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Friday, August 24, 2007

Fort 4 in Charlestown, NH June 2007

Our first official reenactment was at Fort 4 on June 2, 2007. We didn't stay overnight with the rest of the regiment because we had not yet gotten our tent. We wanted to have one day where we went and observed what went on at a reenactment as well. We were both able to get dressed. We had a few things we had to buy here to be able to participate, I had to buy my shift and cap and we also had to buy mugs so we could drink. Kris got to go out and do a battle this day, and he was actually able to shoot this time! He borrowed a gun from another regiment member. We knew that he would probably have to borrow a gun for the whole 2007 season since purchasing a gun was to in our budget at all right now, and both Bruce and Mark were very helpful in lending Kris a gun throughout the year. We were not sure if we would even get one for the 2008 season, but we were going to try. It is so much better to have your own stuff and not have to borrow. But I am very glad that all that all the members are very understanding and allowed us to borrow so much in the beginning. Fort 4 ended up being a fun day overall. I didn't take any pictures at the event (forgot my camera!!), but here is a link to some pictures that are on our regiment's website: Fort 4.

Believe me yours faithfully,

Women's Clothes

With Kris' clothes pretty much out of the way, it was time to focus on getting my outfit together. I had started some of my pieces prior to the parade, but had been unable to finish them in time. My new goal was to have mine and Kolby's outfit finished by the next reenactment which was going to be on June 2nd and 3rd. Lori from the regiment was a huge help in getting me started with what pieces I would need.

Here is what I put together for my outfit:

Black Shoes
Just as with the men's shoes, there are vendors that sell period shoes for women. Someday I may get these, but for now $80 for shoes was not feasible. Townsend sells these, but I am not altogether convinced that someone of the status that I want to represent would wear nice shoes like these for everyday. Since the cost is too much for now, I have time to do some more research on this. For now I just used some plain black slip on shoes that I was using for work. I had picked these up at Wal-Mart for around $20. They didn't look overly modern, so they worked well enough for now.

Cotton Socks
Since I would be wearing skirts, my socks would not be showing as much as a man's socks would. For this reason I didn't feel it was necessary to buy special socks for myself. I couldn't find socks that were made specifically for women online, so I just decided to forgo these for the time being. Instead I headed down to the local sports shop and I bought some blue and black soccer socks. They were a solid color. Of course they were by no means period, but since my socks would not be showing too much, they worked fine for now.

Before making the actual pieces of my dress, I made sure to do a little research on what was actually worn (see my post with research links). For my skirts, I decided to make two. Most of what I read showed that women rarely wore one skirt at a time unless it was very hot out. I picked a set of patterns from Townsend to help me the skirts (as well as some other things). The skirts in here are sewn directly onto a waistband. I have seen some skirts that float on a string, and are just naturally gathered when they are worn. But I preferred the ones that are sewn in place because I figured I wouldn't be adjusting them as much. I have also heard that some people use an elastic waist for their skirts. Of course this is not period correct either, but considering that no one should ever see the top of your skit, this should not be a problem and would most likely be very comfortable. I made my two skirts out of linen. I sewed the portions of the skirt that would not be seen with my machine, but the seams that would be seen I hand sewed to try and give it a more authentic look. The red linen I bought at a local store, it is 100% linen, but somehow is wrinkle free. I love it! The blue skirt I made I bought the fabric from It's a very nice color, but wrinkles very easily. I don't usually iron it, mostly out of laziness.

Every woman had pockets. This was the equivalent of a purse. The pockets were big and would hold everything that a woman needed. The pockets were often ornately decorated, but contrary to what one might think, these pockets were always worn underneath clothing. Pockets never would have been worn outside the clothes for fear of pickpockets. The pattern that I bought included a pattern for the pockets as well. I used some of the white linen that I bought from to make there. I sewed these pretty much all by hand since they would never be worn over my clothing. My pockets are awesome to hold my camera and any small modern day items that I want to have on hand, but do not want to be seen.

English Bodice
After doing a lot of research, I have gotten a lot of mixed feelings on the bodices. I think the more common thought right now is that the bodice was not worn by itself in public, although there has been some proof that it was a real piece of clothing, many believe that it was worn under something else to help keep ladies warm. However, the bodice is the most cost effective piece of clothing that i could get to go over my shift. I wasn't looking to spend a lot of money up front, so I decided that the bodice would not be that bad a choice. A lot of the girls in my regiment wear a bodice, so I would not stand out by wearing one. I got a blue one from Townsend. The pattern pack that I bought does have a pattern for a shortgown, so I plan on making one of these as well, though there is now emerging research that shows that these would not have been worn as commonly out in public either. I think the best route to go will be a gown, a more simple one since I am not portraying a rich persona.

Shift and Cap
I had planned on sewing my own shift, but when it came time for our first reenactment, I still had not made it because I had been spending so much time making my other items. So I decided that I would try and buy these two items from the sutlers there. I was very lucky that one of the girls from our regiment was present as a sutler and had a shift and a cap that she was looking to sell. I bought them right up and was able to use them for that weekend. I figured that I would try and make a shift later since it would probably be a good idea to have two, one for each day.

