Gettysburg: I spent more time changing my clothes outside than I did writing

Well, I for one am bummed to see the 2012 reenacting season end. I am, officially, in rest up mode for the Gettysburg 150th in July 2013. Here’s what I’m anticipating:

  • Chaos
  • Extreme heat
  • Lack of bathrooms
  • Gargantuan spiders

With the potential for:

  • Rain
  • Mud
  • Bogs full of Mosquitos

You know. Kind of like Woodstock. But without the drugs and nudity.

Anyway, as threatened, I purchased a new dress this weekend. It was unnecessarily anxiety inducing, due to the fact I am picky and, upon review of the situation, hard to fit. Three dresses came into the fitting room with me.

First dress: Gorgeous. Brown and pink stripes. Sleeves a hair too short. This was, in fact, the smallest of the three; based on waist circumference, this one was an inch smaller than my corseted waist. With some tugging, I got all the hooks and eyes fastened.

Second dress: Seemed more conservative, if it’s possible for one long sleeved high necked dress to be more so than the other. Blue and black checks. One inch larger than my waist. Enormous on me.

Third dress: Fanciest. Most gorgeous. Most expensive. Green with dark green trim. Also one inch larger. I nearly tore a rotator cuff getting the bodice on. The buttons came nowhere near close to fastening.

I opted for the first dress.

I also opted for a new hoop skirt. And $234.33 later, they were mine.

So, back I went to Pitzer’s Woods and to The Event.

And…yeah, there’s nowhere to change. No tents. No bathrooms. No McDonalds down the road, since it’s closed for renovations in anticipation for Gettysburg’s 150th in July 2013.

That left the car.

And can I just say, for the records, it’s hard enough to get dressed in an enormous room, let alone in the back of a Ford Escape. Take off shoes. Take off socks. Take off jeans. Put on stockings, pull up above knees. Put on drawers, tie around waist. Put on boots, lace up. Tie. Take off shirt. Put on chemise, pull in arms, take off bra, put arms back in sleeves. Put on corset.

At this juncture in the process, I ran out of maneuverable room. I also needed assistance lacing up my corset. So, out of the car I hopped, in the middle of what is essentially a parking lot and behind General Longstreet’s godawful monument, and let The Hubs lace my corset as tight as he could.

Throw on hoop skirt. Throw on dress. Fasten hooks and eyes.

Only to discover…….now I can’t get the last one fastened. My underpinnings are too “thick” for that pesky bottom hook and eye. I looked like a hot mess.

I normally look like a hot mess. But this was the Ultimate Hot Mess, since what I was going for was more along the lines of demure. Reasonably demure, anyway.

So I put on a belt.

For your viewing pleasure, the end result:


Here’s a close up of my hair from earlier:


So now, officially, I have two dresses that fit. And awesome hair.

In the midst of all this, the ‘o’ key on my laptop keyboard decided to stop working. I never realized just how much I use ‘o’ in my writing. I’m pretty sure if I’m ever on Wheel of Fortune, it’s going to be my vowel of choice. So, the writing I was going to transcribe from my notebook to my electronic file never happened. Bummer.

Also a bummer was when the vehicle used to transport the artillery pieces got bogged down in the mud. They had to move two 12,000 pound artillery pieces up a hill by hand. By hand.

The Hubs said, “This is why they used horses to haul artillery during the war. No sane person wants to do that.”

No, but he did it twice.

The Toddler was not phased, as demonstrated by this photo of him and The Hubs observing the van recovery efforts:


What I should have gotten was a picture of the men folk moving the artillery by hand.  Unfortunately I was preoccupied changing back into normal clothes.  You know.  In the car.



  1. A friend posted your blog. The word Gettysburg got me interested. I was just there for a week of working at the historic Trosler and Kingel farmhouses. I hope to go to the 150th in honor of my great-grandfather who was a Union surgeon in the 11th Penna. (He was 83 years old when HE went to the 50th) It was amazing to be on the Emmitsburg Road where he came up. He help run the 2nd div hospital at Christ Lutheran in town. Got a tour of that too. You can read my post about it.

    Like your outfit. Working on mine. Out here, we claim Capt George E Pickett of Pickett’s charge. He ran Fort Bellingham 1856-1859, had an Indian wife. His son Jimmy Pickett grew up to be a fine artist in WA Territory.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I would love to work as a volunteer at Gettysburg someday; so far my volunteer experience has been with Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. I hope you can make it out to the 150th. It’s going to be a pretty intense few days and there is going to be so much going on, it will definitely be worth the trip. The Hubs had two relatives from a Pennsylvania unit who fought at Gettysburg, so he’s especially excited to attend the event. Their names are on the Pennsylvania monument–if you haven’t already done so, you should find your great-grandfather’s name on the monument. What a fascenating history for your family! He was witness to so much; and then to attend the 50th? How amazing!

      Pickett was such an interesting figure! I like learning about the early military careers of Civil War figures. I think learning where they came from helps understand some of the choices they made later on.

      Best wishes putting together your outfit! The best advice I ever received was to splurge on custom made underpinnings. My corset was, at the time, around $100, but since it was made to my measurements, it was extremely comfortable. It, and my shoes, were by far my best investments.

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