47 years ago in early July, I invited a friend over for the 4th of July. He said he couldn’t make it because he was going to a Civil War reenactment. I asked him, “What’s that?” He explained that we would recreate a Civil War battle. I thought that sounded like lots of fun, so I asked him if I could go. He said he would ask his friends if they had things to loan to me for the day.
With an old Stetson hat, the wool pants that we wore in military school, and a white shirt, we headed up to Gettysburg to participate in a reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg, held on the 110th anniversary of the battle. Yes, do the math, that’s 1973.
This started the passion in me for living history, which still continues now on the 47th anniversary of my start in reenacting.
For you youngsters, we used original weapons and original leather equipment. One of the officers had an original Confederate major’s coat which he wore. Because we wore some woolen clothing, we were considered “authentic”.
Some months later, I was shopping in a bookstore (wow, that sounds dated), and saw this set of books by Bruce Catton. Then I took a good look at the box. On the cover, I recognized that person with the white sleeve in the center of the picture as my friend who had invited me to the event. And there, two hats to the right, holding that short Enfield musketoon, is me. I was immortalized in print in my first reenactment.
Of course I had to buy the set. As you can see, I still have it. Take a good look at that picture. It was taken in July of 1973.