J.D.R. Hawkins

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

The Perils of Reenacting

As many a Civil War reenactor can attest, living history can be just that. Setting aside a weekend, away from offices, traffic, strip malls, and convenience stores, to camp out like soldiers did back in the 1860’s, can be a rude awakening for some.

On many occasions, weekend warriors have had to endure elements out of their element. In other words, they’ve had to leave the air conditioning to suffer through 105 degree heat while reenacting battles in wool uniforms. Most guys today just aren’t equipped to deal with marching 20 miles a day to take on the enemy in a twelve-hour battle like they did during the Civil War. It isn’t unusual for battle reenactments to take a break in order to bus out an ambulance and rescue some poor guy who has passed out from heat exhaustion.

Recently, another natural element effected the reenactors at Gettysburg. In July, five reenactors, including a pregnant woman, were taken to a local hospital. They weren’t hit by minie balls, shot, or shrapnel, but by lightning. The tent they were staying in was hit, and one of the occupants suffered second-degree burns. Fortunately, everyone was treated and released within a day, and the unborn baby was unharmed. All those involved say the event won’t deter them from participating in further reenactments. Now that’s dedication!

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