We had our first big event with a lot of the new 4th Connecticut members. The fort in Fort Wayne, is right downtown (which is a little odd, but once you are inside the fort, you can’t see anything else, so you are in your own little living history world). There are four barracks arranged in a square.
The men were in one building and the women and children were in another. The barracks were like little side by side duplexes with one room downstairs with a hearth to cook on and another room upstairs with a fireplace. There were only windows on the side that faced the square, so we were lucky that it was sunny both days and that we had good daylight to work in. Speaking of weather, we were also lucky that it was a balmy 45 degrees at the warmest point in the day. Most of the women stayed bundled up in quilted petticoats and cloaks and mitts for much of the day.
While the men drilled, I was completely absorbed by and involved in the women’s sphere. This was the first event where it was more than just me and one or two other women. There were at least 7 of us and we worked nonstop: cooking meals for ourselves, children, and officers, washing up, shooing kids out of the kitchen, selling items at the petty sutler table, watching a court marshal scenario, reading letters from loved ones, and keeping fires lit so everyone could get warm periodically throughout the day. It was a most spirited atmosphere indeed!
The photos that follow are courtesy of Mrs. F. She truly captured the essence of the women’s work.
And me — cooking porridge!