MANASSAS, Va. — Hoping to avoid an unnecessary COVID-19 outbreak at an equally unnecessary event, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has advised a Civil War reenactment troop to sanitize their hands between each Confederate kill, sources confirmed Wednesday.
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Leading up to a planned reenactment of the First Battle of Bull Run, the reenactors met with representatives from the VDH yesterday to negotiate the terms under which the event could proceed safely, ultimately agreeing to sanitize their hands and weapons before and after each kill.
VDH officials had offered to donate 55 gallons of hand sanitizer to the event as a show of support, but the troop rejected their offer, citing the inauthentic nature of the modern hand sanitizer, opting instead for a homemade blend of moonshine and horse urine. The VDH signed off on the change as the moonshine provided contained more than 51% alcohol.
“Honestly, we think this whole reenactment thing is a little weird,” Mary Chen, a representative with the VDH commented in an interview. “But we’d rather try to get them to hold the event safely rather than to take no precautions at all. Just because they’re portraying characters from the 19th century doesn’t mean they need to also apply the limited medical knowledge of the time.”
The troop must also adhere to additional COVID requirements, such as staying six feet apart while in battle, and they must take care to fall facedown so as to avoid breathing on other participants once shot. Finally, all buglers must stand behind a plexiglass shield.
The precautions received mixed reception from the members of the troop, with some understanding the need for the changes and others staunchly refusing to adhere to them. “How am I to slay these rebellious rapscallions if I can’t keep a tight troop formation?” Maj. Phineas Emerson Sherman, commander of the 2nd Maryland Volunteer Infantry, complained. “Grant wouldn’t have made us do this hogwash, and that’s how we won the damn war.”
Cpl. Filbert J. Clapp, also known as Timothy Smithers, an insurance claims adjuster from Ruckersville, said he didn’t mind the changes. “These are unprecedented times. Much like the turmoil which tore the fabric of our nation.”
“Plus,” he continued, “we got a good deal on our hotel block, so we would hate to have to reschedule.”
Despite the agreed precautions in place, additional reports confirmed that only the Union soldiers had agreed to wear masks during the reenactments.