Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Every Labor Day weekend Huntington Beach CA puts on a weekend of fun with living history.  A whole mini city seems to pop up from the past for everyone to enjoy.

The highlight of each day is the battle that is reenacted between the North and the South.

If you have never made it to a Civil War reenactment, you must go.  It's like watching a movie being filmed right in front of you.

They dress in actual period clothes, have real guns, flags and speak like they are from that time long ago.

The sounds of the battle taking place sounds like you are stepping right into 1865 as the war was about to be over.

It is very loud and the men (and sometimes women) would get shot and fall down, they would move forward and back depending on who had the upper hand at the time.

The sky was filled with the smell and sight of smoke from the canons.

Once the battle is over, the men go back to their camps.  They have set up camps that they actually live in for the weekend.
Ol' Abe himself even showed up and gave a speech at the end of the war. 

To be honest, I didn't hang around to hear his speech.  But, I happened to be walking towards him and he was more then happy to stop and let me take his picture.  He didn't say a word to me though.  He just nodded his head when I thanked him.

Perhaps his mind was on the war and his upcoming speech.

There were several shops selling just about anything you could think of. 

As I was walking by this one, I felt like I was watching what it would have really been like back then.

They had uniforms for sale (yes both for the North and South).  I guess if anyone wanted to sign up to join right then, they would have gladly taken them to battle. 

There were hats waiting to be purchased by the next brave men to offer up his life for his Country.

There were cans of food (no not real - the cans were actually empty).

Bullets could be purchased.  Yes, these are actual bullets from the real Civil War. 

Dishes could be found and purchased.

I loved the dresses.  Each one was so pretty.  The colors were lovely.  I know, I should have let you seen the colors but then it wouldn't look like real photos from the Civil War.

While they sold the under garments for women, I found myself wondering if they would have really had these on display for everyone to see back then.  After all, is it really proper for men to see these things?

I loved when I turned around and saw these three women just chatting.  I'm sure this would have been a common sight back then.  Women talking about being worried over their men being at war, exchanging recipes or just gossiping about others.

There were hundreds of tents set up.  They were set up to show what camp would have looked like during the winter.

Also, when the men were allowed to have their wife and children come to visit them. 

They would have been set up to still hold down their jobs and do their duty.  A simple desk out front and their guns ready in case they should need them in a hurry.

I found this place to be sort of funny.  Back then one person often held several job titles.  You can see this guy was the Notary, Legal Council and also did embalming.  Oh yes, he also sold games and whiskey and fine ales. 

I really enjoyed the day here.  However, the parts I loved the most was when I would be walking and notice a little scene going on that may or may not have been planned for us to see. 

Like these two ladies just sitting in camp talking to each other.  For some reason it seemed more real to me.  Almost as if I had stumbled upon a camp that I should not have been walking through.

One thing I did learn was how important the ladies who did the laundry were.  It took almost a full week to wash a uniform.  They had to scrub them, soak them to get stains out, boil them to get the lice and bugs off, dry them, iron them and so on.  Each part took hours to do.

The women were so greatly needed that they were paid very well.  In fact they got paid almost as much as the officers.  It was back breaking work but because it was paid so well, many women sought after jobs like this.

Also, many women wanted to take up arms and fight along side the men.  This of course, was not legal.  However, some women cut their hair and put the uniforms on and gave a male name.  No one was asking questions because every body they could get they needed.  So, several women died and several women helped both sides fight in the Civil War.

I love to learn about history and US History is something I really love.  Funny because in High School I hated it more then any other subject.

What about you?  Do you enjoy learning about the history of your country?


Unknown said...

Oh my I absolutely love this post and the pictures are amazing! I hope to see it live one day!

Michelle said...

Wow I have always wanted to attend a re~enactment. Your pictures are really stunning!!! Love the dresses! My nieces competition is in Portugese Bend in Palos Verdes...although next month I'll be staying with my mother in Laguna! We need to meet! :). This trip I'm staying with my sister who lives in Palos Verdes.

the old white house said...

That is so cool! We went way up north here in MI. one year and went to an old fort. They had a smal reenactment,and we loved it. I would like to take our two who were too small to one so they can see this. Your pictures are amazing! They look like vintage snapshots... love them! Thanks for sharing! t. xoxoxo

GardenOfDaisies said...

It must have been really cool to see the dresses!!