This post was originally published on Forbes May 4, 2015
Some of the more fascinating people that I met as I covered the Civil War Sesquicentennial in "real time" (i.e. being in the exact place that key events took place exactly 150 years later) were historical interpreters. They were different from reenactors who put on uniforms and do some marching and maneuvering and then stay in camps of greater or lesser authenticity. My main takeaway from watching reenactors is that canons are loud and reenactors are safety conscious, which is a good thing. One of the interpreters referred to reenacting as "powder burning". Some reenactors, of course, have very deep knowledge of the "Late Unpleasantness", but they don't have to.
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