(Editor’s note: We recently received this letter and accompanying photo via Pony Express.)
Kind Sirs of Betabrand:
As you and most San Franciscans undoubtedly know, Civil War reenacting is never a particularly comfortable endeavor. Especially during the long Alabama summer, when we must take to the roasting battlefield in heavy burlap jackets and scratchy woolen trousers, when the heat of combat is exceeded only by the steamy, tortuous environs between pant and leg. Why, after the Battle of Hooper’s Mill, my unmentionables were no less miserable than the Okefenokee Swamp, and even with generous applications of salves and medicinal powders, my chafed thighs still remain quite tender to the touch!
So you can imagine the envy I felt during last weekend’s reenactment of The Massacre at Blood Mountain, when I spied through my field glasses several Union reenactors charging toward our redoubt wearing luxurious seersucker pants from Betabrand! Gorgeous, Union-blue pants, loose-fitting and ingeniously horizontal in nature.
Feeling cool as a fall morning in the Shenandoah, those Yankees broke through our lines and annihilated the regiment with even more speed and vigor than was historically called for. As I pretended that a Union bayonet had pierced my spleen, I crumpled to the ground, moaning thusly: If only my men had such fine and stylish pants!
Then while browsing ConfederateQuartermaster.com the following day, I chanced upon a story about your newest seersucker pants, available for a limited time in GRAY! I cannot adequately convey to you in this modest missive the tears and Rebel Yells and other assorted enthusiasms with which my men received the news. Needless to say, each and every one of us has ordered copious amounts of these gray trousers; with the Reenactors Ball fast approaching, one cannot have too much splendid toggery.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Before our Gray Gingham Seersucker Pants can delight the belles, they will delight in the thrill of battle! After our narrow victory at Culver’s Crossroads next week, we will once again be routed at the Skirmish of Crabapple Corners. On that day, the creek will run red with our fake blood. We will imagine that Union rifles are shooting real bullets, that cutlasses with razor-sharp edges are slicing off our arms and heads, that there are actual horses to trample our mangled, perforated corpses into the mud. As always, we will gallantly pretend-fight to the last man. But as that last man falls to the ground, he shall do so, this year, in comfort and style.
Huzzah, Betabrand, huzzah!
O. Rutherford Pickling III
Captain, 134th Alabama Volunteer Infantry
Adjunct Professor of History, Cyprus City Community College