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billsrebelrose
07-02-2006, 09:56 PM
Hi group, I'm a long lost post-er from awhile back, just now re-signing up! I've been reading the posts this week and just had to whine about something that's been bothering me since the New Market event this year...

...now, I'm all for authenticity. I worked in living history for the NPS right after I graduated college in 2004 and had to know about the period in order to work in the exhibits (I give a mean tour of the Dry Goods Store in Harpers Ferry). That said, I understand the point of trying to be as authentic as possible during an event. It's important that spectators see a good representation of the 1860s - especially in living history opportunities.

However. It bugs me more than anything when people start getting picky about authenticity. I'll cite, for example, a recent post about haversacks here in the forums. There was bickering about what should/shouldn't be in a haversack. And, so I don't seem like I'm picking about the forums, at the New Market event, a comment was made that a soldier was cooking with modern utensils - and this was after the camp had closed to spectators.

If we are going to get rid of Farb, shouldn't we be getting rid of ALL the Farb, not just what we feel like? CW soldiers didn't have port a johns. There were no women in camp either. So, shouldn't we be complaining about all the wives and girlfriends sleeping in soldiers tents (yes, myself included)? What about female soldiers - that are obviously women with no attempt to disguise it. But we won't change. We like our modern conveniences.

When it comes down to it, authenticity is number one. But I think if people are going to be particular about one aspect, they should be particular about every aspect - not just what makes them comfortable.

Okay, off my soapbox for now. :p

Ephraim_Zook
07-03-2006, 08:35 AM
Dear Miss Heather,

Egad. Where the heck have YOU been? Authentic reenactors DO complain about women in camp, women sleeping in tents, the tents themselves, female soldiers, modern cooking implements, etc etc etc etc etc etc etc.

Clearly you go to "family camping with a Civil War theme" type events, not reenactments of historic events. You have apparently forgotten that during the Civil War they didn't blow the 5 o'clock whistle so that the soldiers could stop soldiering and trot out all kinds of creature comforts for the night.

"If we are going to get rid of Farb, shouldn't we be getting rid of ALL the Farb, not just what we feel like? What a concept! Get rid of farb!! That ought to set the hobby back on its heels!!!

Maybe you won't change, but plenty of reenactors have. Still going to the wrong events?

And Yep -- I've been to events where there are no portajohns, either.

hanktrent
07-03-2006, 08:45 AM
If we are going to get rid of Farb, shouldn't we be getting rid of ALL the Farb, not just what we feel like? CW soldiers didn't have port a johns. There were no women in camp either. So, shouldn't we be complaining about all the wives and girlfriends sleeping in soldiers tents (yes, myself included)? What about female soldiers - that are obviously women with no attempt to disguise it.

Okay, I was following you until the "myself included" part. That old thing about being part of the solution, or part of the problem, comes to mind. :)

But if you're serious, you really need to head over to the Authentic Campaigner forum, or look at the guidelines for (or actually attend) more accurate events. Not only have people complained about porta johns and women in camp or disguised as soldiers, they've done something about them. If those things bug you, there are events where those things aren't there. Sanitary waste disposal can be a legal problem at some events, but at sites where period methods are allowed, they're used.

I've got my own pet peeves about selective authenticity as well, but you might as well go to the more authentic events first, and then see what's next to complain about. And yes, there are opportunities for women to be included. If you're seriously interested, email me or my wife Linda at lindatrent@zoomnet.net .

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

billsrebelrose
07-03-2006, 10:44 AM
What a concept! Get rid of farb!! That ought to set the hobby back on its heels!!!

This is a hobby. This is not a profession. Yes, I guess that I go to "family style" events where apparently nobody cares about authenticity. I also thought that this was a section of the forum where people could vent and not be condemned for it.

There was no need to be rude to me in your post, Mr. Zook. I wasn't trying to start a fight, I was irritated that I had to watch a young man get screamed at because he cooked with foil (after the spectators had left) by a gentleman that sat beside his tent all day smoking modern cigarettes. I was under the impression I could vent here, but apparently I was wrong. Apparently this section is only for "hardcore" reenactors such as yourself that don't take the time to explain things to people to correct farb or inaccuracies.

