21 st Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Co. H
April 2011 www.21stmichigan.org Volume 6 Issue 4
from the President,
My Second Family
You know, of all the different hobbies I'm involved with, this one involves some of the best people I've ever known.
We all have people we consider to be our "second family" members, but if you're involved with the 21st Michigan
(and the fact that you're reading this leads me to believe you probably are...) you have one of the largest and most
dedicated second families out there.
Over the past year I've done some serious thinking. I joined the group as a 16 year old with only the hope of getting
to fire a musket....now I'm the 1st Sergeant in charge of scheduling drills, training the soldiers, and making sure
we're all safe on the battlefield. To top it all off, I was elected president this year. In all of this, no one has treated
me with any resentment or disdain of any sort. It's made me really think about what's important. Family and good
I joined a Renaissance Festival group called Bocca Musica this past summer and I don't know of a time when I was
much more excited to be a member of anything. They're a well known group all across the state and we were
treated like rockstars at the Faire...but I noticed something was a little off. As friendly as everyone was up front, it's
a business, and the bottom line is money. Now, I'm sure you'll all agree that making some extra money is a good
thing, especially with the state of the economy, but within reason. Bocca is a fun group on stage, but it's a stressful
hobby that takes up every weekend from July until the middle of October without exception. As a matter of fact, I
almost wasn't going to be able to do a single day of the Port Sanilac event on August 6th because of a Faire in Battle
Creek. Luckily, another member was able to cover for me so I could participate with you all. Even still, I've been
given a pretty hard time over it, which brings me to the main point of all this: you've all proven your worth by being
so understanding and accepting as a group. If I needed to miss Greenfield Village (I don't, but let's pretend!)
because I had a big test coming up and needed to study and do homework and blah blah blah, you'd encourage me
to do what I needed to do. This has been shown to me time and again when I haven't been able to make an event or
whatever. Even if I had to miss the entire summer of reenacting because of something important to me (I don't
know what would be that important to me...maybe a culinary vacation in Italy! Yeah, that'd be nice! ), but
regardless, you'd still welcome me back as a member at the Christmas party or the following year.
I just have to say that I appreciate everything each and every one of you contributes. I may have other hobbies that
bring in the dough, but with you all, I have another family. I'd take a family over some quick cash in my pocket any
On that note, I will be sending out emails this month about some drills I'd like to schedule on some upcoming
Saturdays. Be ready to dust off the old uniform, break out the musket, and form up!
President - Tom Giorlando Military Commander - JR Schroeder
Secretary - Carrie Graber Civilian Coordinator - Ken Giorlando
Treasurer - Jim Cary Newsletter Editor - Jim Cary
State of Michigan
U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)
Sesquicentennial Opening Ceremony
April 16, 2011
Union and Confederate Re-enactors, Living Historians, genealogy groups, Civil War round-table organizations, and
museum staff are cordially invited to the State of Michigan’s Civil War Sesquicentennial kick-off event scheduled for
April 16, 2011. The Re-enactor/Living Historian portion of the program is to be held on a 1-1/2 city block size green
space located just west of the State of Michigan Library/Museum.
Union and Confederate military units may bring and display their colors. Artillery, cavalry, and infantry will be
conducting firing demonstrations throughout the day using blank rounds. Set-up will begin on Friday (April 15, 2011)
after 3:00 in the afternoon. Spectator hours are from 9:00-4:00 on Saturday April 16, 2011. Amenities include porta-
johns, porta-water, bottled water (for drinking/cooking purposes), and firewood. The Museum indoor facilities will be
available for use on Friday before 5:00 and during spectator hours on Saturday from 9:00-4:00. Following is a sample of
“potential” demonstrations we hope to conduct for the public throughout the day.
Artillery firing demonstration
Battalion drill - given enough troops
Care and maintenance of weapons
Battalion Dress Parade - given enough troops
Civilian Fashion Show
Infantry loading/firing demonstrations
Politicians – debate or discussion on causes of the War
Skirmish/Mock battle - given enough troops on each side
Surgical demonstration on care of the wounded
We are looking for “volunteers” to host these or other scenarios participants may choose to suggest. We are trying to
calculate a head count in order to provide adequate amenities and to schedule activities, although pre-registration is not
required. Please provide me with the following information should you or your organization plan to participate:
Contact person and contact information
Number of attendees and tentage based on the following categories:
Special persona you may wish to portray or demonstrations you would like to be involved in
**** If you plan to stay overnight Friday evening ****
The Michigan Historical Center is located at 702 W. Kalamazoo St. Lansing, Michigan, 48915
The Michigan Historical Center Administration telephone number is (517) 373-6362
The link to the State of Michigan 150th site is http://seekingmichigan.org/civil-war
Most Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant
Tom Emerick, Captain
7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Co. B
Research: Where do I start?
