Dedication to American history and a desire to teach it with actions is what drives the re-enactors who take in mock battles such as Rev Times, the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Brandywine in Chadds Ford.

More than 400 re-enactors took part in this year's Rev Times.

It's that dedication and love that has grown men spending a minimum of $1,000 to get started in, what is to them, a serious hobby.

The musket alone can cost $700 to $800, while the uniform can be another $350. For those who are involved with more than one unit, the costs go up for extra uniforms, and those who are officers have more equipment to buy.

"It's not patriotic paintball," said one re-enactor who came down from New Canaan, Conn. to take part in the event at the Brandywine Battlefield Park Sunday.

Another, Dennis O'Toole, from Ft. Meade, Md. said his desire to be a re-enactor came from his fascination with history, specifically his interest in the constitutional period of American history. O'Toole is a law enforcement instructor for the U.S. government. He also takes part in Irish Revolution, U.S. Civil War and WW II re-enactments.

For Harry Stephens, of Harrisburg, the dedication is more personal. He had two ancestors -- Ira and Roswell Stephens -- who fought with Washington at the Battle of Brandywine and at Germantown.

For him, historical accuracy is important.

"I want to see and hear what they experienced. ... It's family history and American history," he said.

Paul Loan of Cherry Hill serves as an officer in two units, the Second Pennsylvania regiment and with the British 43rd Regiment of Foot.

He said re-enacting provides a "far greater feel for what historical events were like than reading books or watching the History Channel."

And he said that, like anything of substance and value there needs to be a commitment of time and money. That $1,000 startup cost comes from the individual.

There are some breaks, he said. The Internal Revenue Service recognizes his unit as a non-profit organization so the financial outlay is tax exempt. He added that unlike other activities or hobbies -- such as owning a boat -- once you have the equipment, the spending slows.

Loan's unit also does not have extra training sessions, rather they train during the 20 re-enactment events they take part in during the year. Other units operate differently, he said.

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