Mr. Trent, on the other hand, I thank for explaining "authentic campaigns". I didn't know about them and thank for his input.

This is the kind of thing that is driving lots of reenactors I know to quit the hobby. Reenacting should be enjoyable, not political. I'm for authenticity, but when it boils down to "there is no way that ____ would have used/said/worn _____ and you are stupid for assuming they did" it isn't fun.

How are we honoring the memory of CW soldiers this way? Maybe that's not important to some; maybe the fact that they have the correct blend of jean-cloth or have the perfect number of stitches around a button hole is much more of a priority.

Well, I'm glad to hear Mr. Zook that your events are much more authentic and fun and important and full-filling than my oh so wrong family events. I'm glad that you can fully immerse yourself in the 1860s and live the hard life a soldier. But at the end of the day, we're both packing up and getting into our cars and driving home. Regardless of how you look at it, we're both just playing dress up.

skamikaze
07-03-2006, 11:11 AM
if you want to get real technical, nobody over six foot should be allowed on the feild, or over 150 lbs... and there should be a lot less teeth :)

MStuart
07-03-2006, 11:12 AM
This is a hobby. I also thought that this was a section of the forum where people could vent and not be condemned for it.

Holy Mother of God!!!!!!!!!! (Depends on what you're venting about)

Mark

Sgt_Pepper
07-03-2006, 11:19 AM
Holy Mother of God!!!!!!!!!!

Watch your language. Oaths are the worst form of profanity, as far as I'm concerned.


(Depends on what you're venting about)

Mark

Please explain what you mean by "Depends on what you're venting about".

MStuart
07-03-2006, 11:58 AM
While my post was meant somewhat tongue in cheek, it does have somewhat of a double edge. Being somewhat of a "veteran" here, and being a mainstreamer to boot, there's a whole slew of things that one can post that gets the competitive juices flowing (and by competitive, I mean the "competition" between the different sides of the hobby, i.e. mainstreamer vs. campaigner). One of them was Miss Heather's "none of us are truly authentic" post. That's been done here several times over the years with basically the same replies as Mr. Myzie's, some even more confrontational. That's where the epitaph came from. A sort of "uh oh" here we go again".

"Going to the wrong events?" is the standard question to mainstreamers these days when authenticity issues and questions arise. IMHO it's condescending and elitist to a degree and is nothing more than stating that "Your events stink, mine don't". Had Miss Heather complained that "too many folks used modern utensils and what's wrong with them" I doubt she'd have received the reply she did, or taken it to be a rebuke. Hence, "depends on what you're venting about" .

Mark Maybe I shoulda said "Criminy!"

Pvt_Idaho
07-03-2006, 03:49 PM
[QUOTE=hanktrent] Not only have people complained about porta johns and women in camp or disguised as soldiers, they've done something about them. If those things bug you, there are events where those things aren't there...

I've got my own pet peeves about selective authenticity as well, but you might as well go to the more authentic events first, and then see what's next to complain about. And yes, there are opportunities for women to be included.

--Places for women? In the kitchen, Hon, with the young-ins. Or is it at home taking care of the kids so you and your pards can play?

--Try being a woman who plays a soldier (one with an impression that got "him" pushed out of a ladies room recently) and go try to play in the sandbox with some so-called "authentics". You'll feel really included really quick. HA! HA! HA! I just died laughing.


Audrey Scanlan

hanktrent
07-03-2006, 07:01 PM
--Places for women? In the kitchen, Hon, with the young-ins.

Well duh, of course that's the most typical place for a woman in the 1860s. If you think that role is somehow less interesting, or less important to the nation, than what soldiers were doing in the 1860s, that's your sexism showing, not mine. :)

Ever been handed a fully furnished, functional period house to run for two days, along with an extended family? The more that folks are willing to give to events (in attitude and commitment), the more events will give to them.

There's a whole nuther world of authentic reenacting out there for both women and civilian men, if you look for it. It really is as close to gender neutral as one can get, given historic limitations, and it's definitely gender neutral in the planning and research stages, with the input of women and men respected equally.

