When I was living in Brooklyn, I can honestly say the Civil War never, ever came up in conversation. Here in Roanoke, Virginia, I am reminded of it practically every day in some way. With some of the derogatory comments I've experienced being a "Damn Yankee" and an "Eyetalian" at that, I think some folks feel like they're still fighting it. In New York, I can't remember ever hearing about Civil War re-enactments, but down here there's a whole cottage industry surrounding it.
Recently I was at Appomattox National Park, which houses the spot where Lee surrendered to Grant. Of course down here in the South, many don't like to call it "surrendering." I've had some folks tell me Lee just asked Grant to hold his sword. I laughed thinking it was a joke, but apparently to them it wasn't. I find it best to ignore those type of folks.
Anyway, during this visit to the South's surrender spot, ooops, I mean to "where the country was brought together" spot, they were having a Civil War re-enactment. Well, really more of an encampment, since there wasn't any battle waging going on, but a small demonstration.
The guys I spoke with were all pretty cool, although I think they could have stayed in character like the annoying people do at those Renassaince Festivals do. There was one little boy, but there weren't any women to be found, not even a wench. Oh wait, wrong time period.
The guys showed us where they slept, and what they ate, although I seriously doubted they held the hard biscuit in a ziplock bag. They showed us the ways they carried their guns and they even let us hold them...very heavy!
I found out some of these re-enactors travel all over the state and beyond participating in Civil War events with their "authentic" replica uniforms, equipment and rifles. I don't think there's a union, but there probably is some sort of organization you can contact if you're interested in participating. They did mention they are always looking for Union soldiers since no one wants to be one. Funny thing...no matter how many times they re-enact the war, the outcome is still the same.
That last shot was the Rebel Yell. Here's the Rebel Yell I prefer...