Quilted Petticoat

Quilted Petticoat ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/08/11/quilted-petticoat/) 3

It only took me 1 1/2 years to sew and 1 1/2 years to blog about, but here is my quilted wool petticoat! In 2013 I met a lovely lady named Judy at the Genesee Country Village Civil War reenactment. During a rainstorm I ducked into George Eastman’s (the founder of Kodak) boyhood home where Judy was demonstrating hand quilting. She kindly offered me both shelter and a lesson in her craft! I had a most enjoyable time and decided to start my own quilting project after the reenactment.

I determined on making a quilted petticoat because: 1.) I already had the wool flannel fabric I needed, 2.) I always get cold at events, and 3.) A petticoat is hidden under your skirts so no one would see my beginner stitches 😀 I was inspired by the quilting design on this original silk quilted petticoat from thegracefullady.com:

(from thegracefullady.com)

(from thegracefullady.com)
(from thegracefullady.com)

I decided on 3 horizontal quilting lines at the bottom of the petticoat, a chunk of shell design, 3 more horizontal lines, then the diagonal lines. The main body on my petticoat is three layers: red wool flannel from fabricmartfabrics.com, wool batting, and a cotton sateen lining. I almost wish I had used polished cotton and silk taffeta. It would have been more expensive, but for the amount of work that went into the petticoat it would have been worth it.

I couldn’t really tell from the photos how high the diagonal quilting lines went on the original petticoat, but I had decided to make my petti with a cotton yoke (to reduce bulk) so I made the lines extend all the way up the main body. The wool batting only goes up 2/3 of the body and is a sheet of batting peeled apart to make a thinner layer (I think separated once, and then separated once again to make the batting 1/4 of its original thickness). The yoke is a straight yoke, meaning it is the same circumference as the body of the petticoat (90″).

Before I could begin quilting I partially assembled the petticoat. I sewed 1.5 panels of the 60″ wide red wool flannel together to make a tube 90″ in circumference. I then sewed the cotton sateen on the bottom edge of the petticoat, right sides together, lapping the edges and sewing the last side seam when I reached the end (just like sewing on a faced hem). I laid the red flannel on my ironing board, right side down, and spread my thin layer of batting over it. Then I smoothed up the sateen lining on the wrong side, sandwiching the batting between the two layers of fabric. Using large, sloppy stitches I basted all over the petticoat to hold the three layers in place while I quilted.

To mark the quilting design I used an air and water dissolving marking pencil. I cut the shell pattern out of a sheet of plastic quilting template and just used a ruler for the horizontal and diagonal lines. Since my pencil lines would dissolve after being exposed to the air for awhile I only marked out the section of quilting as I was working on it. I used a large embroidery hoop to hold the petticoat as I was quilting. I chose to go with a contrasting colored thread and used black hand quilting cotton thread that I lightly waxed with bee’s wax. I found a thimble most indispensable!

Since this was my first hand quilted project you can actually see the progression of how my stitches got smaller and neater as I went on.

Quilted Petticoat ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/08/11/quilted-petticoat/) 5

Quilted Petticoat ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/08/11/quilted-petticoat/) 6

After the quilting was finally done, I attached the straight yoke, hand gathered the waist, attached and hand finished the waistband, and put in a buttonhole and china button.

I might still add some wool hem tape to protect the bottom edge and also reset the waistband since I made it (as usual) too large. Overall though I’m quite pleased with the finished results! The wool does a beautiful job insulating and blocking the wind, but since it’s a natural fiber the petticoat is still comfort to wear up to the mid 60s. The three layers and the quilting give the petticoat a nice fullness and when worn under a dress your skirts have that lovely “boof” of the period. Thank you again to Judy for teaching me this practical and beautiful skill!

Quilted Petticoat ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/08/11/quilted-petticoat/) 7

Fabric: wool flannel, wool batting, cotton sateen, pima cotton

Notions: black cotton quilting thread, 1 china button

Pattern: drafted my own

Year: 1840s-1860s

Notions: white cotton thread, black cotton quilting thread, white china button

How historically accurate is it?: The petticoat is constructed using period techniques and the quilting design is taken from an original petticoat. It might have been a tiny bit more accurate to use polished cotton instead of cotton sateen, but I’m satisfied with the authenticity.

