(Re)Living the Civil War

As you no doubt well know, there are things in life that are incredibly important that don’t relate to triathlon, running, swimming, biking, or endurance sports in general.  For me, my family ranks right up there.

I’ve written before about my three kids and how much they mean to me.  One of my favorite things to do is go camping with my youngest daughter.  See, we’ve had a daddy-daughter camping group for about five years or so now.  We typically camp four or five times each winter (which if you’ve ever been to Florida in the summer, you’ll know that the winter is the perfect time for camping….not July).  Our camping excursions have taken us canoeing on many of the spring-fed rivers in our corner of the state.  We’ve found fossilized starfish.  We’ve gone shell “hunting”.  We’ve hiked.  We toured some underground caverns.  Tremendously fun stuff.

This past weekend, we camped at Fort Clinch State Park.  This park is at the very northeast tip of Florida (you can literally see Georgia across the water), and is home to a Civil War era fort.  We’ve camped here before, but this was the first time that the fort was teaming with Civil War reenactors. 

We had an awesome time learning about what life was like in the 1860’s.  We saw some incredible sights (for instance, a dentist chair where the patient had to self-power the drill), learned about “hard tack” and how soldiers had to eat that.  We actually made horseshoes in the blacksmith shop.  We learned what it means to “sleep tight”.  The girls got admonished for having Jezebel fingers (painted nails) and for not wearing dresses that went from neck to ankle.  We learned that the song “Dixie” wasn’t just a “Southern” song – but that it was played at Lincoln’s inaguration too.

That, and I took a bunch of pictures too.  A few of them are below.

If you’ve never seen a reenactment before, I encourage you to seek one out.  The men and women who do this are more than just playing “dress-up” or “soldier” for a weekend.  They are reliving history.  They are universally highly interested in the time period they represent.  Quite frankly, they are fountains of knowledge and will help future generations remember what life was like back when our country was young (or adolescent).  I suspect that there are more reenactors on the east coast of the US than in other parts – just because that’s where the majority of Revolutionary War and Civil War battles took place, but you can probably find them no matter where you live.

And by the way, sleeping in a tent can be a really centering experience!

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In this picture, an adult fifer was teaching a child how to play.  I can only imagine this scene repeated 1000 times back in the day.

In this picture, an adult fifer was teaching a child how to play. I can only imagine this scene repeated 1000 times back in the day.

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No clue who this guy was, but he looked like he was having so much fun - sitting back & fishin'

No clue who this guy was, but he looked like he was having so much fun – sitting back & fishin’

Looking out a jetty.  I love the textures, the green algae and the birds out at the end.

Looking out a jetty. I love the textures, the green algae and the birds out at the end.

This is my crazy daughter.  I don't know if she was about to blow out the stick or if she was amazed that it was still burning.  Either way, her expression cracked me up.

This is my crazy daughter. I don’t know if she was about to blow out the stick or if she was amazed that it was still burning. Either way, her expression cracked me up.

We got to see this submarine as it was heading out into the Atlantic from Kings Bay Naval Station.  I had no idea how BIG these things were.  Very cool to see.

We got to see this submarine as it was heading out into the Atlantic from Kings Bay Naval Station. I had no idea how BIG these things were. Very cool to see.

The start of a beautiful sunset, looking over Cumberland Island, GA.

The start of a beautiful sunset, looking over Cumberland Island, GA.

The last vestiges of light...

The last vestiges of light…

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One thought on “(Re)Living the Civil War

  1. I am a histiry nerd, that trip looks like so much fun,

    I been on a sub once, it am totally amazed how they can navigate those with such precision, but yet, can not “technically” see where they are going

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