The Civil War Muster
"farby" moments I noticed at the annual Civil War Muster.
Muster visitors can observe a typical day in the lives of Civil War soldiers, of whom Michigan contributed some 90,000. After morning drills, a parade of soldiers marched over the Cross Street Bridge to a rations wagon near the Freight House. Union soldiers stacked their arms tepee style and lined up for sandwiches and fruit. They chatted with interested onlookers, whose T-shirts seemed slovenly in comparison with the befrilled, fitted dresses and dainty parasols sported by ladies clustered here and there.
I chatted with Karena Cabla from Tecumseh, who confided, "It takes me more than half an hour to get dressed." She enumerated her clothes: corset, bloomers, hoops, underskirt, skirt, undershirt, blouse, snood, leggings, garters . . . Her apparently "hard core" fiancé had convinced her to become a reenactor and to do the details right. (There are many levels of intensity in Civil War reenacting: while a farb might throw together a uniform from stuff around the house, some hard-core reenactors insist on exhaustive historical authenticity to the point of soaking buttons in urine to achieve the proper aged patina.)