After seeing all of my family’s outfits from the 1860s, you may be wondering where we wear all these things. We are very fortunate to have an incredible reenacting group in Arizona and there are some great Civil War events being put on by We Make History (WMH) in the coming months! (all ‘block quotes’ are taken directly from the WMH website and its sister sites)
March 13th Mayer, Arizona
The Battle of Poland Junction
An exciting day of Civil War living history for our friends in Yavapai County and beyond.
March 27th Mesa, Arizona
The Civil War Ball
Our 10th annual!
April 10th Payson, Arizona
The Battle of Payson
High drama and excitement as Payson is caught at the center of the Civil War!
Both the Poland Junction event and the Payson event are presented FREE OF CHARGE to reenactor and spectator alike! Passes for the ball cost $25 for adults and $20 for under age 21 if you reserve them before March 22
Payson is an absolutely phenomenal event (and did I mention free?). I attended last year and it was well worth the extra preparation and travel.
“What if PAYSON had been at the Crossroads of the Grand Drama of the American Civil War?”
The 1st Minnesota camped over a hill out of sight of the “town of Payson” which was occupied by the 1st Virginia. Early in the day the 1st Minnesota invaded and captured the town, sending the Confederates who were not dead or captured over the hill. Later in the day the 1st Virginia rallied and recaptured the town, but not without loss of life.
As for the Civilians, our mayor strove to keep the peace, refusing to give in to either side. The women and children tried to live life normally, sewing, reading, discussing fashions and hairstyles, playing ‘graces’ and eating their meals. During battles, they sought protection inside houses, or huddled together in alleys. No one was hurt, thanks to the careful adults and obedient children.
We “put the acting back into reenacting”.
Some very fun pictures of the event last year can be found here
This event is somewhat scripted, with little things happening in different areas. One of these included a young confederate with a flag, her aunt with a pistol and a very unhappy group of Yankees.
I have been a part of We Make History for 3 years. Mr. Scott Hinkle, who heads up WMH, is a christian and homeschool father of three girls. many of the participants are also christians and homeschoolers.
We Make History is an educational enterprise devoted to bringing history to life in the context of a creative, interactive, inspirational and family friendly environment
I am a member of the 1st Virginia Infantry, the Confederate branch of WMH’s American Civil War reenacting group. Recently, they have added the 1st Minnesota (Union) as well as the 2nd Virginia (Confederate) infantries. There are both civilians and soldiers in each group. I have been studying the mid-1860s in depth for 4 years, particularly my ancestors’ part in it (they were confederate), the fashions of the era and life in the South. Don’t feel like you have to know a lot to join, though! Much of what I have learned I have picked up “on the field” and many participants know very little about the era when they join WMH.
Joining does involve a commitment to…a gradual process of gaining the ability to dress, portray and experience the times…
For more information about joining see this page of WMH’s site.
No costume? No problem!
We do have our own stock of uniforms, equipment and accoutrements which allows us to train and involve a number of ‘new recruits’ at any given time.
Also keep in mind that I can draft a custom pattern for a woman or child, just as would have been done in that era. Then I, or another seamstress could use it to create a customized outfit. See what I’ve sewn from this era in the past in my portfolio
If you aren’t interested in being a part of the action, please consider coming as a spectator. Watching history unfold before your eyes has so much more of an impact than reading a textbook!