Posted on 3/7/2018
Official Statement by the New England Brigade
Last summer and fall (2017) protests against Confederate monuments and other monuments to men connected to slavery extended to Civil War reenactments. Much comment was made that symbols of the Confederacy … Confederate battle flag, statues, monuments … belong in a history museum not in public areas of display. It is important to understand that Civil War reenactments are living history museums.
Civil War reenacting is about remembering the past, not the promotion of modern agendas and beliefs. The purpose of Civil War reenactments and living history displays is to bring to people the memory of a time when the United States was so divided the country was almost destroyed. Over 600,000 Americans died to settle their divisions. Both North and South were Americans. The result was the destruction of slavery, the foundation of future civil rights for many in the 14th and 15th amendments, and a stronger, united country.
Civil War reenactors are focused on remembering this divided time, and in the current feeling of division in our country to remind all where such division can take us. Reenactors hope more than anything that a living history display or a battle reenactment will spark a few of the thousands that view them each year, both young and old, to further research on the causes, experience and consequences of the Civil War.
So, the flags and uniforms at a Civil War living history event or battle reenactment are being displayed in a museum, a mobile living history museum, and, as any museum, the purpose is to educate and inspire those who view it to appreciate and understand history, even the darker episodes. It is perhaps the darkest episodes, the most divisive episodes in history, that we must truly remember.