Saturday, September 5, 2009

At this camp, no women or store-bought food

A private in the 19th Alabama Infantry Regiment still only earns $13 a month.

About enough for a Kroger steak and a few Snickers bars, right?


Inflation never happens at Co. I of the 19th, which is based in Huntsville and is part of Rambo’s Brigade.

The unit, which is camped in the tree line at the Battle of Atlanta this weekend, tends toward the “campaigner” style of re-enacting.

Women aren’t allowed to stay in the camp. Instead of big A-frame tents, the boys of the 19th sleep under a rain fly or in dog (pup) tents. Enlisted men in the Confederate regiment must report their whereabouts to noncoms and officers.

They are issued rations paid for by script (left), a form of money.

Capt. Robert Nichols, who lives in Fort Campbell, Ky., says members of the 19th earn their pay by attending events and fulfilling other functions.

The quartermaster has a stock of Civil War-era goods, including dried corn, staples, coffee and canned goods "captured from the Yankees."

I was impressed by the authenticity of the camp. Ice was stored in a cracker box, water was in old containers and all personal items are styled after the period. The captain concedes hygiene in the new 19th is a little better than in the old days.

“We’re not perfect but we are better than most,” Nichols said of his camp’s historic appearance.

Occasionally, members of the unit walk across a broad field to the sutler area at Nash farm to enjoy fry bread and cold drinks.

“We call that ‘going to town,’” Nichols said.

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