Soldiering in Another Century

What did he say?

Andy and Jack have spent a lot of weekends "in the field." Since hobby purists frown on women turning out in uniform and many of them even frown on women "in camp," I got to stay home and look after the farm while the guys went out, either to defend my honor as a Southern Woman, or to Preserve the Union.

Either way, I got the better of the deal.

They would set out on Friday afternoons and come home sometime on Sunday, having spent the time between eating hardtack and unidentifiable pieces of meat, often cured meat and whatever vegetables might be in season at the time, sleeping on groundcloths or standing guard all night, and marching for hours in the sun. On Sunday night they would come home exhausted and wanting nothing more than a shower, some decent food, and a comfortable bed. Sometimes chigger and tick infestations would be involved. (The most effective way to deal with chiggers is a thorough dousing with turpentine and enduring the aftermath--it's less likely to leave scars.)

The photo above notwithstanding, Jack prides himself on the authenticity of his impression, whether Federal:

federal impression federal impression

or Confederate:

confederate impression confederate impression

Jack is a bugler for the Chesapeake Volunteer Guard, a dual-impression unit, and he also goes out in the field as a musician and infantryman for the 23rd Virginia, the Princess Anne Grey's (Lee's Sharpshooters), and in general any event he can fit into his schedule. He's a member of a Civil War era band that also has a dual impression. When they're not the Federal City Brass Band, they're the 26th North Carolina. They play on original instruments (Jack's is a B-flat cornet), have recorded several cd's and are mostly professional musicians who play for enjoyment and as living historians. Jack is currently their youngest player. These pictures show him in both the Federal and Confederate impressions.

federal city brass band uniform 26th north carolina band uniform

Andy and Jack have been on just about every battlefield in Virginia and nearby states, but pictures of Andy are scarce because he usually served as photographer.

pickett's charge
With the 26th North Carolina Band at Gettysburg, Pickett's Charge and the High Tide

Increasingly, Jack has been going on his own, or with his friends.

suffolk ebufu
Suffolk Tactical, Spring 2009

Now that Jack has his driver's license, Andy can spend more weekends working at home. And between Governor's School for Visual and Performing Arts and the demands of Spotswood High School's Marching Band rehearsals, Jack hasn't been able to go to very many reenacting events this year. He's trying to make every event he can, and make the most of his hyper-authentic impression (only at home does he wear the sunglasses.)

too cool for school

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