J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Forty-Five Lincolns

Anyone who has ever attended a reenactment knows that famous Civil War celebrities are usually in attendance. These include generals that participated in the particular battle that is being recreated, such as General Robert E. Lee, General Stonewall Jackson, General U.S. Grant, and General J.E.B. Stuart, to name a few. Sometimes characters who weren’t present at that particular battle show up anyway, and sometimes, the characters’ wives attend, too. Presidents also show up, namely President Jefferson Davis and President Abraham Lincoln.

Reenactors travel all over the country to different events, studying their characters in depth to effectively and accurately represent them. Besides reenactments, they attend conventions, book signings, school assemblies, and any other opportunities that present themselves, giving the actors a chance to share their passion for the celebrity they portray.

Needless to say, there are many who represent the same character. Just like there are hundreds of Elvis’s thriving in Las Vegas, so too, are dozens of Robert E. Lee’s, General Sherman’s, and Stonewall Jackson’s lurking around. Some even hold annual conventions that give them the opportunity to hone their craft, and share insights as to specific qualities and quirks of their characters.

This year, 45 Lincolns descended on Greeneville, Tennessee for their national convention. Their meeting place was near the home of Andrew Johnson, who was Lincoln’s running mate in 1864, and who became president the following year, when Lincoln was assassinated. General John Hunt Morgan, C.S.A., was killed by Union soldiers in the town as well. The impressionists ranged in age, the youngest being 36 years old, and came from all over the country. Several Mary Todd Lincoln’s also attended. The reenactors are members of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, which lists 124 Abraham’s, 34 Mary Todd’s, and 18 teams of Abraham and Mary Todd combined. These specific impressionists exist in 34 states.

More info: http://www.lincolnpresenters.net/

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