Hours to complete: I did the quilting over a period of 1 1/2 years so I have no idea. It’s probably in the 150-200 hour range.

Total cost: about $50

First worn: Snowshoeing in my Civil War garb, and then at the 150th Appomattox reenactment

-Michaela, “The Farming Daughter”

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The “Bess” Bonnet


The Farming Daughter: The "Bess" Bonnet ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/01/13/the-bess-bonnet/)

And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,

When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,   

When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,   

A highwayman comes riding—

         Riding—riding—

A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard.

He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred.   

He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there   

But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,

         Bess, the landlord’s daughter,

Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

-“The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes

The nasty weather we’re having right now has at least one benefit I suppose…inspiring me to finally blog about my new quilted winter hood!

I began this project the beginning of October. I’d actually owned the pattern unused since last year, but I pulled it out hoping to whip up a hood before the Cedar Creek reenactment. Of course that didn’t happen, but c’est le vie. (Actually it’s more my procrastinating self’s fault, when will I learn?)

I used Anna Worden Bauersmith’s Quilted Winter Hood pattern. The pattern offers a regular size and one with a deeper brim. I went with the regular size. I’ve made various winter hoods before, but I love that this particular pattern is less utilitarian in shape and is instead modeled more like the fashion bonnets of the era. The pattern was clear and easy to understand, though I would have liked a few marks or notches to help match the pieces when sewing the bavolet to the crown.

The lining is a cream colored cotton sateen and the batting is wool. For the main fabric I chose a simple and versatile black silk taffeta. I made the bow and ties also from silk taffeta I had on hand. They are just tacked on to the bonnet, so if I get tired of them they can be easily switched out for a fresh color. I discovered the poem The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes while working on this project and didn’t realize until later that I unconsciously made the bonnet from two colors specifically mentioned in the poem!

“Bess, the landlord’s daughter,

Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.”

For that reason I’ve decided to name it my “Bess” bonnet. 🙂

Using some suggestions offered in the pattern and inspiration from Sarah Jane’s version, I came up with a quilting design that pleased me. I quilted it all by hand. At first I didn’t plan on the final row of shell pattern closest to the brim, but I’m glad I added it because I think it balances out the design nicely.

The Farming Daughter: The "Bess" Bonnet ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/01/13/the-bess-bonnet/) 2
Quilted crown design
The Farming Daughter: The "Bess" Bonnet ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/01/13/the-bess-bonnet/) 3
Koda “helping” me quilt
The Farming Daughter: The "Bess" Bonnet ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/01/13/the-bess-bonnet/) 4
Hand quilting

The crown is stiffened with wire to help it hold its shape. The pattern recommends “20 gauge millinery wire”. I honestly have no idea how big that is, so I just used some jewelry wire we had laying around and it seems to work fine.

The Farming Daughter: The "Bess" Bonnet ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/01/13/the-bess-bonnet/) 5
A look inside the hood: all of the raw seams joining the pieces together are finished with a whip stitch
The Farming Daughter: The "Bess" Bonnet ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/01/13/the-bess-bonnet/) 7
Back view

I would definitely recommend this pattern to someone looking for a more refined, fashionable winter hood. The research and clear instructions are wonderful. I was a little leery of the price…$20. I thought that was a little much for a pattern that is basically only three pieces…but then again, the price didn’t dissuade me from purchasing the pattern when I did! I think the printing costs contributed to the higher price and I see that Anna now offers the same pattern as a digital download for the very reasonable price of $7 (you can buy it here). These hoods use so little material now that I have the investment of the pattern already I can see myself making quite a few in different colors!

The Farming Daughter: The "Bess" Bonnet ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2016/01/13/the-bess-bonnet/) 6
The three main pieces: crown, tip, and bavolet

Overall, I’m very pleased with my finished Bess bonnet. I think proper accessories can really help to complete the believable “look” of the period…and they’re great conversation starters with the public! I also love how this piece can easily be incorporated in a wide range of personas. Of course the shape and materials are fine enough for a more well to do impression, but it requires so little fabric that an enterprising farm wife could have easily afforded the small bit of silk required to make herself a nice winter Sunday piece of headwear.

I’ll be excited for the next cold weather event so I can try out my new winter hood! Have you ever sewn a winter hood? Do you have a favorite piece of historic clothing or gear that transcends several social classes?

