PROSPECT, Maine – Though the ceremony was fictional, the sentiments expressed Saturday during a Civil War living history event over the weekend at Fort Knox were very real.
As part of the three-day encampment at the 1840s granite fort overlooking the Penobscot River, Surry residents Joe Audette, 29, and Kristy Palmer, 28, portrayed a bride and groom who were being married during the height of the war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865 and pit the Northern states against the South.
The two are Civil War re-enactors with the 20th Maine Company B.
Palmer said Saturday that she and Audette met while attending high school in Lebanon, N.H., but that they weren’t high school sweethearts.
“I was dating someone else,” she said with a laugh while waiting for the groom, who arrived late for the ceremony —reportedly because he was detained by pressing military duties, according to 20th Maine Capt. Paul Smith, who presided over the nuptials.
The two became a couple after Audette moved to Maine in 2000 to attend the University of Maine as a secondary education major with a focus in history. Palmer moved here in 2005, when she enrolled in UMaine’s animal sciences program. The rest, one could say, is history.
During Saturday’s ceremony, the groom wore the dark blue uniform of the Union soldier he portrays as a private with the 20th Maine Company B Civil War re-enactment group.
The bride wore a straw hat, a shawl and a soft blue calico dress that she and her mother, Penny Palmer, finished the night before, in the nick of time.
“This is my first project,” she said, adding that the pattern for the period dress came from the Simplicity Pattern Co.
Though Audette and Palmer said Saturday’s ceremony was a good dry run, they said they hope to seal the deal for real in October.
“We had the option of doing it here this weekend, but it was hard getting everybody here,” Palmer said.