History Hour

Turns Out Twitter Is a Pretty Decent Place for a Civil War Reenactment

All the fun of reenacting, minus the heat and hard-tack biscuits.
(Kansas Humanities)

(KansasHumanities.org)

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War is ongoing, but the actual commemorations are a pretty mixed bag. Gettysburg got not one but two reenactments in early July, but New York’s draft riots passed with barely a peep.

Well, Boing Boing reports that one group has an unusual means of marking one infamous, bloody chapter called Quantrill’s Raid: A reenactment on Twitter.

Residents of Lawrence, Kansas are hanging out at the public library today, tweeting from the perspective of various participants and witnesses. The Washington Post says the idea started with reporters wondering what it’d be like to listen in on police scanners, before evolving to Twitter.

Beats the hell out of braving summer heat in historically accurate costumes, that’s for sure.

The historical background: On August 21, pro-slavery guerrillas sympathizing with the Confederacy (called bushwackers) launched an attack on abolitionist Lawrence, Kansas, possibly as an act of retribution for another skirmish; there’s a reason they called it “Bleeding Kansas.” More than a hundred men and boys were killed and most of the town was torched.

Unfortunately, it can be tough to depict the horrors of war via Twitter:

It’s definitely had its moments, though:

The biggest problem with this advancement in reenactment technology, however, is that it could wholly disrupt the journalistic cottage industry around gawking at reenactments.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com