A Couple Photos…

I had a lovely weekend at Prado Park Civil War Re-enactment with my Civil War living history group “McGuire Home, Winchester, Virginia.” Unfortunately, though, I didn’t take a lot of photos, mostly because I didn’t want to be caught with a camera in my hand when I was portraying a young woman from 1863. šŸ˜‰ So my apologies for the lack of exciting photos…

Here’s a brief summary of the weekend for those who are interested.

I loved the location – camping on grass is especially nice. Our neighbors – Confederate White House – were delightful and we enjoyed visiting and making the “four yard journey” between Winchester and Richmond. Across the street, the Flying Horse Artillery had set up there picket lines, so we also had about 15 horses nearby and that was a lot of fun too! The coordinators of the event were very nice and friendly. There were quite a few spectators and we had many opportunities to share the story of the McGuire Family and the War in Winchester. Quite a few folks told us that we made history come alive and that makes me very happy! Church service was very enjoyable, and thank you Chaplain Steve for an encouraging message.

A big congrats to the units who won the prizes for authentic camps. “McGuires” will definitely be working for that award again next year. šŸ˜‰ Really enjoyed the US Division Field Hospital camp and presentation – you guys and ladies are doing a fabulous job and it’s been fun to meet and “work” with you.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

Overheard At A Re-enactment

A Military Camp at a Re-enactment

A Military Camp at a Re-enactment

You can hear the most amazing things at re-enactments if you stop and listen. Canvas tents and flies flapping in gusty wind. Horses whinnying for breakfast. Reveille. Drums. Cannons. Or the most amazing comments…

One of the best “overheard at a re-enactment” statements I’ve ever heard is this emphatic, without-a-doubt, super positive statement: (Ready, brace yourself, here it is…)


“They didn’t use bayonets in the Civil War.”

And I guess you neverĀ even watched the movie Gettysburg, did you? Well, I won’t send you a list of sources to check – instead watch this video. [WARNING: EXTREME SPOILERS –Ā  you may not want to watch if you haven’t seen the whole movie, see postscript note at end of this blog post]

Dear Re-enactment Spectator: if you don’t know, please ask. I’m confident somebody would be willing to answer your question! We’ve heard lots of questions, but most of us like to educate.Ā Come ask…

And now an invitation to bring your questions about civilians during the War Between the States, the war in Virginia, “Stonewall” Jackson, or other topics of interest to the “McGuire Home, Winchester, Virginia” on April 11-12, 2015 to the Prado Park Civil War Re-enactment. I believe Confederate White House will also be attending this events, so bring those hard to answer Southern questions too.

Hey, if we don’t know the answers, we’ll tell you…and I will never ever tell you that they did not use bayonets in the Civil War.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Okay, the disclaimer… Gettysburg is rated PG13 forĀ battle scenes and language. I am not endorsing this movie. However, if a “mild” war movie doesn’t bother you, it’s worth seeing…at least once…maybe twice…oh maybe we could watch it again.

The other warning – if you see the movie – you might have a new historical hero or two or three. Then pull out the history books and track what was real and what was slightly fictionalized.

Attending a Re-enactment (As a Spectator)

This coming weekend is the Civil War Re-enactment at Tom’s Farm in Corona, California. Here’s a link for more event info. By the way, “McGuire Home, Winchester, Virginia,” Living History GroupĀ is NOT encamping at this event.

A Military Camp at a Re-enactment

A Military Camp at a Re-enactment

Anyway, as I prepare to go on a research trip at this event, I thought I’d share my “packing” list and tips for attending a re-enactment as a spectator. (Now the packing list for when I go as a re-enactor looks very different – maybe I’ll share some of that next month…)

Here’s what I stuff in my trusty backpack when I’m doing a research trip at an event:

  • Water, Water, Water (it’s cheaper to carry it than buy it, believe me)
  • Lunch – I prefer peanut butter sandwich, apple, carrots, and a cookie or two (eating the carrots is optional…sometimes you should share with a horse, if the cavalryman gives permission)
  • Snack – never know how late you’re staying
  • Blanket or Towel – this is much nicer to sit on if you manage to get a “front row seat” at the battle or band concert
  • 1 or 2 Research Books (I usually take the ones with maps of the topics I’m exploring; it can be helpful for very in-depth discussions)
  • Camera – I usually take at least 50 photos during a battle and get only 1 or 2 good pictures (I either need a better camera, more skill, or those guys need to stop moving so quickly) One of the best photos from last year is at the end of this post.
  • Notepad – I usually carry this in my hand; I prefer a small size with a hard “backboard”Ā  Warning: if you choose to carry a notepad, be prepared for the “are you a reporter?” questions
  • Pens – have to have something to write with…and carry at least two
  • Event Schedule – I like to plan what I’m going to see and do throughout the whole day
  • Wallet – never know when you’re gonna find the book you need for research or the perfect gift at the sutlers’ tents (And sometimes it costs to attend the event!)
  • Cellphone – just in case you need to call 911 because a cannon started a fire (yes, I’ve seen it happen)

Other things you should not forget:

  • Directions – how to get to the event (it’s no fun to get lost and know that you’re missing the artillery demonstration that you really wanted to see)
  • Coffee or Tea – optional, but nice to have on the drive
  • Favorite CD – optional, but generally more encouraging than the radio news
  • Gallon of water – this is to wash the front and back windows when you’re ready to head home. Parking is often a dirt field and you may need to wash away the archaeological layers before leaving.

My simple advice for attending an event as a spectator is “You’re here to learn, not teach; so listen, and learn something new. Ask questions and don’t be a know-it-all.”

Happy learning adventures! See you in the field?

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Don’t forget to check the introduction to Civil War Shenandoah 1864. This coming Friday we’ll start the military campaign details. Leave a comment if you’re looking forward to this month’s topic…or if you’ve thought of something that’s not on my packing list!

Here's one of the best photos from last year (2013). Check back next week for my best photos of the 2014 Tom's Farm Civil War Re-enactment!

Here’s one of the best photos from last year (2013).