"Gentlemen, it is to be war."

Main battles picked for 150th anniversary observance of the War Between the States/American Civil War.

A mite late for Lee-Jackson Day, but the American Civil War re-enactor groups' leaders have decided which battle re-enactments will be endorsed. Meeting in Chickamauga, Georgia, members of the Civil War 150th National Leadership Convention representing 12,000 re-enactors voted for the following battle observances:


First Manassas/Bull Run -- Virginia

Shiloh -- Tennessee


Second Manassas/Bull Run -- Virginia

Vicksburg -- Mississippi


Gettysburg -- Pennsylvania

Chickamauga -- Georgia


The Wilderness -- Virginia

Atlanta -- Georgia


Bentonville -- North Carolina

Appomattox Court House -- Virginia

I used to take part in re-enacting back when I could move around better. I was a private in a Virginia Volunteer Infantry company or a Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry company (depending on which side was needed more--Federals outnumbered four to one by Confederates is just silly). After a while, I got old and tired and my case of Civil War bloat was just too embarrassing [see note]. Now adays, on those rare occasions I can get outside to attend a re-enactment, I stand on the sidelines with the other gawkers and dream. If I can manage it, I plan to see the sesquicentennial through as I did the centennial, though I admit the bicentennial might possibly be a bit of a stretch.

Note: Civil War Bloat.

Civil War bloat is a condition in which the re-enactor appears to has been dead in the sun for three days during the hot summer of 1863 while still standing up. It is brought on by age, a lack of regular exercise, and a wife who is far too good a cook. It is especially weird looking when the affected soldier is dressed in gray or butternut (putting the lie to the hard times in the South). The overly common amount of gray hair (if any) that often accompanies it also calls into question the fact that the men on both sides normally ranged in age from 16 to 35. This condition effects not only Civil War re-enactors, but those of many other periods. I've noted it at Alesia, Waterloo, Rorke's Drift, the Somme, and Normandy. The problem is old guys are the ones who have the bucks to shell out $600 for their wool trousseau (uniform, equipment, and rifle musket) and the time to burn on summer weekends out in the middle of nowhere (the young guys seem rather more intent on chasing girls for some reason).

Occasionally though, one does run across a unit of young, dirty, sweaty, ragged, skinny men in gray or blue and one realizes he is looking at his own great-great grandfather.

22 January 2010: Feast of St. Brithward of Ramsbury. Ashantis defeat British on Gold Coast 1824, Battles of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift 1879, Commonwealth forces capture Tobruk from Italians 1941, Anzio landings 1944.

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