By Wendi Schroeder
Good morning gentle readers. For those that have not yet made my acquaintance, my name is Mrs. Schroeder. I have
spent my winter months researching and in the process have made several discoveries, some wonderful and some rather
disconcerting. While tearing at my hair, it occurred to me that it might benefit the other members of our organization if I
were to share some of my discoveries.
I've been engaged in this fascinating hobby for some years now, and with the wealth of information currently available to
us all, I found myself confused more than once during my studies into women's fashions this winter. The one and only
advantage my longevity gives me, is that having been around awhile, I have a bit more skill at discerning opinions.
On the other hand, newer people have far less to UN-learn than I do. Many things that were considered fact ten years ago,
have been proven to be fiction as scholarship and access to resources has improved. So much so, that when time permits I
might submit a VERY humorous column on re-enactor urban legends.
Keeping those things in mind, I'd like to share some general thoughts on research. These are things to think about when
you are reading, asking questions etc…
Point first: It's probably a good idea before you start asking questions to figure out who you are. Are you married or
single? Wealthy, middle class, or poor? Do you have children? Are you educated? Do you live in the country, small
town or large city? And finally, what is your occupation? Homemaker, minister, farmer, midwife, postmaster etc…?
The answers to these questions will not only drive your research, it will determine what clothing and equipment you need
to invest in. Without this starting point it's nigh on impossible to present an accurate impression. Not working out this
information will also make the answers you receive from people less helpful. Indeed, many knowledgeable people will
ask you these things before answering a question so that they can give you an accurate answer.
Now, I'm not saying that you wouldn't get an answer from someone without knowing this, however, it's far less likely that
you will receive an answer that will help you.
Point second: Be prudent about WHO you ask for advice.
The mere fact that someone has been re-enacting for a number of years does NOT make them knowledgeable. The hobby
keeps progressing and not everyone progresses with it. Sometimes people get into a rut, they don't want to research every
winter, or don't think they need to. I have done that myself. That is what led me to writing this article. I let my women's
research slide for a few years and concentrated on children's things. So this winter I'm playing catch up…
On the other hand there are some people who have been in this hobby for only a few years that I wouldn't hesitate to send
people to. So keep in mind that longevity is nothing more than that. I'd far rather go to someone whose research is up to
date than to someone whose only claim to fame is that they've been around long enough to know Grant personally.
Keep this thought in mind when asking questions. Everything is open to interpretation and EVERYONE has a
For instance. Two clothing historians can look at the exact same original garment and come to different conclusions about
it. I've seen this play out more than once. It's not that either opinion is wrong per se, it's just that they are different. Each
historian's opinion will be influenced to a degree by what they have seen before, what they have read and who they have
So how do you figure out if someone is a good resource? Well, remembering that this is only MY opinion, here are some
things that help me decide who to go to with MY clothing questions. (Yes, I still have clothing questions…scholarship
It has been my experience that it is not prudent to use the words "never" or "always" when discussing anything having to
do with our time period. For the moment you make the statement…"women always wore"…someone WILL come to you
with an original CDV in which a woman was NOT wearing…there were trends to be sure, but just as is the case today, not
every woman followed those trends either due to economic circumstances or personal preference.
Now obviously, there are some things to which the word never CAN be applied. If something didn't exist, it wasn't used.
While people may have used it if they had it, if they didn't have it, we should not be using it, with obvious exceptions for
safety or health reasons (but if you use coolers, for heaven's sake hide them).
The corollary to this is that just existing does not qualify something to be used. If something had just been introduced, it
would not necessarily be in widespread use. If something was very expensive it would not be in widespread use, even if
it's not expensive today.