Believe me yours faithfully,

Memorial Day Parade 2007

Our first official event was the Memorial Day parade on May 28, 2007. The parade was in Andover, MA. Kris was the only one in our family to march. Kolby and I sat on the sidelines watching the entire parade. There were quite a few re-enactment groups there from all different eras. Kris was not quite dressed to the nines as some of the other guys were, but for the short amount of time we had to put him together, he looked pretty darn good! Kris had been practicing drilling and shooting a rifle for a few weeks prior to the parade. Being a former Marine, he was able to pick up on all of it fairly quickly. During the parade he was able to borrow a gun, but he did not shoot it. Since they were so close to the audience, they didn't feel that it was appropriate to have the parade be his first event shooting a gun, just in case something happened. After the parade they had a ceremony in the park. During that time I had the opportunity to get acquainted with some of the women in the regiment. The two pictures on this page are of Bruce, on the left, and Kris, on the right, getting ready for the parade. For the rest of the pictures from this day, visit my photo album.

Believe me yours faithfully,

Men's Clothing

My initial Goal for Kris was to have just enough of his uniform in order to March in the parade. I knew we would have to borrow the rifle since that would be one of the more expensive things we will buy, but I figured I should be able to get most everything else.

Items we needed for Kris to march:

Black Shoes
Although there are sites that sell period shoes, like these from Jas Townsend. These run for $90 on this site, and prices are comparable pretty much everywhere I looked. Many re-enactors decide to go the more cost effective route and will buy plain black shoes at Wal-mart or similar store. At first we used the shoe laces that came with them, but now we have leather that we have purchased from a Sutler and use that for the laces. Some day we may go this route for Kris, but for now the cheaper choice works for us. With so many things to buy up front, it only makes sense to cut corners where it's not so visible to the public. We paid around $20 for the shoes we got.

Cotton Socks
These are relatively inexpensive and are pretty much the same price no matter where you get them. These really shouldn't be bought in the modern style because the men’s socks were very plain with no ribbing in them, so we felt it would be better to just buy a couple of period socks for him. We ended up just buying them from Flying Canoe Traders, since that was where we bought his pants. They ended up being $8 a pair and we bought one in blue and one in white.

These are inexpensive as well, but Flying Canoe did not sell these, so we did an order from Jas Townsend that included these. Since we were buying period socks, he really needed these to help hold the socks up. Although even the period socks have some grip to them and don’t slide down so easy, in the 1700’s the socks would have had almost no grip and would have slid down very easily, so it would have been rare to see a soldier without garters on. We paid $7.50 for a pair of these.

We needed pants for Kris. When I was looking at websites I saw breeches that go to the knee and I also saw pants that go to the ankles. I was not sure which was more appropriate to wear. After looking at pictures of other RevWar re-enactors I saw that the vast majority of them had the breeches, so that’s what I went with. We got them from Flying Canoe because they came highly recommended for their quality and their turn over time in shipping them out. Most other sites will make the pants from scratch when you order, but Flying Canoe has them on hand ready to ship (unless you are an odd size.) Since they are in Canada, you do have to factor in the fact that it may take longer to get to the US, but they shipped them to us the quickest way possible and the pants arrived 2 days before the parade. I chose to buy the Natural color, since it seemed to be the most neutral. The pants were $55 and I believe the faster shipping ending up being $20. The pants were slightly big so I just took them in on the sides for him.

This is the shirt that is worn under everything else. It is supposed to be long enough to wear as a nightgown at night. Generally you would wear something over it, but it is not always necessary. I decided that I would make this shirt for Kris. I bought the pattern from Jas Townsend. The most authentic thing to make clothes with is 100% linen, although they had cotton at the time, it was not as widely used as linen was. But it is perfectly acceptable to use cotton or linen or a blend of the two. If cotton is used it should not be a printed cotton, if it can be avoided. I found that the homespun cotton as Jo-Ann Fabrics worked really well for some of my projects, and it was relatively inexpensive at $2.99 a yard. For the first shirt I made for Kris I wanted to use linen, I found a great online store that sold linen for an awesome price. The store is I have linked you to a great article that helps you choose the best weight of linen from their site. I bought the linen for $5.51 per yard plus shipping. Kris’ shirt took 3 yards of fabric. I hand sewed the entire shirt the first time, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. However, the second shirt I made (which I made after our first real re-enactment) I machine sewed any seams that weren’t visible and then hand sewed any seams that could be seen. Although I am sure it wouldn’t have been a big deal to machine sew the entire thing, I chose to keep it as realistic as possible. I think the shirt pattern I chose is more for Rangers, but it’s easy to make and I like it so I am sticking with it for now.

Hunting Shirt
We were lucky enough to be able to borrow a hunting shirt from another re-enactor in the regiment. A shirt similar to the one we borrowed is sold at Jas Townsend. The one we borrowed didn’t have as prominent a “cape” and it had a little more fringe on the neck part, which I guess is really not period correct, but it works for the time being. I am not sure where the exact shirt we have was purchased, but we did appreciate being able to borrow it.

