Civil War Reenactment - Past Participants

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Listen to what past participants experienced.

Click on the participant listed below to view their story.

Larry J. Wolfe - Past Participant

What did I like about the experience in the re-enactment?

  • The great amount of information shared by the re-enactors. They all have become somewhat experts in their respected fields, departments, or regiments and their need to share the information with people.
  • The actual preparations for the skirmish on Saturday. The drill and practice for battle.
  • Lastly above all were the campfire stories about what life was really like during the 1860's and how unknowing I was.

What I learned about the life of a soldier during this time.

  • That life was harder than one could ever imagine. No book could do it justice regarding the day-to-day experiences they faced
  • That so many men died of disease and dysentery over injuries from battles
  • That the north named battles after the closest body of water (Bull Run, Antietam, Pittsburg Landing, and Stones River) and the South named them after the nearest city or landmark (Manassas, Sharpsburg, Shiloh Church, and Murfeesboro)
  • That the wool clothes are HOT

What can I take to the classroom—?

  • This is the big one…My interest has been peaked just by the interaction with others re-enactors and the actual use of everyday items. I can only imagine how interested the kids will be with the hands on ideas and activities one can plan for them…One of the people in my company said history in school is boring but when re-enacting it you inspire yourself to learn what actually happened and why the results are as they were…I hope by having hands on items and knowledgeable speakers that the kids interest will also be peaked.

What I felt was the closest to reality to the war?

  • The idea of being "fresh fish" and walking into a group of men and citizens and try to connect with them so they allow you to become part of their regiment. You haven't a clue on who is responsible for what…and how daily life is carried out…and as a southern soldiers just as the war went on they utilized all men and boys in the army. I realized how scare and insecure young people must have felt seeing all the disease and destruction coming their way and the unknowing of what tomorrow held for them.

Would I reenact again?

  • I plan on it in Boscobel Wisconsin in August as one of the fighting men of Tennessee 17th Company K. This time for a day with my family there…should be interesting

Closing Thoughts

  • Our community of Waukon will be celebrating their 150 birthday next year and part of the celebration will be a living history demonstration form the past……..What a great way to learn history -- to bring it to them and experience it…I think I will make attendance mandatory for my elementary kids…

Steven Taillon - Commanding Officer at Boscobel, WI

Upon my arrival at Boscobel, Steve was already in camp and anxious to start the experience. Introductions were made and we proceeded to set up a tent for him. I supplied a uniform and it seemed to be a good fit. Steve was anxious to put it on and get into the right frame of mind for the weekend. Steve is the third student our unit has worked with in this program. I have been, and am, impressed with the enthusiasm shown by all three.
The balance of Friday consisted of campfire talk about the War of Northern Aggression (Civil War) and the life of a typical soldier. Steve alerted me that he needed to leave the area for a short while in the very early morning hours. I told him that would be fine and that the Provost Guard should not question him.

Steve received the rifle-musket and equipment Saturday morning. Our NCO's gave him some one-on-one drill. The unit drilled after that and Steve showed that he had paid attention to individual drill. He did very well. Steve drilled and took part in the battles both days. His effort and enthusiasm were commendable. Steve learned quickly and did not require much coaching thereafter, as have all the students. We had a very extensive battalion drill session Sunday, so he was able to see how company drill fits into the maneuvering of larger bodies of soldiers.  I was proud to have Mr. Taillon under my command.  I hope the camp activity and group discussions gave him a new appreciation for the period, and the life of the common soldier. Steve seemed to operate on the drill field and the battlefield with confidence and safety. We allowed him to carry a camera on the field. He did a great job of keeping it concealed and used it very discreetly, so as not to "spoil" the experience for other reenactors or spectators.

I would like to add my praise for a valuable program. It is a great resource in a period that unfortunately minimizes American history and heritage. The reduced time allotted to the Civil War in high schools is, in my opinion, a great injustice. The Civil War defined the nation as we know it today more that any other single event. This oversight needs to be corrected. Hopefully what we do as reenactors/living historians, and what this program does to expose educators to the importance of the subject, will reverse the trend.

Thank you for letting our unit take part in the program.

Sincerely and respectfully, I remain –
Your Obedient Servant
Geo. W. McDonald, Capt. CSA
Comm'ding, Co (K), 17th Regt Tennessee Volunteer Infantry
[Richard B. Pohorsky]

 

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