Back in my room at the B&B, and asking myself if I shouldn’t be so anti-social while I’m here. But then I remind myself that I’m an introvert, I have a ton of work to do, and I really don’t want to mingle anyway. Maybe I’ll go down for tea, later. Maybe. (Edit: Socialized this morning with some lovely people and enjoyed myself! 10 points to Hufflepuff?) 😛
Today was exhausting, but great! Information overload, to be sure. I had a CD for a self-guided auto tour. I’m proud that I stuck with it as long as I did, because I’m an impatient person and was just ready to hop out and take pictures and read the plaques myself. The guide came with a book as well, so I can revisit it and the CD later.
I hit almost every one of the tour stops, mostly searching for markers of regiments and brigades from western Pennsylvania. The plan is to use one (or more) to follow through the course of the war, using the details of what their soldiers experienced as a vague pattern for my characters, and what they will go through. Took some great pictures (thanks to Mom’s awesome camera) for reference later. There were so many neat places that I could just “see” Saoirse, or Westleigh, or any of the Dove Hollow boys. Looking forward to sitting down and figuring out how I’m going to be using all of this research.
There’s been only one real downside to this trip so far. From the handful of people I’ve spoken with (other tourists mostly, men and women) that I’ve dared mention what I’m writing about–a female soldier–I’ve received negative reactions. “Politely dismissive” is probably the best I could call them. At worst, one individual more than implied that the decline of the “family friendly” atmosphere of the reenacting community was due to the emergence of female soldier reenactors. (Now, while I am sure there are probably a few women who aren’t giving respect to their impressions, or to the history, there are just as many men, if not more, who aren’t either!)
This sexist attitude shouldn’t be a total shock to me. My captain, from my short time as a reenactor, warned me there are many who refuse to accept the fact that women (disguised as men) fought in the war at all. I remember being shocked when he told be there would be some who would try to keep me from attending one particular event entirely, and I had to keep my head down and stay close to him. The bright side of that was it gave me a slightly more realistic feeling of what it would have really been like to be a woman soldier, but sexism is not something I particularly want to experience, thank you very much.
I could go on about how mistaken they are about women soldiers another time–talk about the research that has been done, list the books on the subject–and I will do so in a future post. Suffice to say, yes, it did happen, and probably more than we think for at least one simple reason: not all of these women were found out.
Tomorrow I’m heading to Fredericksburg, with possible stops along the way at Antietam and/or Brandy Station, depending on the time.
Keep you posted!