Join, Or Die
From the top of their kepis to the tip of their brogans, meet the Brooklyn-based Civil War reenactors who leave everything on the battlefield.
Patrick Stultz wades through the forest, bushes snagging his baggy red trousers. He hoists a .58-caliber musket above his blue-wool jacket and sweat-stained red kepi hat. A rusty tin canteen rattles against the leather cartridge box on his belt. He marches out of the shadows of the elms with his fellow soldiers, blinded by the sunlight and the smoke.
Two dozen men fall clumsily into rows, stepping on one another’s heels. Stultz hangs back and barks at the men of the front line to take a knee. All obey their sergeant, including Jesse Henry, a 30-year-old with whiskers like tumbleweed. He pulls out a paper cartridge and tears the flap open with his teeth. Gunpowder granules mix with saliva and turn his lower lip black. He dumps the remainder down the barrel of his replicated Springfield Model 1861 and puts a gold-colored cap no bigger than a pencil eraser in front of the hammer. Raising and aiming the 10-pound, 40-inch weapon with both hands, he pulls the trigger. Th…