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More on the armies of re-enactors who help recreate history.
More from Gwen on reenactors.
History Detectives relies on a mix of seasoned experts and inquisitive amateurs to bring our stories to life, but few do it as colorfully or as passionately as that band of weekend warriors known as reenactors.
Today, war reenactment has become a wildly popular pastime.
It's estimated that over 200,000 Americans participate in re-enactments every year.
While all periods of U.S. history are represented, by far the most popular is the Civil War.
Much of this has to do with the aura of romanticism and tragedy intimately linked to that all-American conflict.
In addition, beautifully preserved battlefields, such as Gettysburg, give reenactors an authentic locale to play out their fantasies, and for many, authenticity is of paramount importance.
They only buy uniforms made of cloth manufactured during the war.
They eat and sleep just as the soldiers did, and they even refuse to wear any item not yet invented by the time of the battle, even something as simple as a safety pin.
For outsiders, these rules may seem excessive, but for the dedicated reenactors, such guidelines are like a time machine that can help transport them, along with the hundreds of thousands of spectators who gather to watch them, back to the defining moments in U.S. history
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