Today’s Chattanooga Times Free Press (paid subscription required, alas) has an article focusing on baby boomers who happily don replica 1860s clothing and trot out to reenact Civil War battles. The piece contains the usual the-generation-following-ours-has-gone-to-hell fulmination–one 61-year old gent is quoted as complaining that “some children today aren’t even familiar with Robert E. Lee or Davy Crockett.”
Uh, which side did Crockett fight on, grandpa?
These interpreters of history can show up with perfect looking uniforms, weapons, and everything else, but their aging and well-fed bodies give them away. According to historian Bell I. Wiley, “Most soldiers were between the ages of 18 and 39 with an average age just under 26.” And they weighed about 143 pounds.
You can’t blame the old boys (and girls) for wanting to get into the Civil War act. Just as merchants–called suttlers back then–followed various armies in the War, now various outfitters will cheerfully separate the reenactor from his money. One of the best to visit is the Blockade Runner in Wartrace–perfect town name for this business–south of Nashville near Bell Buckle. This place will fit you out as a Union or Confederate or woman of the time. Large sizes happily accommodated.