While wandering through the Confederate encampment, you may notice a rather unique tent with external poles and many distinctive design features. This tent arrangement, which might seem at first glance to be rather quixotic, is actually the well thought-out design of Lee McKewen, member of the 1st Louisiana Infantry and proprietor of Longhorn Leather.
Lee is a long-time reenactor, having started with the Mountain Men in 1977. The Civil War has always been of interest to him as many of his ancestors are from the South and were involved in the war. Lee serves as Artillery Adjutant for the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He recently participated in a Canteen Ceremony, a graveside tribute to fallen Confederate soldiers. This ceremony is a touching tribute to soldiers who were poorly equipped but carried on, sharing what little they had with their brothers. "We drank from the same canteen ... you are not forgotten."
When asked about his view of the future of Civil War reenactment given the decline of the Mountain Man format, Lee expressed great optimism. He is encouraged by the involvement of youngsters as cadets and family involvement. The Washington Civil War Association is committed to educating the public and making them feel welcome at our events. Our reenactors in general are tolerant and willing to include new people in their activities. People look out for each other and kids are safe in our camps. "The modern world is not a place we want to stay all the time," says Lee.
Lee's claims that leatherwork is a hobby to him, but a look at his wares reveals that he is quite an expert craftsman. He likes to design and make articles to meet the user's specifications and needs. For example, he provided custom sheaths for several artillery implements for the group traveling to Gettysburg this year. Lee provides repairs to reenactors' damaged equipment free of charge. At Fort Simco this year, he repaired a holster that was missing its Sam Browne button for our Sergeant Major. His stitching horse is always ready.
Lee's attention to detail can be seen in his beautiful grub box shown at right.
Lee McKewen's presence is a real asset to our community. Stop by his camp and say howdy.