Would you care to help out?
What They Fought For: The Men and Women of Civil War Reenactment
History is anything but static. Part of what makes the study of history so enthralling is that with more passing time, society’s understanding of the past becomes more fine-tuned and clear. My lecturer and I are currently studying how the public memory of the Civil War has changed since the guns fell silent in 1865. The Civil War is one of the most popular topics of study in academia as well as in society. But why study the memory of the Civil War? Besides the fact that the Civil War was undeniably a turning point in our nation’s trajectory and progress, it is useful to understand why the public remembers historic events; it illuminates their values, interests, and what makes history so appealing to people. The name of the project we are working on is calledWhat They Fought For: The Men and Women of Civil War Reenactment. There is no better way to study the memory of the War than by looking at the men and women who physically re-enact it. We are looking at the three main generations of Civil War re-enactors to see how public memory has fluctuated with time. The first major generation of re-enactors was the actual veterans of the Civil War. After that, the centennial celebrations of the War light that spark of passion for re-enacting once again. Finally, all the re-enactors today make up the third, significant generation of re-enactors. This is why we need your help. We are fortunate enough to be able to talk directly to the third generation of re-enactors. My lecturer and I have been working furiously to interview as many re-enactors as possible. While we have gotten many perspectives and stories, we can always use more. We are looking for anyone that re-enacts: Confederate, Union, Civilian, Chaplains, Musicians, Doctors, anyone. If you so choose to participate, you will be given about 30 questions that range from general background, to experiences as a re-enactor, to opinions on the Civil War. Many who have gone through the process thought the questions were interesting, thought provoking questions and had great fun doing them. We are running on a bit of a time crunch now, however. We will not be conducting any new interviews after June 1st, just finishing the ones that remain to be finished. I look forward to hear from you! Thank you for bringing the past to life.
My name is Gina. I am a senior at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, a state college in southern California, and my lecturer and I are conducting a study on the public memory of the Civil War. One of the best ways to research that is by asking the men and women who physically reenact the war. Would you be interested in answering some questions about your experiences as a reenactor? If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me or my lecturer, Chris Bates, at email@example.com. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.