The Fighting 14th: Civil War Simulacra
Pete’s Candy Store (709 Lorimer St., Brooklyn)
Matt Dellinger has seen combat. He has followed his regiment into the eye of danger, crawled on his stomach beneath enemy gunfire and seen his fellow soldiers die beside him on the battlefield. His musket is a standard issue Springfield 1861 replica.
Matt is a Civil War re-enactor. He is part of a group modeling itself after the Brooklyn 14th, our borough’s own storied militia. Dubbed “red-legged devils” by Stonewall Jackson for the fiery red pants of their uniform and their hell-bent spirit, the Brooklyn 14th fought in an impressive array of battles throughout the Civil War. Re-enacting these battles entails what Matt describes as a “mash-up of camping, American history, Halloween and playing war.” Attracting history buffs, veterans and families, the pastime of re-enactment lets these men and women unplug from modern life for weekends at a time, re-staging historical battles and demonstrating how re-creating, like memory itself, can give mastery over a conflicted past.
Matt and other soldiers of the Brooklyn 14th will be on hand to discuss their unique pastime and shed light on some of Brooklyn’s lesser-known lore.