-Michaela “The Farming Daughter”

Just the basics:

Fabric: black silk taffeta from Originals by Kay, cream cotton sateen from Joann’s, red silk taffeta from Fabrics Universe on Etsy, wool batting

Notions: black cotton quilting thread, 2′ wire

Pattern: “Quilted Winter Hood” by Anna Worden Bauersmith (the pattern is for sale here in her shop)

Year: 1860s

How historically accurate is it?: Fairly good I’d say. The pattern is modeled after designs of original bonnets and all of the construction methods are period correct. The lining should possibly be a printed cotton or a polished cotton instead of cotton sateen. I’m quite pleased with the finished results though!

Hours to complete: 10 maybe?

First worn: Just to try on when finished

Cost: $5 (black silk taffeta), $3 (cotton sateen), $1.5 (red silk taffeta), $2( wool batting) $1 (notions-thread & wire), $20 (pattern)

Total cost (with pattern): $32.50

Total cost (without pattern): $12.50

Angelica Civil War Reenactment

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 1

The biggest Civil War reenactment doesn’t necessarily make the best. While I’ve enjoyed attending the large and exciting sesquicentennial events the past couple of years, this weekend reminded me just how nice the smaller, local events can be too.

Mason, Addison, and I went to the Angelica Civil War reenactment hosted by the 136th NY. The first reenactment I ever participated in was actually this same event four years ago. It was special to be able to come to this event for the fourth time and camp in the exact same spot where my reenacting adventures began! Tenting next to us were also my good friend Emily, her sister Haley, and their friend Aidan.

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 2
We were all very serious…
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 3
…but not for long!
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 26
This was Aidan’s first reenactment! (photo by Emily)

One of the reasons I enjoyed the smaller event size was it afforded better opportunities for interacting with the spectators. On Friday we helped run one of the education stations that local school groups toured. Our station was “Children’s Games and Toys of the 19th Century”. I gave a short talk explaining some the things children during the Civil War entertained themselves with and then we had various toys, including graces, hoop and stick, Jacob’s ladder, drafts, ball and cup, etc., for the kids to play with.

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 3
Our educational station (photo by Emily)

We also ran the same station the next day for the Boy Scout troops that came. I was talking to one of the scouts later and was shocked to learn that they drive each year all the way from Massachusetts for this event!!

I brought the orphan kitten that I’m raising, Koda, to the event. She also had fun playing with the toys!

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 4
(photo by Emily)

The combination of kitten and toys at our camp attracted several children, and Haley, Mason, and Aidan had a nice time playing with them all.

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 20
Bobby was adorable in his accurate 19th century attire
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 21
(photo by Emily)
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 22
(photo by Emily)

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 23

Mason hauling wood like a true 19th century gentleman (photo by Emily)
Mason hauling wood like a true 19th century gentleman (photo by Emily)
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 24
I had a nice time discussing the Battle of Cold Harbor with one of our guys, Mr. John
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 25
Civil War selfie 🙂

Another opportunity I had for sharing some of my knowledge of the period was Saturday afternoon. I was working on preparing a supper of chicken pot pie and a group of spectators stopped by to watch. I was able to have a very nice conversation with them about what I was doing, how my pie differed from an actual 19th century pie (not killing the chicken myself, for one thing), and food preservation during the 19th century. I love how smaller reenactments help you to get “up close and personal” with the public.

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 8
Addie assisting with supper

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 9

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 10
Part of supper cooking

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 11

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 5
Made from scratch chicken pot pie ready to be baked in the dutch oven
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 6
Baked to perfection

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 7

Saturday evening we attended one of our favorite events, the dance! I had asked Addison to do a simpler style for my hair the previous days, but she insisted on making it fancy for the dance. She did a lovely job!

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 12

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 13

I then did Addie’s hair. She has such a large amount of hair, that any style ends up looking epic!

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 14

 

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 15
Sisters ready to dance their shoes off! (photo by Emily)

Every year the dance is held in the Grange building. The low levels of light, crowd of dancers, and wood floors make for the perfect 19th century atmosphere.