Leather Belt
Since we knew we had the hunting shirt to borrow, we also knew that we would need a belt to keep it closed. We decided on a leather belt from Jas Townsend. It did not have any holes punched when we got it so I used an eyelet punch to punch the holes. I suppose that it would have been better to cut the holes with a knife since I assume they wouldn’t have had hole punches in the 1700’s, but these are things you think of only after the deed is done.

We borrowed the hat for the parade as well. The hat that we borrowed was a felt hat, which I believe was a blank, but it had been molded into a tri-corn. There was no white trim on it. The blank can be seen at Jas Townsend. After the parade one of the other re-enactors in the regiment approached Kris and let him know that he had a similar hat that we could have. He had ordered one online, it got lost in the mail so they sent him a replacement, after a while the first one showed up so he had two and he really only needed one. We were very grateful for the hat. The hat was a little small for Kris’ head, so we placed it over a pot of boiling water to steam it, then we put it on Kris’ head which molded it to the shape of his head and we let it dry. Now it is just the right size for him.

Cartridge Box
One of our larger expenses was for a cartridge box. This was something that Kris couldn’t borrow so we decided to go with one from Dixie Gun Works. They came highly recommended from other people in the regiment. The sling for the box came separate from the box itself. The box cost $35.00 (on sale) and the sling was $16.95. We may consider getting another box for Kris later on so he can carry more round with him, but this works for now.

The last thing we purchased in time for the parade was a haversack. We were able to buy this at Jas Townsend. Again this was another one of those things that we could find anywhere, but since we were placing an order at Townsend, we decided to just get it there. We went with the neutral color to match everything else. The haversack cost $10.

Believe me yours faithfully,

Finding the Right Clothes

My first task in starting RevWar was to find the right clothes for the three of us. Since we had originally planned on doing Civil War re-enactment, I had no idea where to start. Luckily Kolby was taken care of, since some of the other people in the group had had young children that were now grown, they passed down some clothes for Kolby to use. I only had a few other things that I had to get for him to start. For Kris and I, the first place I started was the web page of links from the Regiments website. These were an excellent place to start, but were not by any means conclusive enough for me. I decided to do a little research on my own as well. Some of the sites I found gave a really good how-to for making clothes; others just sold clothes, but were very helpful in seeing the style that was good. The sites that I found very helpful for looking at clothing were:

· (Modern patterns and how they may work for re-enacting)
· (This is just for a general idea since we are not representing Scots, I didn’t use this exactly)
· (Great site for patterns)

After doing some research, I was beginning to realize that this was not going to be as quick to get together as I had originally thought. The next event coming up was a parade at the end of May. My priority was to get all of Kris’ stuff together, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get everything together for all three of us, so I figured that Kolby and I would just sit on the sidelines and watch, but Kris could march if I could get all his clothes together.

Believe me yours faithfully,

What the Heck is RevWar?

My family and I recently (okay well really 4 months ago) embarked on a journey of a lifetime. We decided to become re-enactors. In May of 2007 I did some research online looking for some Civil War units in NH. I knew it would be a hard sell to get my South Carolina boy to join the union army, but we both really wanted to delve into the world of re-enacting, and we didn’t know of any other options. I found a couple of groups online and sent out a couple of emails. One group actually called me up, the First NH. I started talking to the captain, Joe, and he explained to me that they were not a Civil War unit as I had thought they were, but they were in fact a Revolutionary War unit. I started to get more excited, I knew that my husband would have less of a problem re-enacting RevWar, as it’s called, then he would joining the Union army. Joe let us know when and where their next meeting was offering for us to join them. He explained that they would meet for a short time and then they would do drilling with the guys after. He also informed us that this was the last meeting until next winter; the rest of the year would be spent at re-enactments.

I was a little bit nervous about joining. It’s always hard to start something new, especially something that you have never experienced before. We had never even been to a re-enactment prior to joining. But I knew it would be something great for our family to do and it would create memories for us that we couldn’t even imagine right now. Since I wasn’t sure how the meetings would be set up, I didn’t want to take Kolby to the first one. He does not know how to sit still and I didn’t want our first impression to be a bad one. I told Kris to go by himself. He was not too keen on that idea, but finally he sucked it up and went. I knew that his feelings on the group would ultimately decide if we would join or not. Since he would be the one doing the battles, if he wasn’t too enthusiastic about it, there would be no chance of us joining. I didn’t want it be a forced thing, so everyone had to be on board to make it enjoyable.

When he got home from the meeting, I could tell that he was glowing. I started to get excited because I could tell just by looking at him, that he had thoroughly enjoyed the meeting. He explained that they had a little meeting and then they did some drilling with muskets. Kris fell in love immediately. He was so excited when he got home he could have busted! He simply told me that he loved it, he wanted to do it, and so I had better figure out what we need. I asked him if he had any paperwork that explained what we may need to gather, he said they did, but he had been so excited about drilling he left the paperwork there. And so began my journey in setting up a RevWar life.

The regiment we joined was The First New Hampshire. The website for this is:

If anyone else is interested in joining, there's a form on the website you can fill out! We are a super nice group and we love to have new people around!!

Believe me yours faithfully,