Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Civil War, with Cocktails


The Handsome Husband has long been a Civil War history buff, so it was an easy step for him to become involved with the Friends of the Ulysses S. Grant Cottage State Historic Site in nearby Wilton, NY.  Last night, we attended a fundraiser at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs which was a benefit for the Friends groups for both sites. As we arrived, we were greeted by members of the 77th Regimental Balladeers, above, piping and drumming us in to the cocktail hour. (I found myself walking in step to the music as we approached. It was hard not to.)

Mixed among the dinner crowd were reenactors of every stripe, so to speak. A couple of gentlemen were dressed in Zouave uniforms, like the one above. Who knew some American Civil War soldiers wore fezzes and turbans and baggy pants? Not I. You can read more about Zouaves and "Zouave Fever" here.

There were also more familiar uniforms, as below, to be seen among the crowd.
Mark Twain was among the guests (aka, John Pogson.)
There was a silent auction with many items to tempt a Civil War buff...

... and lovely ladies in hoop-skirted period dress.

The Balladeers performed through the dinner hour. Our friend, Gisella Montanez-Case, pictured in the center, below, sang a moving version of Nearer, My God, to Thee.

I enjoyed the evening and recommend visiting both Grant Cottage, located on Mount McGregor in Wilton, NY, and the NYS Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY, (current exhibit, Civil War units.)  In these cash-strapped times, both of these sites welcome  both volunteers and financial help through their Friends organizations.  Check them out.

On this 4th of July weekend, giving a thought or two to those who have served, fought, or died to keep this a free and independent nation seems like the right thing to do. Thank you, Molly, Jason, James M., James F., and David. Rest in peace, Ben Osborn.