Victory Against Hygiene Achieved At 150th Gettysburg Re-Enactment


One not-so-fun fact about the 150th reenactment of the Civil War battle at Gettysburg: The whole not being able to shower for three days thing. Perhaps this contributes to the long-held notion that reenacting was a boys’ club — some women insist is still an issue, as many groups don’t allow women to play soldiers or allow them as long as they can pass for male at 10 yards away.

In fact, hundreds of women went incognito to serve in the military at the time. (Enthuses one woman allowed to play a soldier in one particular infantry: “We talk to people about how women were in charge of making sure no one got scurvy!” People have fun in all kinds of ways, don’t they.)

The Evening Sun has penned a hard-hitting report about the hygienic grossness level in order to achieve authenticity as a re-enactor, and how awesome it feels to take a shower when they are back in 2013. Or, as they charmingly put it:

For more than eight years, the local YWCA has opened itsdoors to re-enactors seeking refuge from their own filth after marinating each day in a cocoon of wool baked beneath the July sun.

Some gems:

“You sweat a lot and dry off,” said Eric Stahl of Baltimore, Md. “I’m sure I’m pretty ripe. I try to get the experience as close as I can to real. There wasn’t much of a need for those guys. It was all guys getting dirty and being guys.”
“There’s a certain level of funk I’ll accept,” [another reenactor] said. “When all of you people go home, I have a series of baby wipes and I’ll give myself a wipe down.”
“I put on cologne, too,” said Alan Globokar. “Just in case… You never know,” Globokar said, defending his decision to wear Chaps, a scent by Ralph Lauren. “I might meet somebody.”

Incidentally, Robert E. Lee’s final words to his remaining troops before they took the walk of shame back to Virginia were “I’m sure I’m pretty ripe.”

‘Women take the field at Gettysburg re-enactment’ []
‘Gettysburg 150th re-enactors deal with body odor’ [Evening Sun]

Image via Getty

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