The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 16
The dance (photo by Emily)
The Farming Daughter: Angelica Civil War Reenactment New Blog Post (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/09/28/angelica-civil-war-reenactment/) 18
Cooking breakfast Sunday morning (photo by Emily)

Sunday after church I had a lovely time visiting my friends Allison and Stephen at their new sutlery (what the shops in tents at reenactments are called). Allison sold me a lovely belt buckle that perfectly suits my tastes, pretty and nice without being too flashy, and Stephen helped fulfill a dream of mine by selling me my own bound copy of Godey’s!! The book is from 1857 and contains all of the issues of Godey’s Ladies’ Book from that year. I can’t wait until I have some time to sit down and explore it thoroughly!

It was a lovely weekend, and a good reminder that smaller events can be fun too!

Many of the pictures in this post were taken by my friend Emily. Be sure to check out her blog post here about the weekend to see more of her beautiful pictures!

 

-Michaela “The Farming Daughter”

150th Appomattox

150th Appomattox ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/29/150th-appomattox/)

Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, not the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; — was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?

“The Passing of the Armies” by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Last month, Addie and I attended the 150th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Appomattox Court House and the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. It was slightly bittersweet, not only for the events we were portraying, but also because this is one of the last sesquicentennial reenactments. However, we were able to meet up with some reenacting friends, participate in some special scenarios, and in general had a lovely time.

The obligatory photo of Addie’s tresses…her hair is getting so long!

150th Appomattox: Addie's Hair ( https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

When planning our meals I decided I wanted to try something new. Allison had told me about cooking “standing meat pies” at Genesee Country Village and they sounded interesting. Then I found this recipe and video from James Townsend & Sons and decided to give it a try. The crust has the same ingredients as a regular pie crust, but you boil the butter and water and knead the dough vigorously. This makes the crust strong and tough. You can eat it if you choose, but the main purpose is to have a sturdy, portable, individual sized bowl and lid.

150th Appomattox: Standing meat pies (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

James Townsend recommends pork shoulder for the filling, but I used a cubed ham steak instead. I also opted to use unflavored gelatin, a bullion cube, and water for the lear (gravy) instead of a boiled pig’s foot.

h Appomattox: Dinner of standing meat pies (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

I made the pork pies at home, and then we rewarmed them for dinner in the dutch oven. A rather gusty rainstorm came as we were just about to eat, so we hastened to the tent to consume our supper.

150th Appomattox: Eating Dinner (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

This is what happens when your creative little sister is bored being stuck in the tent waiting for the rain to stop…she makes flowers out of her apron.

150th Appomattox: Boredom makes creativity (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Saturday evening we were privileged to participate in a scenario serving rations to the Confederate troops. When the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered the troops had not eaten for several days. General Grant agreed to supply food, and sent 25,000 rations to the starving soldiers. As far as I know, the rations were not fresh ham, soft bread, and hot coffee served by ladies at tables covered in tablecloths, but it was nice to be able to be a part of the event and celebrate the re-union of a divided nation.

150th Appomattox: Feeding the Confederates (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

150th Appomattox: Feeding the Confederates 2 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)
Photo by Julianne Herman

Here is a sketch by British illustrator Alfred Waud, who was actually at the surrender, of Union and Confederate soldiers sharing rations:

150th Appomattox: Sharing rations (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/29/150th-appomattox/)
“The soldiers sharing rations” by Alfred Waud from Library of Congress

After serving rations Addie and I went to the dance. The issue with this reenactment was (like most of the big 150th events) everything was very far away. We counted our steps and it was over 1/4 mile just to walk to the bathrooms and back! There were no shuttles to get to the dance so we had to walk over a mile there and a mile back.

The next morning we had agreed to help repeat the ration scenario at the  Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. After the dance we tumbled into bed around midnight and slept until my abominable alarm jerked us out of our slumber at 4 am. We seriously considered if this was worth waking up for, but we decided it was a once in a lifetime event and hurriedly dressed. It took us exactly 1 hour, which for 2 girls to get fully dressed in 19th century garb, in a tent, in the pitch black, and do our hair was quite a speed record in my opinion!

