Category Archives: Civil War

General catch all for Civil War era

Come play with us!

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Come play with us!

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Just a quick update to let you know we will be setting up at the Vista, CA event this weekend – March 8/9. The event takes place at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, 2040 N. Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA. Call for directions 760/941-1791, or go to Gold Coast Festivals for more information! That link will take you directly to the Vista page. We are very excited to visit our friends, immerse ourselves in history, and teach doll making and home making to all visitors who stop by. Hopefully we will see you, too!

Prado success, on to Costa Mesa

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What makes an award look even better? Two cute little girls holding it!

What makes an award look even better? Two cute little girls holding it!

We introduced a new “room” to our household at Prado – a wall tent as our bedroom – so our full household now features a kitchen, parlour, children’s play room and bedroom. It was a lot to set up, but the hard work paid off and we took 1st Place as the Most Authentic Civilian Camp for the second time. Squeee!

When we set up at Costa Mesa we will be just a diminutive version of our household, with a fly and small tent, but we will have our bookshop, and will be teaching handcrafts. Hope you will come out and join us!

2013 Season

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The 2013 Season for us is beginning this weekend at the Prado Park Civil War Encampment, Prado Regional Park, Chino, CA! We are excited to expand our household a little bit with the addition of a tent/bedroom, and we plan to camp over the weekend. We will have displays of children’s games and activities, the household, and our little bookshop with all original work available for a small donation.

This event is a fundraiser to support a Boy Scout Eagle program and people in scout uniforms get into the event for $2 – this includes Girl Scouts and leaders. So if you are a Daisy or an Eagle, wear your uniform and enjoy the day! Admission to the park is $10 per car and helps the park continue to provide space for great historical events like this one, camping, park and fishing facilities for the general public, and much more for the enhancement of the area.

Click over to the Southern California Civil War Association (SCCWA) website for more details. See you there!

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To Mrs. McCoy
New York, New York

My dear friend,

How good it was to visit with you during your stay in Mrs. Brewer’s lovely home. I could readily see that you are in good looks and vibrant health. I do hope your travels have not been too strenuous, that you found all well at home and hearth when you arrived, and that you are now exulting in the comfort of your own surroundings.

What a shame it is that the weather turned cold during your sojourn here. Though we were unable to sit on the veranda and admire Mrs. Brewer’s beautiful and colorful garden, the warmth of friendship more than made up for the lack of warmth in the air. It is always a pleasure to chat with friends over a cup of tea, whether indoors or out.

Our bookshop suffered a bit of a downturn this past weekend, when battle was engaged closer than ever to our town. The situation seemed almost intolerable what with the relentless din of the rifles, the great explosions from the cannons, and the thunder of the cavalry charging into the fray. Many townsfolk fled in anticipation of an invasion by the enemy, but our valiant soldiers protected us from such an awful fate, and the people returned to their homes safe and sound.

You will be pleased to know that we have taken your ideas to heart and developed new crafts to teach the younger members of our clientele. We were unable to test their popularity because of the recent unpleasantness, but we hope to soon see great success with their addition to our little shop. We expect another opportunityto test them out quite soon.

Please give my all my best to your loving husband, and best of luck with the rose bushes this summer.

In friendship and all sincerity,

Mrs. Marshall

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My dear Mrs. McCoy,

I am overjoyed that you and and your husband will be traveling to our home this spring for a visit. It has been  quite some time since last you were here. I greatly miss our time together with us so far apart. Letters are just not the same as you sitting in my parlour for a good gossip! The days are quite pleasant and the garden is just beginning to bloom. If weather permits, perhaps we will enjoy afternoon tea on the veranda during your visit.

I pray for your safe journey to our little town. Our townspeople fervently hope that we will have a rail stop in the not so distant future. If that should happen, it will improve travel quite significantly and bring much needed business to our community. But as with all things, the war has put such on hold and we must be patient.

