Today, we continue our series of interviews with various members of one of York County’s Civil War reenacting groups, Company C of the 87th Pennsylvania. Our contributor is Donovan Warner, whose father is also a living historian.
Name: Donavan Warner
When you were a kid, do you ever play army or dress up in any way as a soldier, cowboy, Indian, pirate, or some other historical character? Please give any examples.
When I was a kid, my mother was not real fond of me having toy fire arms, but I did have a nice collection of water guns. And I did have an army fatigue outfit.
What was your favorite military toy as a kid? Please describe it and how you enjoyed it.
I got my army fatigue attire from a friend of my dads, he was in the National Guard, and I enjoyed wearing it, plus I used it when I played paint ball when I was older.
What or who do you now portray? What is your personal connection to that organization or person?
I have done both Union and Confederate impressions. And I do have family members that were in the Civil War.
In your opinion, are you more of a reenactor (sham battles) or a living historian, or both? Which do you prefer?
I would consider myself a part-time reenactor. I liked doing the skirmish battles at Hanover Junction with Steam Into History. And I was in the anniversary of the Battle of Front Royal, which was fun.
How did you get started in the hobby?
My Dad and Step-mother are involved in it, and some parts of it did look interesting, so I join the ranks when I can. Work has this way of getting in the way of having fun.
How much does it cost to be a reenactor or living historian? Please give some examples of the typical costs for various pieces of equipment, uniform parts, civilian attire, etc.
I really don’t know how much it cost, since my dad has all the equipment and I have heard him mention prices of things, so I just use his. And I do have some of my own equipment that my dad got for me. I do know that my Remington revolver cost my dad $325.00
What is your most memorable event in which you participated, and why?
We were doing a train raid at Hanover Junction with Steam Into History, I was portraying a Confederate soldier, when I jumped down from the coach with pistols blazing. It was like I was Josey Wales, with a pistol in each hand and one tucked in my belt.
Have you ever stopped at a gas station, grocery store, etc. while in full attire? What was the reaction of onlookers?
The few places I was in wearing a civil war uniform, the people have looked. And I have never had any comments, so I am thinking that people have become used to the idea of Civil War soldiers in the area.
What is the strangest or funniest thing that you remember from one of your events?
We had a camp set up at the Pennsylvania Monument on the Gettysburg battlefield, with the Civil War Surgeons Society, and I was asked to portray a wounded soldier. The make-up was excellent; it looked like I was shot in my right cheek. And when my friends saw the pictures from it they actually thought I was shot. I know my mom was a bit upset when she saw them and I had to explain it to her, it was only makeup.
A lot of people talk about the friendships and sense of community that you get while participating in living history events or reenactments. Please give some personal examples of how the hobby has impacted you.
The people of the 87th are a very friendly group and they welcomed me with open arms and have helped me with various details. They do know and realize that my work schedule conflicts with their schedule.
What advice would you give a newcomer to the hobby?
After doing two tours in the U. S. Army, this is different, not like the modern army, and it’s not for everyone but you can have a good time, providing you’re with a fun group.
Sign up! The 87th Pennsylvania, Company C, is recruiting!! Contact us for more details!
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Schedule of remaining events for 2018
May 19 – 20 New Market, VA (FVB Event) http://www.vmi.edu/museums-and-archives/virginia-museum-of-the-civil-war/
May 28th Memorial Day – Fawn AME Zion Church 10:00 a.m.
June 3rd Ma/Pa Railroad Preservation, Muddy Creek Forks, Airville, PA, 8:00 a.m.
June 9 – 10 Wax Museum – Heritage Center Gettysburg, PA – living history
July 5 – 8 155th Gettysburg – www.gettysburgreenactment.com/
July 21 – 22 Union Mills, MD
July 28 – 29 Wax Museum – Heritage Center, Gettysburg, PA
August 3 – 5 Society of Civil War Surgeons weekend, Gettysburg, PA
August 10 – 12 Waynesboro, PA – (139th PA) http://renfrewreenactment.com/
August TBD 27th Annual 93rd PA event – Old Union Canal Tunnel
September 15 – 16 PA Monument, Gettysburg National Military Park
October 20 – 21 Cedar Creek, Middletown, VA
November 17th Remembrance Day Parade, Gettysburg, PA