I thought the park would just be the court house and Wilmer McLean’s house (where the surrender took place) but it’s actually a entire restored village of the town of Appomattox Court House. I highly recommend visiting if you’re ever in the area.
150th Appomattox: Breakfast Rations for the Confederates (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

150th Appomattox: Breakfast Rations for the Confederates 2 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Addie serving coffee:

150th Appomattox: Addie serving coffee (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)
Photo by Julianne Herman

When we returned to camp we ate breakfast and then Addie decided to take a nap. The guys wanted her to come watch the surrender ceremony but she decided she could “only go to some many once-in-a-lifetime events in one day”. I decided I would go though, and hiked another mile to the shuttle that would take us back to Appomattox Court House.

The guys formed up:
150th Appomattox: Our Bucktails (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

I don’t think I can sufficiently describe what the surrender ceremony was like. Part of that is probably because I was wandering around in a sleep-deprived fog, but also because moments like that have to be experienced to be understood. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all of the soldiers who participated. This scenario could have come off as contrived, affected, or hollow, but instead the level of professionalism and focus to authentically recreating the actual event made for an emotionally moving display. Especial thanks is due to the Confederate reenactors. You guys have an incredible knowledge and understanding of what the real Southern soldiers went through, and I’m sure this was difficult for some of you to perform. I saw tears in the eyes of many of both the “boys in gray” and the “boys in blue”.

The Confederates marching up through the Union lines:

150th Appomattox: Confederate surrender ceremony 1 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Forming up into ranks:

150th Appomattox: Confederate surrender ceremony 2 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Stack arms for the last time:

150th Appomattox: Confederate surrender ceremony 3 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Marching away:

150th Appomattox: Confederate surrender ceremony 4 (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

A few of my guys:

150th Appomattox: Our 42nd PA Bucktails (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

Sgt. Clarence:

150th Appomattox: Sgt. Clarence (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)

 

And this is what happens when you dance all night, get only 4 hours of sleep, feed 500 Confederates, and walk 10 miles:

150th Appomattox: Tuckered out (https://thefarmingdaughter.com/2015/05/18/150th-appomattox/)-The Farming Daughter

 

 

(Header photo is the Wilmer McLean house from Library of Congress.) 

150th Battle of the Wilderness

“I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer.”

-General Ulysses S. Grant

 

The Army of the Potomac was once again making its annual push “on to Richmond”. The same ground of Chancellorsville stood to drink the fallen heroes’ blood. Robert E. Lee still waited, determined to beat back the Federal foes. What would make this time any different than the previous attempts?

Two months earlier Lincoln promoted a man to lieutenant general, a rank not held since George Washington. This man had been unsuccessful in almost everything he tried; farmer, clerk, bill collector, real estate, selling wood, all were failures. It was only until he tried his hand at modern war did Ulysses S. Grant succeed. Now in May 1864 Grant would accompany the Army of the Potomac on a mission to finally end the bloody conflict that had started three years before. For the first time the Union army would march south, fight, and instead of retreating, continue onward. Finally the North had an opponent worthy of General Lee.

 

Last weekend Addie, Mason, and I went to a reenactment commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of the Wilderness. This was the first time General Grant and Lee faced each other in battle. For three days 101,895 Union and 61,025 Confederates engaged in intense combat in a tangled, thick, brush-choked area of land fittingly known as “the Wilderness”.

The reenactment was held in the same place as Chancellorsville was last year. On Friday we were able to visit the Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania battlefields again. We also met up with our friends from the Mumford reenactment and Addie and Mason had a great time playing with the kids. I was worried that we might get cold, but Virginia is much warmer than New York! All-in-all it was the perfect start to the reenacting season!

Addie & Mason
Addie & Mason (in their new coats!)

Wilderness 2b

Wilderness 3b

Part of our group: Mr. John, Mr. Doug, Me, Sgt. Clarence, Jimmy, Mason, & Addie
Part of our group at the Chancellor House: Mr. John, Mr. Doug, Me, Sgt. Clarence, Jimmy, Mason, & Addie
Mr. John, one of our soldiers and often times tour guide
Mr. John, one of our soldiers and often times tour guide
The Chancellor's house gave the battle of Chancellorsville its name. All that remains today is the foundation.
The Chancellor’s house gave the battle of Chancellorsville its name. All that remains today is the foundation and part of the front steps.

