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A look at re-enactors who dutifully show up to mark sesquicentennial battles of the Civil War
Union soldiers fall at Trench Hill in Fredericksburg during
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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That morning, first-year re-enactors Karin and Karina Mendoza of King George County portrayed Fredericksburg women who resisted Union troops looting homes on Sophia Street.
The mother and daughter, both wearing hoop skirts, enjoyed the repartee with soldiers, who arrested two of their cohorts for refusing to relinquish their sidearms.
"They searched us but they didn't find this," said Karina, 18, fishing a black vial bearing a skull and crossbones out of her petticoat.
"It's just water," she explained, laughing.
Her younger brother Douglas, 13, has been taking part in re-enactments for five years, even though he is only 12. Dressed in a Confederate cavalry uniform, he has a business card that identifies him as a Pvt. Mendoza, Civil War Re-enactor.
Last weekend, he got to portray Gen. Pickett's aide de camp.
"I like all wars but mainly this one," he told a reporter. When asked why, he answered: "The Napoleonic tactics."
Young soldiers like Douglas give Schaffner hope that the hobby will survive the war's 150th anniversary, after which many baby boomers will likely hang up their boots.
Schaffner started 12 years ago, after a friend of his brother's told him about it.
"I thought, some day I'll try that. Then I realized, some day better be today if I want to wear wool in summer."
Kevin Kirkland, an editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, worked at The Free Lance-Star in the late 1980s and was sometimes asked if he was related to Sgt. Kirkland. He's not. He returned to Fredericksburg to cover the re-enactment. Contact him at kkirk firstname.lastname@example.org.