Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Gift of Reenactment.....

by Deanna

I had a most delightful weekend this past Saturday and Sunday.  I had been asked to photograph the Civil War Days at Naper Settlement in my home town of Naperville, IL.  Even if the invitation had not been extended I would have attended just for the fun of photographing reenactors in action.  A reenactor is defined as one who participates in reenactments of historical events. Now you know. Being a "staff photographer" (how much fun is that??!!) I was able to wander the grounds and capture as many faces, costumes, and battlefield scenes from the Civil War to my heart's content.  I will pre-warn you, this post is heavily loaded with pictures.  Umm, probably should not use the term heavily loaded during this time of unrest in our country during the 1860's, nor should I use the term, "I want a shot of you."  I made that mistake while walking with President Abe Lincoln as he firmly reminded me "do not use the term shot or shoot." (all in fun)

Naper Settlement is transformed into a Civil War encampment where visitors can meet famous figures of the past and experience firsthand a turbulent time period in our nation’s history. Hundreds of reenactors participate, staging a battle complete with raging cannons and marching infantry. 

Below President Lincoln and Jefferson Davis (the President of the Confederate States during the Civil War 1861-1865) bantering on the porch.


Lincoln this time with Harriet Tubman (you will see her shortly on the new $20 bills.


The authenticity of the clothing, hats, belts, shoes, and even eye glasses were true to the times.  One gentleman told me he bought the original 1860's glasses and then had his optometrist place his prescription in them.  They don't skimp on any details. The men all seemed to have beards and/or long hair.


Don't you love the old pipe??





I just love taking pictures of people who are unaware that they are being photographed.  This experience was akin to street photography but the reenactors were quite cognizant that they were being shot.....oh no, I used that no no word.

Ulysses S. Grant posed for me.  Being a Union military hero during the Civil War and then serving 2 terms as President of the United States he most certainly deserves a regal pose (cigar and all).


There were women in their long dresses and bonnets.


Couples dressed in their finery....



And this dandy with his top hat, cigar, weskit (that might be just a hair too tight) and a pocket watch.


There were even children wearing their cute frocks with pinafores.



The soldiers....all wearing wool jackets and pants (temps were warm, sweat was dripping).




And then the battle, you didn't know who would win this skirmish, entitled the Battle of Naperville until the very end.  It appeared the Union was winning, but then the Confederates made a bold move forward to victory.





What a difficult time this was in the history of the US.  An estimated 620,000 men were casualties during the Civil War, neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother.  These dedicated reenactors keep this part of history alive, calling on us to remember this tragic and desperate time.

6 comments:

Dotti said...

These are wonderful pictures (as opposed to 'shots'), Deanna! We have an annual reenactment nearby of the Battle of Perryville, which really determined whether Kentucky remained in Union hands or tipped to the Confederates. I did take photos one year but not with a 'press pass'. What amazed me most were: 1) the noise of the cannons and battles; 2) the tent city, complete with places to buy supplies and uniform pieces, etc., and 3), the re-enactors themselves. They literally stay in character throughout the whole of the weekend, even in restaurants! Quite fun and something everybody should witness at least once. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with us today!

Cathy H. said...

Wow! These images are simply amazing! I feel like I've been transported back in time! I've never been to a reenactment, but have always wanted to! This post makes me want to even more.

Susan said...

Such an amazing weekend you must have had! The reenactment photos are outstanding and a time in history that we should never forget! Thanks for sharing your weekend and photos!

terriporter said...

Oh, what fun! I've never been to a reenactment but I feel as if I was there seeing these photos. There was one Civil War battle fought in Arizona and it was in Picacho Peak on the way down to Tucson but I'm not sure if they ever have reenactments there. You have such a gift for "shooting" people! You somehow capture their personalities in every "shot". And this must have been so much fun for you with all the various personalities to capture. Love them all!

Carol said...

Great portraits!

Anita Johnson said...

Very cool. They do renactments at our fort Cushing. Thank you for your prayers too. Glad you liked the sermon by A Begg. You were prayed for too today.👍💕😃

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