Friday, September 29, 2017

The Civil War Comes to Greenmead 2017

With all of the discourse going on throughout the country right now with flags, monuments, and other concerns in historical preservation, I am taking in as many reenactments as I possibly can because I need to surround myself with my passion for the past and celebrate & teach the many differing aspects of our country's history to do my part, no matter how small, to help ensure its survival. In fact, I've spent so much time this year wearing period clothing that it seems I am reenacting the present and living in the past. And the reenacting season is still no where close to being over, for there are a few more events, including harvest time, the Christmas Season, and even dressing period on my own and visiting historic places.
The latest one I participated in was a Civil War reenactment that occurred at Greenmead Historical Village in Livonia (Michigan) known as Guns 'n' Gowns. This is a smaller, more relaxed event, giving plenty of opportunity for friends to visit and even have time for some good conversation to boot!
I took a few pictures, but my friends from B&K Photography took some amazing ones, a few which I included in the mix here. Between us we pretty much documented the event:
Just as we thought we were going to have the perfect fall weather, summer decided to rear its ugly head with record high temps and humidity. Well, at least it looked like early autumn!

The civilian camps of the 4th Michigan, one of the participating units.

Here we go with yours truly and my friend Mike.'s late September and yet I am wearing my summer clothes. Why? Because we in the upper Midwest were in the middle of a record-breaking heatwave, and we endured 90+ degree temperatures with high humidity for over a week, something we're not quite used to this time of year. 
Photo courtesy of B & K Photography

Jillian reenacts multiple time periods. Besides the 1860s, you may find her floating around the 1940s and, quite possibly, in some future past event, in the 1770s.

Of course, give a girl a sword and one never knows what might happen!

Here is my son Miles. 
His depiction of a more rural country boy is spot on.
Photo courtesy of B & K Photography

Pama really enjoys the more quiet aspects of 1860s reenacting. 
It's the camping, visiting, and the opportunity to work on a few 
sewing projects that makes her happiest. 

Doc Turlo is usually found with a knife or saw in his hands, 
ready to amputate some poor soul's limb after being wounded in battle. 
But he is also a very proud grandfather...

Some of the ladies (and one of the gentlemen) of the 17th Michigan - the host unit of Guns & Gowns. 

A hand-held drone took this picture of Jillian.
Uh, no. It was my camera with a little help from my out-stretched hands!

Greenmead is a wonderfully picturesque little historical village...
...and was purchased by the City of Livonia in 1976, at the height of the Bicentennial celebrations. This 95-acre parksite was the 1820's homestead of Michigan pioneer, Joshua Simmons. It includes the original farm complex as well as a number of additional buildings to make up the Historical Village.
Not unlike other open-air musuems, such as Greenfield Village, Greenmead was established to protect and preserve several locally significant structures that would had been lost to development at their original locations.
One day soon I may revisit Greenmead without reenactors and tents present and take photos of each structures for a future posting.

The military had a very authentic-looking camp, and with the period background, it was very impressive.

Some of the men slept in their tents while others slept 'neath the night sky.

Now, what would a Civil War reenactment be without a battle?
Now for the "guns" part of 'Guns n Gowns'

Even with the scorching heat, the military still formed up to give the visitors what they came to see: the firing of muskets and the smell of black powder.
Photo courtesy of B & K Photography

There was also the BOOM of cannon fire.
Photo courtesy of B & K Photography

As unpopular as it is today, we even had Confederate soldiers.
I am hoping we will not see the day when reenactments are banned because of political correctness.

With the hottest weather of the year occurring during the first few days of autumn, it didn't take long for the flesh to fall off the rotting corpses:

Ah, but my son, Rob, made it unscathed!
He takes his position in this reenacting hobby pretty seriously, though he does have a lot of fun with it. 
When it comes to history (and music!), he's his father's son!
Photo courtesy of B & K Photography

The scene here really seems to have an 'Antietam' feel to it, don't you think?
I suppose if you can't make it to Maryland. we'll bring Maryland to Michigan!

Normally, fall is my favorite time of year to reenact, for the trees are turning beautiful colors, the heavy clouds and the long shadows tells us the sun is heading south, and there is a nip - a bite - in the air.
Unfortunately, not at this reenactment.
We had a late summer/early autumn heatwave.
And I despised it, for it gave "aren't you hot in all those clothes?" an entirely new meaning.
But, no matter the weather, I always try to make the best of it and enjoy my time in the past, even through the awful heat and humidity (ugghh!).
Thank you to the members of the 17th Michigan, especially Nick & Stephanie Miner, in helping to keep the past alive at such a tough time in American historical presentation.
Living History can prevail.

Until next time, see you in time.

To reach B&K Photography, click HERE

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1 comment:

Julia Ergane said...

My husband and I just made it back to Connecticut after going to four Civil War battlefields to honour our Union dead and Appomattox (it also was one of the battlefields as well as the site of Lee's surrender).
My impressions at all these battlefields has been immense (Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Appomattox). We did drive by a few others as well. Some of my husband's ancestors and relatives immigrated to the United States in the 1840s during the Irish Famine. Some fought with the Brigade at Antietam and Fredericksburg. For me, Bloody Lane at Antietam and the monument to those brave men brought more than one tear to my eyes. My husband, libating the dead at Marye's Heights, did the same.
I never felt more the truth that the Confederate dead will never have a peaceful rest. They fought for evil whether they knew it or not. Ignorance is not an excuse. There was no "Northern aggression." South Carolina bombarded Fort Sumter. It was Treason and those who fought for it were traitors. It may seem romantic now; but, do not ever fool yourself. The North also had to learn important ethical lessons about the immorality of Greed.