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Quick question about Civil War re-enactments in USA!


#1

Hey peeps,

Just curious where the hot-spots are for these and if they’re still popular.

I’m just fact-checking some stuff for the new Kick-Ass series launching late Summer and curious if these are a big thing specifically in New Mexico. I found some photographs of them in the area and they seem to be very small gatherings, but still existing in some form around those parts.

Also, what’s the personality type of the people who take part in these things? What kind if people are they and what’s the general preconception of them?

Best,
MM


#2

As I understand it, it’s usually just limited to when groups of Avengers cosplayers get together at cons.


#3

I can’t say they’re popular, but the folks who are into it are fanatical. It’s mostly in the South and East where the CW took place.

The general preconception is at best they’re really into history and dedicated to preserving the personal stories of soldiers who fought on each side. At worst they’re weirdos you don’t want any more than an acquaintanceship with.
I think they’re thought of as how comics fans were before superheroes became cool, in that it’s an odd hobby, confined to a small group.


#4

Try Michael Molcher - 2000AD/Rebellion’s PR/Marketing guru and all-round knowledgeable beardy Sealed Knot member.


#5

Will’s pretty spot on. They’re a bit like comic fans for a very specific part of US history and tend to be more prominent in the South. Though there is an odd pocket of them in Northeast Ohio which is very much in the North. I have a friend from the area who used to do reenactments as a Confederate soldier. He was an extra in Gettysburg.

New Mexico would be an odd spot as they didn’t become a state until well after the Civil War. A lot of the grudges from the war did get carried out West after the war though.

Similar historical re-enactment type things do happen in other areas though. My hometown is near the Mississippi River. So there tend to be a lot of Redezvous which are set more doing the era of French settlement of that area and include a lot of Native American dress along with French trappers.

I’m not sure what would be prominent in New Mexico. Nearby in Texas, the Alamo battle reenactments are supposedly a big deal.


#6

I lived in New Mexico for years and worked in journalism there if you have any regional questions.

There are occasional Civil War recreations, often enough that you could include them in your book and stay accurate, although it’s not as popular as it would be in the south or Gettysburg or wherever. Glorieta is a battle in NM that gets a recreation every year or so, if you Google it you’ll get lots of inspiration.


#7

I never would have thought NM had a part in the Civil War. Though reading down through the Wikipedia article, you’re right. So weird.

New Mexico played a role in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War. Both Confederate and Union governments claimed ownership and territorial rights over New Mexico Territory. In 1861, the Confederacy claimed the southern tract as its own Arizona Territory and waged the ambitious New Mexico Campaign in an attempt to control the American Southwest and open up access to Union California. Confederate power in the New Mexico Territory was effectively broken after the Battle of Glorieta Pass in 1862. However, the Confederate territorial government continued to operate out of Texas, and Confederate troops marched under the Arizona flag until the end of the war. Additionally, more than 8,000 troops from New Mexico Territory served the Union.[32]


#8

I’d like to add that CW reenactments aren’t popular in the South, but popular in the areas near battle sights. And there seems to be an equal amount of folks who want to be on both sides and to tell the story of the battle accurately. It’s not some big racist gathering or anything like that. I’ve known several folks who are really into it from the North and South and they’re history buffs, not longing for some misguided view of the Confederacy. Some are for sure, but not the majority.


#9

Thanks very much, guys. Glorieta is the one I was planning to do in the book given the geography.

Robert B, any chance you could pass your email along to a mod?

Again, thanks very much to all you kind folks!

MM


#10

Here in Naperville they have a Civil War days celebration. There’s of old buildings in called the Naper Settlement (some of them are from all the way back in the 1800’s - ooh!) and around the 4th about a hundred people gear up for a big battle. To do so they camp out for 3 days living just as Civil War soldiers would have. No-one washes, or eats right, no cell phones. You can walk by their tents and see them looking completely miserable. It’s always hot as balls too, so it’s almost a religious torture.

Still, fun family day out and all that.


#11

See? Just like comics fans at every comics convention.


#12

No Civil War reenactments around, but just north there are yearly Highland Games, should ye hae the urge to toss a caber.


#13

I took part in a Sealed Knot event once when I was a teenager. They are just mainly middle aged nerds. We knew them through wargames or role playing.

I think the US Civil War stuff has a different context though to the British ones due to the politics of it all.


#14

Reenactors are probably akin to the Klingon cosplayers (big in the '90s) or the Stormtrooper cosplayers (still big, I assume), who are good for showing up for events and generally representing their hobbies. You can find them anywhere. I know in Colorado I had a guy with the full Civil War beard come into the bookstore where I worked, and I asked him because it seemed obvious, just to confirm. There’s also a Joshua Chamberlain cosplayer here in Maine who’s been doing it for years. I saw him host a Civil War concert a few years back. (If you have no idea who Joshua Chamberlain is, you’re not only insulting Mainers but the memory of the movie Gettysburg and thus Jeff Daniels, too. You monster!) I know that the American Revolution is big in Boston, at least, and the bicentennial saw the War of 1812 get some noticeable reenactment love.


#15

It was a regular activity for some college friends’ son and his friends in rural central Louisiana. He just turned 18, and he definitely did it through High School. His mother would post tons of pictures from their events.