Field Day

For reenactors, nothing beats sweltering costumes and a good battle.

If you thought the war between the North and South was laid to rest back in 1865, think again. We visited the New England Brigade, a volunteer reenactment group, at their annual Camp of Instruction at Fort Adams in Newport to find out what motivates them to don heavy wool garments in the summer heat (and what their families think).

Debbie HanshawPam Lavallee: Seamstress and full-time mom
Role: Field hospital seamstress.
How long have you been involved?
Eleven years. My husband and I took the kids with us when they were younger.
So they don’t still come with you? Not always. But I still come. There’s a whole separate family out here.
Best perk of being a woman on the battlefield? Men are respectful — they tip their hats. 

DePam Lavalleebbie Henshaw: Critical caretaker in ER
Role: Field hospital nurse How long have you been doing this? For about fifteen years, since my youngest son was eight. We’ve gone to events all over New England and at places like Gettysburg and Antietam. We went Confederate for a while, but now we’re back to the Union.
Why? The Union groups are very structured. The Confederate group was too laid back.

Rex BoydRex Boyd: Historian and museum volunteer
Role: Private, 6th New Hampshire Volunteers
What’s your interest in reenacting? I wanted to see what it actually felt like, back then, so I could bring that to the classroom. I’m hoping to be a history teacher.
How long have you been involved? For about six months.
What does your wife think? She’s involved, too.

Larry and Jordan CainLarry and Jordan Cain: Maintenance mechanic and high school student
Role: Privates, 10th Massachusetts Regiment
Is your whole family involved? Yes. My two sons, who are seventeen and fifteen, and my wife and me.
What interested you about this? We want to recreate history and, in doing so, re-teach it to the public.
Jordan, what do you like best about doing this? I’ve learned tons. My friends think it’s great.


The Civil War Living History Weekend will be held at Fort Adams on July 10 and 11