Wilderness 7

Wilderness 8

Wilderness 9

Catherine's Furnace then
Catherine’s Furnace then (photo from Spotsylvania Memory)
Catherine's Furnace today
Catherine’s Furnace now
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove
Hazel Grove

Wilderness 14

Mason riding a limber box
Mason riding on a limber box

Wilderness 12

Addie loved these compasses that oriented you on the battlefields
Addie loved these compasses that oriented you on the battlefields
Mason and I reading Bivouac of the Dead, chilling poem.
Mason and I reading Bivouac of the Dead by Theodore O’Hara, a very chilling poem!
Cannon at the Bloody Angle
Cannon at the Bloody Angle

Wilderness 16

Wilderness 19

Our Bucktails!
Our Bucktails!

Wilderness 21

The whole gang
The whole gang
Marching off to fight
Marching off to fight
One of the hairstyles I tried on Addie
One of the hairstyles I tried on Addie
Another 'do for Addie
Another ‘do for Addie
Dinner cooking
Dinner cooking
Mason tuckered out (he's actually faking here)
Mason tuckered out
The kids' "pet"
The kids’ “pet”. Better than the ticks we brought home!
Two of our guys were promoted to corporal, so I had to sew on some "chevrons"
Two of our guys were promoted to corporal, so I had to sew on some “chevrons”
Foxy's highly official promotion ceremony, complete with beef jerky! :)
Foxy’s highly official promotion ceremony 🙂
Mason having fun
Mason having fun
Sunset the last night
Sunset the last night

 

-The Farming Daughter

What I Learned This Summer

Well, the official first day of fall is only 5 days away… I hope you all have had a great summer so far! I’ve been a pretty negligent blogger (nothing since Mother’s Day, yikes!). Instead of just giving you a list of what I’ve done in my absence, I decided to tell you about what I’ve learned through the experiences. So without further ado:

WHAT I LEARNED THIS SUMMER

Airports aren’t as scary as I first imagined.

View out the window

Aside from a flight when I was only 3 months old and a ride in our neighbor’s small 2 seater, I’ve never been on an airplane. Since plane tickets for our family would cost a small mint, the chances of me flying were almost nil. It was actually such a remote idea that I had “fly on a commercial airplane” on my bucket list! 🙂 Well, in May I finally got the chance. Emily invited me to accompany her on a visit to her great aunt and uncle who live in California!

To tell you the truth, I was a little apprehensive of navigating an airport “alone” as it was. Thankfully it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. I didn’t get detained at security for accidentally bringing nail clippers, my bags weren’t overweight, and we even managed to make our connecting flight. A bird’s eye view of the wind-turbines near Chicago was awesome, the Sierra Nevada Mountains were breathtaking and the center pivot irrigation systems were really neat!

While in California I learned:

To try new things.

Aunt Carole, Uncle Pooge, Emily, Me in San Francisco Bay
Aunt Carole, Uncle Pooge, Emily, Me in San Francisco Bay

Emily’s Aunt Carole and Uncle Pooge were two of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. They took us everywhere from Muir Woods Giant Redwoods Forest to downtown San Francisco to ride a cable car!  Aunt Carole, especially, encouraged me to be adventurous and try new things, which I did attempt to do. I even ate rattlesnake! (Not that bad actually, kind of tastes like fish) You can see more about our trip on our blog From New York to Cali.

We spent a wonderful 2 weeks in California before coming home again. I had a few weeks respite, during which time we had two wonderful visits from relatives. At the end of June Addison and I had the opportunity to attend the 150th Anniversary Gettysburg Reenactment. During which I learned:

Don’t allow the weather or circumstances out of your control to prevent you from having a good time. 

Of course it was very hot and muggy, but we still had a wonderful time. And although we weren’t able to connect with Emily we did meet up with several other friends that we only get to see at reenactments. I also discovered that the inside of your tent stays drier if you tie the flaps closed, don’t ask me how I know!

One of the only pictures I have from Gettysburg. Our camp was right in the middle of the woods! (And yes, there's a plastic water bottle in the pic, it was before the event  officially started.)
One of the only pictures I have from Gettysburg. Our camp was right in the middle of the woods! (And yes, there’s a plastic water bottle in the pic, it was before the event officially started 🙂 )

In July Addie and I went on another trip together called Love Buffalo. Several hundred teens and adults from different denominational churches across the country teamed up for a week of service in inner-city Buffalo. It was such a great opportunity to

Put my faith in action

James 2:15-17 says that “If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to him, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you don’t give them what the body needs , what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.”

