Having chronicled my struggles on the dating front, a lot of people have said, "Steve, you need a new hobby, where you can meet new people." So I soon discovered model trains were a bad idea, as there were no women in my basement. I needed something outdoors, with other people and where I didn't have to shave - that last requirement left me with Civil War battle re-enactments.
There are no female re-enactors, as there were no female soldiers (though it's been said the 10th Minnesota fought like a bunch of girls), but I was not going to let that stop me. There were three bigger problems: 1) Other re-enactors strive for authenticity, so my plan to use futuristic weapons anachronistically a la every-other Star Trek episode was out, even though the geekiness quotient would stay the same. 2) They don't re-enact within 1000 miles of my house. 3) They never re-enact my favorite battle, The Wilderness.
In May of 1864, General Grant decided to win the war with huge numbers of soldiers, even if they were untrained and ill-equipped. To surprise the enemy, he decided to march the soldiers through a nearly impassable woods. A southern general (whose name I forget) decided that his battle-weary men were lacking ammunition and couldn't handle an artillery assault, so he sent his men into the woods, where artillery couldn't go. They, of course, chose the same woods. When the two sides met, they were too close for all but hand-to-hand fighting, but alarmed soldiers in the rear started firing - essentially at their own men. The first shots lit the very dry tinder in the woods, causing a swift conflagration. No one could see and soon men started to succumb to smoke inhalation. In a panic, men ran for their lives, firing blindly at whatever moved.
I can't imagine why they don't re-enact that.
I thought, "If Grant really wanted to surprise the enemy, he'd dress in casual clothes of the 21st century and start the assault from the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Zoo in St. Paul."
It certainly surprised the Tranh-Nguyen wedding reception. Older members of the wedding party, seeing an American setting fire to the jungle and firing weapons reminded them of a more recent war.
For the record, there were no available women among the police, fire rescue or paramedics called to the scene.
[In case there ARE Civil War re-enactors reading this, I'm aware the valiant 10th Minnesota fought in Pickett's charge at Gettysburg.]
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