I spent close to 15 years of my life as a reenactor. I attended my first event when I was 18 years old. I attended my last even at 33. Though I am only 35 now, my back issues no longer allow me to do all of the fun stuff I did in my youth. I can't even sit down without pain now and have to work standing up. I have portrayed a Confederate infantryman, a Union infantryman, and Confederate sailor, a Union sailor, a Union surgeon, and a French Foreign Legion soldier from World War 2. I was starting to put together a German and a Russian World War 2 kit so that I could do some Eastern Front reenacting when all of my back troubles began. I traveled across the country going to events and met some really cool people who are devoted to their impressions and our past.
Here are just a few of my favorite memories. At Oak Alley, Louisiana in 1998, I experienced "The Great Moon" when soldiers from the Louisiana Tigers marched over to the 13th US Infantry camp and mooned them while in formation. That was a very cheeky thing to do! I've had a lot of fun memories associated with Liendo Plantation in Hempstead, Texas. I spent the third weekend of every November there. It usually rained for at least part of the time, but the rest of it was great! Since it is only about an hour and ten minutes or so away from my college, I had students show up (for extra credit of course) and they got to learn a little about the Civil War and also eat some really good fried food! In 2009, my brother and I were sharing a tent and an awful storm blew threw that Saturday night. It was literally sucking the tents off of people. There were funnel clouds reported in the area too. Good times!
In May of 2004, one of my buddies and I drove threw the night to reach Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island in Mobile Bay. It was a great event, but hot! We landed Marine reenactors on the beach and stormed the Rebs inside the fort. They got the better of us that day. I met some really cool naval reenactors from the Pensacola area. If my memory is correct, Mobile Bay had a visit from a guy named Hurricane Ivan the following summer and he did a number on the local area though the fort survived.
And while we are talking hurricanes, I also attended an event at Old Fort Jackson way down in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana before Katrina. I still think of all of the folks I met down there and I hope that they are okay. That Parish got hammered by Katrina and they are STILL recovering. The event ended up getting rained out and so my traveling partner and I headed home around mid day on Saturday. We stopped off at a Kroger in Belle Chasse which was just up the road a ways. I wisely took my brogans off before going inside. My partner did not. As we rounded the corner near the frozen food section, he went airborne. I'm talking body three feet in the air horizontal to the ground kind of airborne. To this day we call it "The Belle Chasse Ballet". We stopped off in New Orleans and visited the Camp Street museum. Mind you, we were still in uniform. Tourists outside were stopping to take their pictures with us!
Yes friends, I have a lot of memories. Too many to share, really. But I think back on those years fondly. If I were physically capable, I'd still be out there. So to my fellow reenactors, I'd like to say "Carry on without me. I'm with you in spirit." Perhaps I should develop a new Civil War impression as a member of the Invalid Corps?
My name is Lee Hutch and I am a Half A$$ Historian!
Performing a Medical Inspection on new recruits!
Teacher Field Day, Conroe, Texas 2011
(That's me walking towards the camera.)