I read in the newspaper that the armies are moving in such a way that there may be skirmishing nearby – but do not fear! We should be safe and away from any battle that may erupt. Last year there was a bit of a fuss and we did leave the house for a bit. We returned to see only a broken window or two. Some of the townspeople ventured to the hillside where there was an impressive view of the battle taking place in the nearby meadows. If trouble does move our way, I have confidence that our good soldiers will keep our neighborhood safe from the enemy.

If the army camps nearby, there the sutlers will follow with wares of all types for sale or barter.Their prices are so terribly inflated! But, what can we do? They import luxuries that are difficult to obtain in these tumultuous times. Oh! how I long for French Lavendar to mix in my soaps. But I must not complain, for we are are not behind the blockade. I have heard rumours of the many difficulties in obtaining even the barest necessities in places wasted by battle.

Both Mrs. Marvel and Mrs. Marshall wish me to send their good wishes for safe travel. They hope to join us for tea one afternoon during your stay, if business at the bookshop will allow. Business there has been quite steady in spite of the war. Many come to us for the latest news of the battles. I also believe that some look for escape from their daily woes within the pages of a book.

We are keeping ourselves together quite well. I look forward to seeing you soon.

Fondly,

Mrs. Caroline Brewer

Education

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Recently we were asked to put together an educational program for a senior center. Mrs Brewer (aka Kathy) contacted some of our friends in the Civil War reenacting community to find out if they would be interested and available. Due to the very busy 2011 season, it took us almost a year to get this date on the calendar! But once we had our program finalized, we were very excited because we had a very well rounded program.

Widow Peters discussed Victorian Mourning

Sergeant Pavitch speaking on weapons and military life

Mrs Marvel discusses infant clothing

Mrs Marshall spoke on Victorian etiquette

Mrs Brewer coordinated the program

All in all it was a fabulous program with many many questions and quite a large number of people who lingered afterwards to view artifacts and talk to the speakers. For me, the best part of the event was hearing that my four-year-old daughter had been speaking to one of the guests who was handling an antique photo album and said “we aren’t allowed to touch but we can look.” I must be doing something right!

Be sure to view our photo stream on Flickr by clicking here or on the thumbnails over on the right. We can put together an educational program for you too…just let us know!

The Spring Campaign Has Begun

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April 1861

Dearest Mother,

I write to let you know that we are safe. The fighting came close to town as the Union boys are quite infused with the fervor to trounce the Confederates quickly and send them back home. We were saddened to see many of our good friends forced from their homes and living in small tents and lean tos to keep themselves away from the danger of stray bullets and cannon fire. We had set up our bookshop and unloaded our parlour furniture by the side of a small country lane in the town of Prado, where we camped overnight with the Bowlins, the Coffins, and several others as neighbors.

The tide of civilians wandering toward the action was good for our business as those not yet shocked by the explosions of cannon fire and the destruction of muskets were still in a festive air. Soon they returned past our small camp, sombered by the great loss of life and the threat to our Union, yet willing to acquire a book of poetry or patriotic songs to gird their spirits.

And yet through this deep sadness and fear we found the camaraderie of good friends and family. The children played on the old living room rug thrown down on the ground with blocks and dolls, while Sister and Mrs. Marshall and I entertained one another as best we could by reading aloud and singing songs. Widow Peters and her niece found their way to our humble shelter and assured us that even though the armies are involved in death while on the field, they quickly find their way to her mercantile and others to spend their wages on trinkets for loved ones at home and the necessities for daily living. This I take as a good sign that this engagement will be one of few and the war quickly settled.

Once the armies passed on from our location we were able to return to our home, to find it had but one broken window and a few extra holes for ventilation that cannot be found on the original plans. A traveling photographer passed through as well and I am just received of the enclosed photographs which were delivered with to days letters.

Stay well, Mother, for I send you our love. Should the battles wander close to home perhaps you could retire to Aunt Elizabeth’s home in Pennsylvania.

Your loving daughter,

Mattie

Mrs Marshal and Mr Hendon

Your granddaughter outshines me

Miss Rachel Bingham and Logan Bingham

Melody sits quietly with a snack