A WTF moment if ever we saw one: Re-enactors of civil wars real and imagined have some fun at the Ohio Statehouse to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Sunday, April 10, 2011.

(Columbus Dispatch photo by Jeff Hinckley)

Update: According to the Ohio Garrison of The 501st Legion, those in Star Wars, Ghostbusters and Pirates of the Caribbean costumes had walked to the Statehouse after spending time at the Columbus Toy Show.


What would it look like if you took 18th century reenactors and did a photoshoot in the style of Vogue or Glamour. That’s what they asked at Colonial Williamsburg, and this was the result.


Actor-interpreter Dennis Watson wears a yellow-silk floral-embroidered coat and breeches with a coordinated white-silk satin waistcoat. The embroidery pattern is taken from a purple-silk court suit in Colonial Williamsburg’s collections.

Middle left: 

Actor-interpreter Scott Green wears a lace ruffled shirt and stock under pink satin smallclothes with a purple taffeta coat embellished in silver embroidery and spangles. The embroidery design is taken from a suit in Colonial Williamsburg’s collections.

Middle right:

Ken Treese, patternmaker at Colonial Williamsburg’s Costume Design Center, sports regalia constructed for an interpretation of Lord Cornwallis for the event “Under the Redcoat.” The British major general’s uniform is a regimental coat of red wool broadcloth faced with blue and embroidered in gold, a military cocked hat trimmed with gold lace and black-silk satin bow cockade, a pair of gold embroidered epaulettes with gold bullion fringe, buff linen smallclothes, black silk neck stock, and smallsword.


Journeyman silversmith Preston Jones in re-created livery from Virginia Governor Dunmore’s household—robin’s-egg-blue wool broadcloth waistcoat and coat trimmed in silver with brown wool broadcloth cuffs, collar, and breeches.


To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, photographer Michael Falco is shooting a project titled “Civil War 150 Pinhole Project.” His goal is to highlight the haunting beauty of civil war battlefields and to chronicle the various battle reenactments that are happening all across the country. To do so, he’s using large format pinhole cameras that gives the poetic images an old fashioned look.

View full set here:

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam Re-Enactment

Confederate infantry re-enactors participate in the Battle of Bloody Lane during an event to mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam September 15, 2012 in Sharpsburg, Maryland. The Battle of Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862 and was the bloodiest battle in American history with more than 23,000 men killed, wounded, and missing in one single day. It marked the end of General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Meet Henry Liu, a Chinese American member of the Lexington Minute Men.

On representation Liu said: “Actually, when I walk down the street in my Colonial clothes, and I see an Asian family kind of looking at me, I’m kinda hoping somebody would say, ‘Wait a minute — you don’t have to be, you know, a Son of the American Revolution to join? You can be Chinese and be in this company?’ And sort of spark that conversation.” March on, Henry! - Alice

(Image by Linda Boardman Liu)

Reenactment of a tar & feathering in Colonial Williamsburg. Note the lack of bare skin. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not because tourists were watching the spectacle. 

The standard procedure for tar & feathering was to strip a man down to his shirtsleeves. In the 18th century, shirtsleeves were considered “undressed” and normally just reserved for some physical activities.

In some rare cases the victim was stripped down to bare chest–but this was generally reserved for the most hated. 

After the victim was undressed and tied to a liberty pole (if the town had one), or some other object, hot tar was then poured over him. The hot tar being used was actually pine pitch, which melts at a much lower temperature than black tar does. Feathers were then dumped on top of the tar.

Afterwards the victim would often be paraded through town. In some instances this was done with the victim in a cart, at other times the victim would be made to sit on a fence rail and carried around town. 

As Gordon S. Wood points out, the purpose of tarring & feathering was not to injure the victim. It was to shame them and to get them align themselves again with the beliefs and ideas of the community. Very rarely was serious injury sustained.

Not that it was a pleasant experience by any means of course.