One of the coolest things that the Into the Wilderness crew gets to do here in Tennessee is take time to check out the many great attractions that Tennessee offers and one of our favorites is of course, the local Civil War reenactments.

Richard De Witt and Ev Stanton recently attended a Civil War reenactment at Sequoya Birthplace Museum just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee and had some time to meet the reenactors and find out what it is that drives them to do what they do.  

Ev Stanton stated, “It’s been amazing to meet many of the reenactors and to find out what it really is that drives them to do what they do.”

Overall, there is a deep passion in those that we have seen in action and have spoken to, and for these dedicated reenactors, it isn’t all about dressing up in historical costumes and staging a battle scene.

The reenactors focus on the battle times and they try to show how hard those times were for the men fighting with often inadequate weapons, clothing and even a lack of sustainable food to keep them going. They don’t focus on racial tensions and other issues that led to war or how life may have been after the war ended.

It’s more about the incredible focus and drive these people possess to be able to delve into our nations history and be able to show others what the world was like during those difficult times on the battlefield.

 Photo credit: Daniel Munson

Photo credit: Daniel Munson

Ev also said, “The reenactors we’ve spoken to are committed to portraying an accurate account of how battles were waged and what it felt like to be part of those historical moments that for many are only briefly read about in a high school history class or during those moments they can see on the big screen.”

These men and women are living historians who have studied data, embraced an era often forgotten and in general, they offer great insight into some pretty cool items from that time that most people never get to see in person.

While people may attend a reenactment to see the battle, it’s quite the experience to be able to see the many artifacts, uniforms and even medical devices that have been collected by these guys.  

 Photo Credit: Daniel Munson

Photo Credit: Daniel Munson

As we found out when speaking to several reenactors, it can be a little expensive to be a reenactor. An authentic Civil War rifle may not be easy to find, but a reproduction can cost up to $1000 or more, and authentic uniforms are often hundreds of dollars. You also must figure in the cost of accessories including badges, insignia, bayonets, tents and so much more.

Many reenactors don’t don the blue or grey uniforms at all. They portray the Cherokee Indians, women and children and others who were alive during the Civil War. To see all these men and women come together to participate in something they love is truly an experience that everyone should take time to check out.

Overall, if someone is going to participate as a Civil War reenactor, the dedication to being historically accurate is a must and from what we saw and heard, the dedication to historical accuracy is alive and well.

In other words, it isn’t just a cool hobby. It’s an educational experience that embraces an important section of the history of the United States.

We look forward to not only visiting many more reenactments while we’re in production here in Tennessee, but to be able to meet more of the men and women who work hard to offer a little glimpse into the history of our nation. It’s not only been fun for us to attend, but it’s been very educational as well.

Angela Caito