Delaware Civil War re-enactor Cindy Robinson of Millsboro: The Women of War
“We call ourselves civilians, not camp followers,” says Millsboro’s Cindy Robinson, 54. “‘Camp followers’ is a euphemism for the prostitutes that traveled along with the troops.”
Robinson and other female re-enactors portray the wives and mothers of the soldiers who camped with the troops when their units were stationary, or the civilians who lost their homes in battle. They traveled with troops because they had nowhere else to go. There were others during the war who went along to nurse the injured. “Remember, the war was right here in their backyards,” Robinson says. “It affected everyone.”
Robinson got into re-enacting because her husband, Manaen, 58, was spending so much time with the 2nd Regiment Delaware Volunteers. “For one year I went to all the events but stayed in a hotel by myself and went to the re-enactments as a spectator,” she says. “But then I started participating myself because Manaen was always coming back with stories of having so much fun.” She’s been at it for 19 years now.
She enjoys demonstrating and talking to spectators about life during the Civil War, but Robinson’s favorite times happen after audiences leave. “It feels so real then,” she says. “At a big event there might be 100 tents all lined up in a row, with campfires burning and people playing banjos and harmonicas. It’s like you’ve stepped back in time.”