The Reenactor's Dictionary
by Jonah Begone
"Amenities Provided": a lack of firewood, wet straw, indescribable food and port-a-johns that runneth over.
"Authentics only": a phrase used in the ads for every reenactment event, whether attended by farbs or not.
Auto-rest: what the company goes into when the officer giving the commands neglects to say "order arms, in place rest" during frequent extended drill discussions with other officers.
Breastworks: the stuff that terrible nineteenth-century puns are made from.
Camp furniture: unintentionally collapsible things to sit or lay on.
Confederate camp: that field full of A-tents.
Confederate cavalry: the guys shooting off revolvers and yelling "yahoo" who try to wake you up in the morning.
Corps badges: fuzzy objects on the tops of forage caps, seen at 1861-1865 reenactment events.
Dixie Springfield: the ones without the front sight.
Event sponsor: depending on who you believe, the people making a lot of money or never coming out even.
"First-person impression": when guys sound like Si Clegg or the Lucky Charms Leprechaun.
Galvanized Yank: the guys in camp that get upset about Stonewall Jackson jokes.
Greatcoat: that bulky sky-blue thing that hibernates in your knapsack all summer and only comes out for Remembrance Day at Gettysburg.
Heel plates: sort of an authentic Wham-O Slip 'N Slide.
Historical Society: those older people wearing the polyester dresses and uniforms.
Hollywood: the Tailored Look. Used interchangeably with the term "farby." Also, where the queenish producers and camera crews at historical mini-series filmings come from.
Living Historian: presumably, any historian that is still breathing.
Living History event: where you sit around and eat a lot. Attended by real Living Historians.
Local event: you don't fall asleep at the wheel on the way home.
Massengill: reenacting Satan or Savior, depending upon who you believe. Before 125th Bull Run this name had other connotations.
North-South Skirmish Association: the nation's largest collection of authentic campers and Winnebagos.
"No set camps tactical" a good excuse to call in sick Monday morning.
Paid event: Where we get the phrase "Maximum Effort Event" from. Has restroom facilities.
"Pop" history: learned by viewers of "North and South."
The Public: the people who ask why, if this was a battlefield, there are no bullet holes in the monuments.
Reenactment season: when the afternoon high is in the 80s or low 90s with 80-90% humidity. Events held during May or September have special designations: "fire and ice events" (hot during the day and cold at night).
Registration deadline: something that's strictly adhered to only in the event sponsor's fondest dreams.
"Right Shoulder Shift": the command that precedes "At the Double-Quick..."
Safety inspection: slight verification that the rifle you fired safely all day yesterday will fire safely today. Always held on Sundays.
Shelter half: one half of a good way to get wet and uncomfortable.
Staff officers: the possible future of the National Regiment.
"Start taking hits!" what you hear when the guys in charge figure it's about time to wrap it up.
"Steak-in-a-Sack": the taste discovery of the Quasquicentennial.
Sutler: one of the reasons why we now have the Better Business Bureau and consumer protection laws.
Tactical event: restroom al fresco.
Troop pass: that unused, wadded-up piece of paper you find Sunday evening when you get home and empty out your pockets.
"Weather permitting": the event will be cancelled if more than 6" of rain and 3" of mud appears.