So when making a decision about ANYTHING, you must first find out the following…
1. Did it exist?
2. Did it exist in your region of the United States?
3. How much did it cost?
4. Was it in widespread use?
5. Does it fit in with my impression?
If the answer to all five questions is YES, then use with pride. If the answer to any of those questions is NO, then perhaps
you should keep looking for an item that WILL answer all five questions for you.
Keep in mind that NOONE else can tell you for sure what item will answer YES to all five questions. That is something
you need to discern for yourself. People can suggest, and I highly recommend asking people you trust for their opinions.
In our unit we have a number of highly informed people on various subjects. But you have to decide if it fits the
impression YOU are trying to make.
By now you may be saying…"alright Mrs. Schroeder, so who would YOU suggest I ask?" Valid question.
I'll give you some things to keep in mind when talking to people either face to face or via the written word. (This covers
books or the internet). I can make suggestions about what type of person to talk to, but if I were to give you a list of names
I would invariably leave someone out and I don't want to offend anyone, so here are some general thoughts.
The most important thing to consider (in my opinion) is…How does this person present their information?
Does the person's answer to your question reflect the fact that they know it's an interpretation of what they have seen, or
are they pronouncements handed down from on high?
If the flavor of the comment is more the latter than the former, I personally take it with a grain of salt. It has been my
personal experience that people who make those sorts of pronouncements are not really open to information that may be
different than what "they know to be true". This type of person also tends to use the words "always" and "never".
Conversely I have found that some of the most knowledgeable people I have ever encountered have also been some of the
most open-minded people in this hobby, as concerns new information.
Keep in mind too, that chronological age has very little to do with knowledge base. My daughters know more about
certain topics than I ever will, because they've taken the time to research some things that I have not. So you need to
remember to be open-minded about who you ask, too.
I am not saying that you can't learn from all sources. You can, it's just that you have to filter through it all to arrive at the
best answer for YOU.
So. With those thoughts in mind, let's begin discussing how you go about researching.
A good place to start would be to find a mentor.
Our civilian coordinator brought up the idea of a mentor for each incoming person to the unit, and I think it a fabulous
idea. This will give you a guide to working your way through the massive amounts of information and someone
consistent to help you with the filtering process.
If you don't have a mentor, please get one. Ask our Mr. Giorlando, he will steer you to a good one. And know that your
mentor may have one of his/her own. This whole process is just that…a PROCESS. We are all growing in knowledge,
some as a steady progression, some of us in fits and starts as time permits. Continued,,,
Once you have a mentor, ask him/her for suggestions on good books to get from the library (MELCAT is a fabulous, free
resource, as is google e-books).
Go to the online forums such as The Sewing Academy, cwreeanctor.com or The Authentic Campaigner. Join the forums
or not. What you should do is use the search function and read. But for the love of Chamberlin, do not try and read every
thread on a subject in one sitting (I did that - my head almost exploded).
Read before you ask questions on these forums, most likely your question has already been answered. I found that I
would ask a question and someone would re-post a thread that had already answered it, which made me feel foolish, and I
would imagine, gets annoying for people after awhile. So in the beginning, just read, read, read. When you read be aware
that you will encounter different opinions. Sometimes you'll encounter all out arguments. That's ok. That's when you go
find your mentor and ask him/her for their opinion.
What I would not suggest is running out and spending a lot of money at first. Better to make the investment one time and
do it right, than to have to re-do as your knowledge grows. (Trust me on this - we could have paid off our mortgage early
just on the mistakes we've made over the years.)
If you plan on making your clothing, please ask someone before purchasing patterns. There are some very well
researched, well constructed patterns out there and there are also some very BAD pattern lines. (I should know, I have a
ton of them in my filing cabinets that I keep around as a reference.)
Ask someone to look at something with you before you put down the money. There are any number of ladies (and
gentlemen) in the unit that would love to go shopping with you. Also recognize that price doesn't determine authenticity.
Some very reasonably priced things are great, some very expensive things are horribly farby. The fact that the sutler has
been around forever or has a storefront in Gettysburg doesn't have any bearing on this either.
This last comment is a good reminder for our veterans as well. Sutler 'so and so' may have been cutting edge authentic
when you bought your kit 20 years ago. That DOESN'T mean that they have kept up with research, or construction
methods. You need to spend your winters updating your research or you will fall behind. The knowledge base is
expanding rapidly and we all need to keep up with it if we are going to be of any practical use to newcomers. Besides,
researching will keep you from going through withdrawal during the off-season.
