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Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Fog of Civil War Re-enacting

I grew up in Pittsburgh and have fond memories of my childhood, playing in the woods, building forts, raising armies and attacking other neighborhood clans. I was a proponent of the frontal assault, which was very difficult to pull off, as most young kids prefer a more guerilla style of fighting. Our choice weapon? The crabapple, although we were not averse to small stones and these mysterious walnut/lemon things that grew in a remote location deep in the forest.

Anyway, when I was around 11-12, I became very interested in the Civil War. It was during this time that my frontal assault tactics were most feverish. However, going on raids with my neighborhood friends was not enough to quell my Civil War aspirations. Therefore, when I got home from school, I would go into my parent's closet and put together a uniform, sometimes consisting of a pair of black leather 'knee' boots that my mother had, one of my dad's white dress shirts, and also one of his navy-blue blazers. That was when I wanted to be a Union officer. Sometimes I wanted to be a Confederate private, in which case my uniform was more grubby, and sometimes I didn't even wear shoes to mimic the lack of supplies suffered by Southern troops.

Then I would go into our backyard, where there was a small patch of woods, and station myself at a small outpost. I built a small wall using firewood and tree branches, and sometimes I pretended as if I were defending part of the wall along Cemetery Ridge when the Confederates made their famous charge at Gettysburg. That was when I was pretending to be a Union officer. If I were a Confederate private, perhaps I was defending part of the denfenses at the battle of Fredericksburg.

Anyway, what I was doing was viewable by this home where there lived 2 young boys, both very pudgy and dyspeptic. Often, when I was no longer at my station, they would sneak over and wreck my wall. I know it was them because sometimes they would be in their backyard playing and they would spot me. I would usually duck behind my wall and pretend like they were enemy scouts. These were very intense times and I often imagined raiding their home for food and other supplies in retaliation, although for some reason that never came to fruition.

So here are some pictures, as I am home in Pittsburgh this weekend and decided to document my past...

Heading to the battlefield...

The forest where my re-enactments took place

The remnants of the 'the wall,' where I gave my life for the Union and Confederacy many, many times

The majestic sky after a ferocious battle...