I have been a historic re-enactor for just under forty years. Stating with the American Revolutionary War 1776-84 recreating an American Loyalist Regiment with the King’s Royal Regiment of New York. Then forming my own group, Captain Joseph Brant’s Volunteers. Following by French and Indian War 1754-63 with the New York Provincial Regiment. Then moving on to War of 1812 starting with the North West Company which I also formed. However after thirty years of carrying a musket, I found I had to reinvent the hobby for myself. So I gave up my musket for a camera.
For the last nine years I have photographed the War of 1812 events that I used to participate in while carrying a musket. This has given me an interesting view of the hobby as well as perspective on what history re-enacting is and has meant to me.
The hobby, while mostly geared to the military, is more than just people running around playing at big chief runamuck war game. The people who join the hobby share a love of history with many trying to recreate a snap shot of the history of the time period. Re-enactors come from all walks of life representing a wide spectrum of people. All with various levels of education as well as interest. I have met many who barely finished high school but could compete with any university trained professor of history on a wide number of historic topics. I have met blue collar workers rubbing elbows with white collar professionals along with university students to senior citizens. All have an interest and love of history.
Mostly what I’ve met are some of the best friends I have ever know. I have met two wives in the hobby, my children have participated from a very early age. I have travelled to a number of history sites and stood in places where great events unfolded. I have felt the ghosts that haunt those place as well as touched the things our ancestors made. And for a brief time I have had the privilege of very briefly touching the lives of our ancestors as I have studied our past.