This leads me to my final point for this article. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a confession to make. Ok, here
I have farby things in my kit and my camp. There I said it. Out loud even. And I feel much better.
Do I know they are farby? Yes, I do. Do I have the money to replace them at the moment? Nope, that is why they are
still hanging around. Am I replacing/updating as fast as I can? Absolutely. Why did I share this information with you?
To emphasize that you need to ASK.
Please do not look at something I or anyone else uses or wears and make the assumption that it's correct. It might be, then
again it might not be, and we just haven't been able to replace it yet. That holds true for almost everyone. We tweak
every year to improve. That's part of the fun, and why we keep doing this.
p.s. Definition of the word FARB. I've heard a number of them over time and my personal favorite is…
April During the Civil War
contributed by JR Schroeder
Apr 1-11 Negotiations take place in Washington, Columbia, SC, and Charleston to resolve the crisis at Ft Sumter.
South Carolina troops ring Ft Sumter with artillery.
Apr 12 At approximately 4:30 am, Confederate batteries open fire on Ft Sumter, beginning the Civil War.
Apr 13 Bombardment of Ft Sumter ends after 34 hours.
Apr 14 Ft Sumter is officially surrendered. President Lincoln issues a call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the
Apr 16 In answer to Lincoln's call for troops, Michigan Gov. Austin Blair calls for the raising of a regiment of
infantry, to serve for 3 months.
Apr 17 Virginia State Convention votes to secede.
Apr 19 Riots in Baltimore as the 6th NY fires on a mob that threw rocks and fired at the soldiers marching
between train stations. President Lincoln closes the ports of the seceded states.
Apr 20 Federals evacuate the Norfolk, VA Navy Yard. The USS Merrimack is scuttled, only to be salvaged and
refitted as the ironclad USS Virginia. Col. Robert E. Lee resigns his commission with the US Army.
Apr 29 Maryland House of Delegates votes against secession. Confederate Congress convenes in Montgomery,
Ala. The 1st Michigan Infantry was organized at Ft Wayne, Detroit.
Apr 3 Congress votes to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia.
Apr 4 McClellan begins his advance up the Peninsula toward Richmond.
Apr 5 Siege of Yorktown, VA
Apr 6-7 Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee
Apr 7 Federals capture Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River
Apr 11 Federals capture Ft Pulaski, near Savannah, GA.
Apr 12 The Great Locomotive Chase near Chattanooga. Federal soldiers in this group became the first recipients
of the Medal of Honor.
Apr 16 Jefferson Davis signed into law an act that called for conscription of Confederate men.
Apr 18 Federal Navy ships bombard the forts below New Orleans.
Apr 24-30 Adm. Farragut's fleet runs past the forts below New Orleans, then force the surrender of the forts
defending the city.
Apr 2 Richmond "Bread Riot"
Apr 7 Union ironclads attack Charleston, SC
Apr 17 Union Col. Benjamin Grierson’s Raid begins in LaGrange, Tennessee.
Apr The 21st is on picket duty in and around Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Apr 12 Ft Pillow, TN Massacre.
Apr Red River Campaign in Louisiana.
Apr The 21st is part of the Army of the Cumberland’s Engineer Brigade. They spend a year working on
projects in and around Chattanooga.
Apr 1-10 The 21st is encamped near Goldsboro, NC, recovering from the Battle of Bentonville.
Apr 1 Battle of Five Forks, VA.
Apr 2 Confederates evacuate Richmond. Union forces occupy the city the next day.
Apr 6 Battle of Saylor’s Creek, VA.
Apr 9 Lee surrenders at Appomattox Court House, VA.
Apr 10-14 The 21st advances on Raleigh, NC.
Apr 12 Mobile, AL surrenders to Federal forces.
Apr 14 The 21st occupies Raleigh.
Apr 14 President Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln dies the next day.
Apr 26 The 21st is present as Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to Union Maj. Gen. William T.
Sherman near Durham, NC. John Wilkes Booth is shot.
Apr 27 The steamer Sultana explodes near Memphis, killing an estimated 1200-1500 men, many of whom had
recently been liberated from Confederate prison camps.
by Ken Giorlando
Does this winter seem to be dragging on
longer than usual? Or is it just me
anticipating the beginning of the
sesquicentennial of the Civil War? With the
21st Michigan spring civilian meeting and the
Greenfield Village meeting now past, it is the
time to put forth what we have learned for
our time-travel activities.
