(Gettysburg) -- Cannon fire echoed through the thick morning air on McPherson Ridge at 8 o’clock, July 1st 2013 – just as it did 150-year ago. This time however, scores of tourists and history buffs recorded every shot with their smart phones and cameras.
Bill Smith of Ellwood City in western Pennsylvania is used to the attention. The Captain of the 19th Ohio Artillery has been reenacting for 33-years. Smith calls it an honor to simulate the first shots of the Battle of Gettysburg, and proudly explains that two of their five cannons are originals. “They were in the Civil War,” Smith says. “They were built in 1862.”
Smith will be reenacting nine battles over the next five days.
But this is Hillary Greco’s first encampment with the 142nd Pennsylvania Infantry. Hailing from Long Island, New York, she's supporting her husband – just like she would have done in a different era. “[The wives] did the cooking, they were taking care of the families and everything else while the men went out to the battle.”
It’s early in the first day of Greco’s first encampment, and already she has a new appreciation for the women of 1863. “Instead of throwing on sneakers, shorts and a top, you had to go through the whole ritual,” Greco says. “Everything has to be covered, you can’t show your ankles, your neck has to be covered up until 6pm.” Greco will try to live as closely to 19th century standards as possible, and trusts her fellow reenactors will do the same.
The second of two major sesquicentennial battle reenactments will take place July 4th – 7th at Redding Farm.
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