Climbing ladders, scraping siding, and brushing on paint may seem like small enough tasks, but I believe that when done in the name of Jesus Christ He multiplies our poor offerings a hundred times over and uses them to bless people and show them His love.

I also learned about overcoming/not being held back by my fear of heights as I climbed ladders 2 1/2 stories up!

Scraping paint
Scraping paint (I’m wearing the brown shirt on the ladder)

Each night we ate a different authentic ethnic meal. Aunt Carole would be proud to know that I boldly tried all of it and enjoyed it! 😉

Ethiopian dinner
Ethiopian dinner
Burmese dinner
Burmese dinner
Peruvian dinner
Peruvian dinner
Thai dinner
Thai dinner

As soon as we came home from Love Buffalo it was off to my favorite reenactment of the year, Genesee Country Village’s Civil War weekend. This time I had the chance to

Share my passion with others.

Along with Addie, my little brother Mason came with us! His 10th birthday was only 2 weeks before the event so for his present we got him a set of authentic clothes! It was so much fun having my own little family there with me. We were able to camp with some friends we met there last year and it was such a blessing! Mason hit it off with their boys and was soon playing mock battles with them. Our tent was even converted into a hospital where Addie and Kezia performed “amputations” on their brothers!

Little soldier boys: Josiah, Mason, Asa and Gage
Little soldier boys: Josiah, Mason, Asa and Gage
Nurse Kezia and Surgeon Josiah prepare to operate on Mason!
Nurse Kezia and Surgeon Josiah prepare to operate on Mason!

I hope you all had a wonderful summer as well! Did you go on any exciting adventures or learn something new? Enjoy the last five days until Autumn!

This last one just because I can, she's adorable, and God is good!
This last one just because I can, she’s adorable, and God is good!

 

-The Farming Daughter

 

 

150th Chancellorsville

Camp

The A-frame tent drying on the lawn. The fluffy white piles of petticoats and chemises waiting to be washed. The soft scent of wood smoke that still faintly lingers in my room. All are reminders of another great reenactment that has come and gone. I had such an awesome time that in a way it’s almost sad to come back, but it is also wonderful to be home again.

This event was for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville held in Spotsylvania, Virginia. I had a great time visiting the original battlefields, hanging out at camp, and meeting new people. The awesome part was, I was able to do it all with my little sister Addison and my Civil War sister, Emily!

the trio (right before the ball)
the trio right before the ball (Addison, Emily, Me)

Contrary to popular belief it is possible to fit three girls and all their accouterments in one tent 🙂 .

2 cots, 3 girls. Guess who got the ground? :)
2 cots, 3 girls. Guess who got the ground? 🙂 I actually didn’t mind.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was definitely visiting the original battlegrounds with our personal tour guide, Mr. John (one of our guys). I learned so much about the Battle of Chancellorsville (which has been called Lee’s most brilliant victory) and was able to see the actual places where it happened at the same time!  If you want to learn more about the battle yourself I highly recommend this website here.  Since we were so close we were also fortunate enough to visit Spotsylvania Court House and the Wilderness as well.

Civil War Sisters at Chancellorsville (Me, Addie)
Civil War Sisters at Chancellorsville (Me, Addie)

Another highlight was hanging out with our group, known as “the Bucktails”, at camp and just listening to the guys’ stories.

cooking breakfast
cooking breakfast

And of course the ball was lovely! I’ve never been to one with such a large band, you could almost call it an orchestra! It was held outdoors, which was also unique. I danced until me feet ached with a very nice partner that I met there, so I was very happy!

the ball
the ball

Now, none of the pictures in this post are mine. Like the goose I am, I plugged our camera in to charge so it would be ready for the trip and promptly forgot about it. Thankfully Emily never forgets her camera and graciously allowed me to use some of her great shots. The condition was, that you all promise to go see the rest of the awesome pictures she took at Chancellorsville on her blog 🙂 .

Ok, so I did take at least one picture that has to do with this post… After the event I had to set the tent up on the lawn to dry at home, so we decided to have a picnic!

these Rebel soldiers dine in a captured tent on provisions they foraged from a near by farm house...
these Rebel soldiers dine in a captured tent on provisions they foraged from a near by farm house…