First, please allow me to thank everyone who
attended our spring meeting. Nearly 30 of
you came to the schoolhouse in Eastpointe
where well-known living historian, Sandra
Melcher Root, did a wonderful presentation
on de-farbing our campsites as well as giving
us tips on how to better pack the necessary
items for events. I heard exclamations of
“Oh, that’s a good idea!” from many in our
group; that tells me no matter how long we have been in this hobby we never stop learning, do we?
I also took the stage (so to speak) and gave a lecture on brightening our presentation – making the historical
experience come alive in an accurate and fun way for not only the visitors but for ourselves as well. I appreciate
all of the input from those who shared their knowledge and experience.
Scenario at Greenfield Village: Many units and events will be citing this year as 1861 and are studying the
events of that year in order to present a more accurate portrayal of this 150th anniversary, and I believe we
should do the same. I’ve noticed over the last few years more of a willingness for the different units to work
together to give the visiting public a greater and more cohesive picture of the past. One of the presentations in
the planning stages for the Greenfield Village event comes from the Michigan Soldiers Aid Society (MSAS).
This year the MSAS hope to recreate the sending off of our Boys in Blue to the battlefront. Male and female
civilians of all ages will be needed to send their sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, and beaus off to war – a war
which should only last a few months at best. A rousing send-off is planned where political speeches will be
songs from 1861
and earlier will
be sung, flags
will be waved,
and lots of
be heard. Of
course, we have
high hopes that
our military will
join in to portray
the men being sent off to fight. Part of the plan is to have a few of the military remove their sack coats in order
to look like civilians – farmboys – and watch the men in blue marching and drilling on their village green.
Being enticed by their family and friends, they decide to “join” and go marching off with the military to the
Smiths Creek Depot where they will be inducted and receive their sack coats.
Sounds like fun doesn’t it? This ‘Fond Farewell at Smiths Creek Depot’ will be an authentic and accurate
showing of the beginnings of the Civil War, and we hope to get the visitors involved in the excitement as well.
As I get more information I will pass this along to you.
Speaking of Greenfield Village, make sure you read the informational article concerning the changes that will
be taking place at this year’s event.
Seasonal Foods: Elsewhere in this issue of Marching Along you will find an article written by our own Mrs.
Schroeder explaining seasonal food – what were the folks of 1861 eating in the spring, summer, and fall of the
year? That would be a good start in our presentations to the visitors who may come up to our campsites. Most of
us here in the 21st century think nothing of eating fall harvest foodstuffs in the springtime – bright red or green
apples, for example. But, 150 years ago that just would not have happened. Apples were not ready for
harvesting until mid-to-late September. Instead, we would be eating whatever dried apples/fruit we had left
from last fall. It’s this sort of historical accuracy and information we can use in explaining to the visitors - who
truly look to us for authenticity – why we may be eating dried fruit here in the springtime rather than a freshly
picked apple. This will also give the visitor “food for thought” (pun intended).
Raising the Bar: If it seems like reenactors and living historians are stepping up their presentations...well...they
are. I believe people that take this hobby seriously are getting tired of the farbiness that tends to be over-looked,
and even accepted in some cases. And, for those who don’t seem to care as much – or even for those who just
don’t want to change their ways – they will be left behind. Places like Greenfield Village - even with the Model
T rides – as well as Walker Tavern, Wolcott Mill, and Hastings, are not going to put up with those who just half-
at it. If you feel that you need to improve your presentation, clothing, etiquette, accessories, etc., now is the time
to do so. I cannot express enough just how important authenticity is to this hobby.
Lantern Tour: Did you know that there is going to be a lantern walk held at the Troy Historical Museum and
Village on April 30th? And, out of the (I believe) nine stops that the paying customer will visit, five will be
represented by 21st Michigan members! Yes, Mike Gillett, Bill Jones, Jean Cook with Carrie Graber, and Dave
Tennies (along with my family and I) are taking part in this living history extravanza! And, the best part is, all
of us (except Jean and Carrie) will be inside of period structures to give it an even more authentic portrayal of
the Civil War on the Homefront.
