Read the latest dispatch from the What's It Wagon

11 Jul 2010 Gettysburg

19 Feb 2002 Olustee

27 Jan 2002 Alafia Mountain Man Rendezvous

19 Jan 2002 Brookesville Reenacment

21 Feb 2001 Battle of Olustee 2001

27 Jan 2001 Alafia Mountain Man Rendezvous

19 Jan 2001 Bitter Weather Makes Reenacting A Chilling Experience

23 Oct 2000 Hunsader's Revisited

16 Oct 2000 The Photographist

04 May 2000 Off to the Ancient City

31 Mar 2000 Cow Cavalry Wedding at Hunsader's Farm

21 Feb 2000 Front Lines at the Battle of Olustee, Florida

12 Feb 2000 Return From The 1840s

19 Jan 2000 Mountain Man Rendezvous, Alafia, Fla.

19 Jan 2000 Brookesville Raid Reenactment Brookesville, Fla.

03 Jul 1998 Mountain Man Rendezvous, Fla.


Brookesville, Fla.

19 Jan 2002

Dear Steve. I am back from the 1860s and gearing up the time machine to carry me back to the 1840s and earlier as of Thursday. The weather has been warmer than anticipated. This has caused us to have an unusual amount of heavy sea fog. It is supposed to rain at the event Friday and then turn colder.

Lying in the wagon I thought of my girlfriend and wondered how she was spending the evening back home safe from the elements and the wandering soldier patrols. In the background I could hear the strains of the 97th regimental string band singing, "Goodnight Sweetheart." It made me really think how wonderful it was to relive history and still be safe from the horrors of war as they were really lived.

Friday was a slow photography job day. I ran around and looked at the sutlers' stores. They are the ones who sell the goods reenactors need to conduct their hobby. They sell everything from ladies' ball gowns to men's uniforms on both the Confederate and Union side, to lanterns and period eating utensils. I bought a couple of different styled straw hats. One is a huge plantation straw, the other one like those warn by the Amish. They served me well for the brilliant sun on Saturday.

Saturday was a fairly slow day as well. I did only three jobs. I did meet a fellow from C.B.S. who flew down to interview me for a feature on people who do my kind of photography. I probably will wind up on the cutting room floor, but it is nice to be considered.

Sunday, someone must have thought photography was going to go out of style. He must have then told anyone interested in having their picture taken ought to have it done at once! My camera was smoking for hours. I did pictures of a Confederate Naval contingent, the Federal Officer's corp, and Union surgeons and their camp. This doesn't take into consideration all the individuals I photographed including engagement portraits and the like.

Of course, it's nice to make money for my work, but the real thrill is trying to capture the historic feeling of the originals. There is a story I could make up as a writer for each shot that I took, Today, I am going to be working in the darkroom mixing chemistry to develop the plates I shot on location. This needs to be precise so all the negatives come out sharp and clear. Then there will be days spent printing each picture carefully and toning them to look like the originals.

It was fun to have the spectators come by and say, "This must have been one of the pictures you took. I recognize the fellow standing over there. But the other ones taken at the fort over there...those are originals aren't they?" I say, "Sure are, done by me, last year!" It always gets a smile of approval and "A job well done."

I sure could have used extra help to take the orders on Sunday. Doug, my apprentice, and worked as fast as we could until 2:30 when he went off to join the battle. I stayed behind with the wagon... seen one battle, seen them all.

Now it's time to gear up for travels to the center of Florida and the buckskinners with their Indian teepees and buffalo steak and the like. Again I wish you could share the fun adventure with me and walk beneath the stars at night up to the big bonfire and all the people doing the frontier dancing. We'd give the ladies a whirl and then lift the jug of "shine" to join the fellers from the Red Brigade. These are the boys in their long johns who raid the camps begging for more of the jug o' punch.

I took many pictures to show you, but I'm so busy now getting ready to process the work I did throughout the weekend, it may be a while until I can get to putting them into format to send.

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