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Women re-enact Civil War in drag

Cheryl Senter / AP

Elizabeth Charlton puts on her uniform as a Civil War soldier at a Memorial Day event at Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence, Mass., on May 30.

Cheryl Senter / AP

Elizabeth Charlton, right, gets help with her backpack as she prepares to portray a Civil War soldier at a Memorial Day event at Bellevue Cemetery.

David Dishneau of the AP reports today on the women who relive the Civil War in drag. Elizabeth Charlton is one of them:

Charlton, a married mother of three from Lawrence, Mass., said she started re-enacting more than 10 years ago, portraying the wife of a soldier killed in Baltimore. When her local military re-enactor unit had an opening in the color guard, she volunteered and found pants preferable to a hoop skirt.

"It's much easier to get dressed," she said.

A century and a half ago, women weren't allowed into military service; masquerading as men was the only way in for those who weren't satisfied with supporting the war effort from home or following their husbands' military units around. As the country marks the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, some female re-enactors still cling to secrecy — not just for historical accuracy but because uniformed women aren't always welcome in the male-dominated hobby.

Read the full story and see more Civil War-related images on PhotoBlog.