Others who will be there to give presentations are very good friends of the 21st Michigan: Angie Morgan and
her family, as well as Kim Parr and Tom Berlucci.
And, yes, we will all be in 1st person.
To me, this says an awful lot about our active membership raising the bar of authenticity!
So, even though this dreary winter seems never-ending, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s getting
brighter with each passing day.
Are you ready?
Eating authentically at an Event
by Wendi Schroeder
With the season getting ready to begin, it was suggested to me (by our esteemed Civilian Coordinator) that it might be of
interest to the membership if I were to summarize my presentation from last Fall on eating seasonally.
Knowing that it's just as important to get the little things right, taking a look at the food you bring can help improve your
impression yet one more notch. Eating according to what was available in a given month in Michigan can help you come
that much closer to being "then".
This doesn't mean that you can't eat very well for the weekend. You can bring a surprising variety of things to camp
throughout the year. As an added bonus to eating seasonally, it's cheaper. Things still ripen around the same time every
Before I start, please understand the limitations of this article. It's NOT an exhaustive list of everything you can bring, for
that you really need to start reading antique cookbooks. Google E-books is a great place to start. They have lots of digital
copies of antique books and periodicals.
Let's start with April. This is the end of the winter season so you would most likely be using up things in the root cellar.
In the meat category, Ham would be very appropriate since it is getting warmer and whatever is left in the smokehouse
isn't likely to keep much longer. (I personally suspect that's how Ham for Easter got to be so popular.) If you are willing
to be a bit more adventuresome, there is also lamb and veal (newborn animals that didn't make it were not wasted). Fresh
beef maybe, but most likely there wouldn't be any left. Salted beef would be much more likely.
For vegetables, you would have the last of the potatoes, winter squash, carrots, onions, dried beans, and perhaps fresh
asparagus, if you grew it.
There would also be fresh lettuce, especially if you had cold frames or hot frames to grow them in.
Pickled items of all sorts would be on the pantry shelves, cucumber pickles, watermelon rind pickles, sauerkraut, pickled
peppers, pickled onions etc…
For fruit you would have jellies, jams, and the last of your cellar apples. Raisins would be around, but pay attention to
your economic position, as they would have been imported. I can't find evidence that grapes were grown in Michigan
during the War, but if anyone has information to the contrary I'd be delighted to see it.
As a side note…this is what you plant in April in Michigan…onions, potatoes, peas, lettuce, leeks, cabbage. If you plan
your breeding, your sow is farrowing and you have piglets to raise. If one doesn't make it, you have sucking pig to eat for
Ok, moving on to May.
In May you would have eggs, (the chickens are laying again HURRAY). You would also start to see radishes, more
lettuce, and new peas perhaps.
May is when the main garden goes in. You plant tomatoes and peppers and beans and corn and squash and pumpkin and
melon and cucumbers and whatever else your little heart desires to put into the ground. New chicks are being born about
June is when strawberries are in season. Your meat poultry is coming along nicely, but they aren't quite big enough to eat
yet. But the laying hens are going gangbusters and the cow is giving lots of milk (or the goats). You are still eating
lettuce and radishes. This is a great salad month.
This is when you shear the sheep and take the wool in to be washed and carded for spinning…unless you do this all at
home. You also plant your cabbage and peas for the fall garden about now.
July: The peas are getting ripe. You have new potatoes (which are very small). Blueberries are in season. You might get
some cabbage out now, and the Broccoli is ready to eat. You have some meat chickens (born last fall) that are big enough
to eat, so you start butchering them one or two at a time as you want one for dinner. Early raspberries are in now too. It's
too hot for the lettuce to be doing well, so it's rather scarce.
August: You are starting to get beans. A melon or two is ripened, and if you planted short season corn it should be
coming in towards the end of the month. More potatoes, these are larger, especially if you planted midseason varieties.
Tomatoes and Peppers are starting to come in and they pretty much overwhelm you at the end of the month. Peas are in
completely and they start to wane early in August. The pigs are growing nicely and you are getting really tired of poultry
and salted beef and pork. However, the fish are biting and fresh fish can be had whenever someone has the time to go
catch some. You can harvest onions now too, or you can leave them growing until cold weather.
