"War Buffs: How the Rebels Yell"

(from 3/25/96 Newsweek, page 8) Buzzwords by Carla Koehl

Every weekend, whole armies of Civil War buffs reenact battles from Shiloh to Gettysburg. And all armies, even imitations, have lexicons:

TRAPS: Gear. Infantrymen spend $1,500 for rifle, uniform, canteen, etc. Artillery teams spend $15,000 for cannon.

IMPRESSION: Authenticity of appearance. (Dual impression: Changing uniform, to "fight" for either side, in case of shortage.)

FIRST PERSON: Hard-core. Impression extends to being conversant in 1860s sports, reading of "letters" from home, hand-stitching of underwear.

FARBS: Re-enactment newbies who wear fringed cowboy jackets, plumed hats, carry M-16s. Blow impression by mentioning Internet, Pat Buchanan.

TAKING A HIT: "Dying" in battle. Survivors can rob "corpses," as long as they return stuff at end. Problem: Rebs lost first time, so they often won't lie down.

TACTICAL: Unscripted freelance battle in which best unit wins. Rebs get big second chance.