 3. The actions I used included vignette, infrared and Cinemascope.