September: This is when you kick yourself for planting a large garden. EVERYTHING is coming in. You put things
down in the cellar and dehydrate a lot of things in the sun, and if you know how and have the jars you put things up in
those fancy new mason jars, which requires HOURS of boiling for some things. (Modern note…if you want to try
canning do NOT water bath can anything but fruit and tomatoes-botulism still exists.)
Apples are starting to ripen and so are the peaches. Lots of pie right about now.
October: The garden season is finally starting to wind down. You still have beans and late ripening squash, but pretty
much everything else is put up for the winter. Apple harvest is in full swing, although you probably have all the peaches
dried or made into jam already. The pumpkins are finishing up, as is the squash. Your late corn is ready to pick and your
potatoes are ready to dig up…hurry and do this last before the ground freezes. You have fresh apples and dried apples and
apple cider. (Or hard cider, if that's your preference.)
November: Butchering time is usually around the third week of the month. Those cute little piglets from spring are nasty
tempered ugly hogs and you are glad to see the last of them; although processing one pig takes three days, if you have lots
of help in the kitchen. You also butcher your beef at this time, and the deer hunters go out to get some venison.
And that takes us to the end of the season. If it seems like this was more about gardening/farming, I chose to structure it
this way to illustrate how eating was directly tied to the gardening year and the weather, until refrigeration and
international shipping allowed us to eat whatever we wanted to all year round. And there are some exceptions. Larger
cities might have access to more fresh meat in the summer since a farmer could sell a whole beef or pig in portions at the
Market. The Military would also have more access to fresh meat in the summer since there were enough men to eat a
whole animal before the meat spoiled.
As I said in the beginning, this doesn't cover everything. But if you pay attention at the grocery store to what's on sale and
what is listed as locally grown (Kroger and Walmart both list which items are from Michigan farmers), you can get a
pretty good idea of what your options are month by month.
You can also get really adventuresome by reading cookbooks, I've read some recipes that I wouldn't even WANT to try,
but they are out there for the culinarily brave.
Some things I didn't mention (like bread) because they were available year round. Wheat stores very well until its ground
into flour. Oatmeal stores very well.
I hope this little paper has been informative. I'm hungry now, so I'm off to the kitchen to find a snack…
Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village
May 28, 29, and 30, 2011
By Ken Giorlando
So, here we are, a little less than two
months away from one of the best
reenactments on anyone’s roster of
events, Greenfield Village. As you
(hopefully) know, Greenfield Village is
an internationally known open-air
museum that attracts an average of 1.9
million visitors annually. It
encompasses not only local structures
from the past showing everyday life of
your average American, but the homes
of very prominent people from
American history including the Wright
Brothers, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford,
and Noah Webster. Because of this,
Greenfield Village is perhaps the most
unique museum in the world. Truly,
nothing can match it.
So, it is an honor and a privilege to be
invited to participate in one of their biggest events of the year, the Civil War Remembrance, held over the three-
day Memorial Weekend. This is an invitation only gig, folks; there are literally dozens of Civil War units
throughout the country on a waiting list, hoping for one of the current units to drop out so they can become part
of this exclusive group.
With that in mind, let us reflect on our purpose as Civil War reenactors. First and foremost is the given that
the greater majority of us aspire to be the best we can be in this hobby. Why else would we spend all of the
money and time preparing ourselves for the events? And, the public looks to us as if we are specialists when it
comes to the Civil War era. That being said, we must be vigilant in our presentation; not just how authentic we
look in our period clothing and accessories, but how we act and present ourselves to the visitors and to other
living historians. Keep in mind that the public pays $25 a pop just to see us! Think about it: anywhere from
twenty five to thirty three thousand people visit Greenfield Village over the three day Memorial weekend –
remember, at $25 a person – and most are there to see us reenactors and living historians. This is one of
Greenfield Village’s top weekends of the year, beaten out only by Holiday Nights at Christmas, and that’s
because Holiday Nights takes place over multiple weekends.
So, we really are “it”!
Knowing this, one would think there would be no reason why The Henry Ford Event Coordinators Brian
Egan and Jim Johnson would need to repeat themselves every year on the importance of hiding the farb and
acting appropriately. But, they do, and for good reason. One of the first slides shown during their presentation at
this year’s March 9th meeting was taken from the Detroit Free Press newspaper from last year. It showed a
reenactor woman from the 2010 Civil War Remembrance who was dressed impeccably in her 1860’s clothing
walking along the busiest street inside of the Village (near Logan Court House). Accompanying this photograph
were these words:
“Civil War Reenactors are sticklers for historical accuracy, as this reenactor at Greenfield Village in
Michigan, proved with their historically accurate circa 1863 cell phone."
