The Washington Post

The outhouse side of reenactments

In one important way, Civil War-era attire makes little sense: Relieving yourself can be a chore.

In my case, I first have to remove a heavy great coat; where this hangs in a porta-John, I haven't yet figured. Then I must remove a vest, and then suspenders. The pants lack a zipper and must be unbuttoned, a pain when nature’s call is getting urgent.

When I picked up my clothes today, I was advised not to procrastinate in the bathroom.

Women have it slightly easier: Their undergarments come with a bombhatch they can undo. All they need to do, then, is hitch up the dress, though they may have their own button issues in fumbling with the bombhatch fasteners.

The Post’s Tim Smith will be blogging all day from the events in Manassas honoring the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run.

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing