Fort Point Civil War Living History Day, San Francisco, CA. 8/21/10

Even all the way out here, as far West as you can possibly go, there's Civil War history.

I live just a few miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fort Point sits at the base of the bridge on the San Francisco side.  I went there today for Civil War Living History Day.

I was lucky enough to get a good parking spot after traversing the parking lot only once, and I couldn't believe all of the salt on my windshield when I got back to the car.  And I am glad I was dressed for it.  Fort Point is one of the coldest, dampest, windiest places ever.

I didn't get to talk to the Washer Woman as she always had so many people around her, or see and hear the Brass Band concert as it wasn't until 4, and I had been there since 12:30 and had seen it all by 1:30, but I stuck around until 2 when they had a Fife and Drum exhibition and then I sat in the warm car and watched the Bay view, the tide, the windsurfers, the Bridge and the scenery for a tiny bit and then headed home and stopped at In & Out Burger.

I wish they had put some kind of schedule of events on-line, if I had known there was a Brass Band concert at 4 I would have made the trip a bit later in the day.

I did see everything at the Fort that there was to see.  I walked all around the dark corridors and weird hidden alcoves and went up and down the awesome stone spiral staircases several times just for the fun of it.  Boy that place was DARK, even in broad daylight.  I wonder how many lamps they had to keep burning to be able to see their way around?

I went into all of the rooms that were open and some of them had displays and exhibits, and I also went up on the ramparts where the cannons once stood.  Talk about SOME VIEW, but I would not like to have been stationed there – Brrrr Chilly…

There were re-enactors of all kinds, but I didn't see one Confederate.

I spoke to some of the Sons of Union Veterans and played some games with them.  They had these wooden toys – cups on sticks with a ball or ring tied to it and you had to get the ball in the cup or the ring on the hook.

I spoke with a Zouave and he likes to pattern dance.

And I had my blood let (pretend).  The Physician had this tool that was like a quarter on a stick and they'd heat it and burn you with it to release the evil spirits.  And he showed us some other sinister looking tools…

And then I visited the Infirmary, and was given a Curiously Strong does of Opium for the pain of having my blood let… but it was really only a wintergreen Altoid.

There were Artillery and Infantry Drills, but no "fighting", this event was about the cultural history of the period, not warfare and gun-fire.  The Fife and Drum Corps played a few tunes whilst I was there and got hearty, rousing applause from the audience and while listening to them I was sitting on a bench pretending I was a captured Confederate spy.

You can see photos of the last CWLHD they held at Fort Point back in January 2010 on Ranger Craig's Flickr account, you can also do a general search on flickr for "Fort Point Civil War", and you can learn more about Fort Point at the NPS site.

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