Yes she was, as plain as day and in front of everyone, speaking on her cell phone while strolling amongst the
throngs of visitors. What does this say to ALL of us who strive so hard and do our utmost to be as accurate as
we possibly can be?
Now, you may say “Well, maybe it was an emergency and she needed to speak to someone.”
Okay, I’ll give you that. An emergency is a very understandable and acceptable reason for using the
cell phone as she was.
But, more than likely it could have been because we in the 21st century are so used to just whipping out our
cells whenever they ring or buzz that we think nothing of it no matter where we are or what we’re doing. I’ve
seen it at the movie theater. I’ve seen it at places of business. And, yes, I’ve seen it at reenactments. I’m sure
most of us have done it in inappropriate places at one time or another as well.
But, let’s be honest here, chances are she more than likely could have ignored the call until she found a
more appropriate place to accept it; behind a building, behind a tree, inside a tent, or even in the bathroom.
Brian and Jim were not happy with this situation and newspaper blurb – especially that it mentions
Greenfield Village - and they let us know that this year they’re going to take action.
They said that if they see anyone in period clothing openly using cell phones & “phone buddies,” or
with inappropriate tattoos, non-period jewelry (wedding rings and health necklaces are an
exception), plastic water bottles, paper plates, and fast food containers, or having visitors in
modern clothing sit under a reenactor’s tent or fly, the reenactor will be given one warning. And they
plan to find out which unit the reenactor belongs to.
Like I said, they were very serious.
It was also stated that if any of us purchases an ice cream with a cone (which was not around
in the 1860’s) or a drink in a modern souvenir cup from a Greenfield Village vendor, for example,
to please put it into one of our own period appropriate glasses, cups, or tins.
What does all of this mean? Well, while you are in the Village as a re-enactor you are to be in
period clothing and are to act appropriately to the time you are representing from the moment
you step through the gates until the time you leave. We are to maintain our 19th century persona
for the duration: if you are there for three days, you are from the 19th century for three days.
Yes, we all know about the Model T’s, but, well, let’s face it, that is how they make their
money. We’ve ignored the contraptions for all these years, and we’ll continue to do so. Yell “Get a
horse!” to the drivers.
As for other information there’s not much different from last year; for those of us who have
attended this event before, you will not find many changes:
As in past years, the check-in will be at the Eagle Tavern parking lot. You should have
received information from The Henry Ford in the mail by the time you are reading this with
more details and rules. If you haven’t, please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone me
(586-863-6346) to let me know. Of course, if you haven’t paid your dues, you will not have
received anything. You will have until the last week in April to turn in your form. DO NOT
WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE! This happened last year and I received numerous last
minute sign ups - it will not happen again.
Make sure you read through their information and follow the directions
accordingly. And, even though only one letter was sent, I was assured that there would still be
four buttons per name on the envelope for a total of up to eight per household.
I believe, as in the previous two years, the packages with the information will be emailed to
us instead of snail-mailed to our homes. It will have the maps, info, and focus points that used to
be included each year in snail mailings. I encourage all participants to print it out and have it
with you at the event in case there are any questions. Again, all invites must still be
completed and returned for an individual to be eligible to participate. The application
deadline is April 29th. That’s it in black and white.
Just as has been done in previous years, the first day of the event – Saturday May 28 – the
Village will be open to the public from 9:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday the normal
Village hours of 9:30 to 5 will be the hours of operation.
Of course, there will be many other events going on at GFV throughout the weekend. And,
yes, the sutlers will be returning.
You might think the good folks at The Henry Ford are becoming a little too strict with their
strong arm over the farbs. But, remember – this is their event. They make the rules. If we want
to play in their yard, we must follow the rules or maybe sit this event out.
Personally, I welcome it.
Who am I?
Did you identify this member of the 21st
from her pre-reenacting days?
This is Melody Cary (at age 6 and present).
If you would like to be featured in this
space, send your photo (preferably in the age range of 5-10
years old) to Jim Cary (email@example.com). Be
sure to identify the person pictured! (I did not receive any
photos yet, so there is noone to feature for this months