Last year at an event I put on, we needed reenactors to portray the staff of a country inn, and most were male, including me as the head cook. Next year, at a similar event put on by my wife, the participants will trade off, and the staff will be mostly female, including the head cook. Equally accurate, equally demanding, equally important to the event.

If female reenactors want physical challenges equivalent to male campaigners, I tried to put on a well-documented middle-class civilian camping trip for both men and women, but couldn't find enough women ready for even five or ten miles of period backpacking, in combination with the authenticity standards (no hidden modern items, no modern talk). I think it's going to happen with just me and my wife and a male friend, but it was a good example of a physically demanding, well documented, gender-neutral situation, just not something enough women wanted to take advantage of.

And I'm not even going to talk about the idea I had for a two-day 20-mile event that included swimming a river--with equal roles for men and women. But if female reenactors want respect and accuracy equal to male reenactors at events, it's happening right now, and if they want both accuracy and campaign-like endurance, the potential is there as well.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Pvt_Idaho
07-03-2006, 09:42 PM
I've been to events with top-notch civilian reenactors. And you are absolutely right they work doggedly hard. But unless a male spouse does as you have done, chooses to portray a male civilian, a husband and wife are in two separate places in an event (if civilians even have a role in them) OR the woman civilian is in camp--and this presence is resented. Or the woman can act the part of the soldier but with restrictions placed on participating (specialty impressions to be preapproved) if they are even allowed at all. Even when you want to stay with your partner for the weekend, have a company of mutual pards who enjoy working with both of you, the woman can pass as a young beardless man from reasonably close up, acts in a male role for the entire event and has the physical stamina to do "his" military duties, there are still a vocal group of authentics set against it. Despite the fact that some women really did fight as soldiers in the Civil War alongside husbands, lovers, brothers and fathers.

The vocal few can make others who research their impressions, strive to improve their knowledge, and care passionately about the Civil War want to do something else with their free time. That's reality. When some writers on this forum quip "still going to the wrong events," I would argue that I go to events where I am welcome and can contribute to the event with my knowledge and skills. This is why people who are partners and reenact together as soldiers stay mainstream for the most part.

Besides, you REALLY wouldn't want me cooking for you...unless you like charcoal.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

cookiemom
07-04-2006, 04:15 AM
I'm really still just getting started with this reenacting hobby, and I attend events as a spectator to meet people and learn as much as possible about everything before I sign up anywhere. Childcare issues are slowing me down, too. [Whine # 1]

Last fall, when I first started reading posts on this site (the OLD old software), I came across Bill Watson's report on Payne's Farm/Mine Run, and knew immediately that what he described was what I wanted to experience. I also knew as immediately that I couldn't ever have it, because, duh, I'm a "GIRL," and no tailor on earth could ever make me look like a guy. No matter that I've cooked over campfires since before some (many?) of you were born, have spent the night on the ground under the stars (not even a blanket, boys!), chopped firewood, dug trenches, hauled water (and "honey" buckets), packed it in/packed it out, and so on... [Whines ## 2 - 5]

[Dad was a Marine/WWII Pacific :) We learned camping his way.] [No whines there]

I asked a few questions about opportunities for women in reenacting, and remember getting helpful responses from Bill Watson, Frank Lilley, John? the Signal Corps Guy, and Linda and Hank Trent. [Thank you all, belatedly. You gave me a lot to think about.] But I can (and do) cook, sew, knit, quilt, 'put up' food, make candles and jellies and so on without getting "dressed up." As a former teacher, I think the educational aspect of 'living history' events is justification for doing them, but I want more. [Do I want to do it because I can, or to prove that I can (like Outward Bound for the historically-minded?), or to remember and honor those who had no choice? I dunno. It's almost 5am - been up all night. :) ] [Whines ## 6 - 8]

Hank, thanks for your post about the 'authentic' civilian trek and camping you have planned. It gives me an incentive to move faster. Maybe someday I can have what I want after all, in a slightly different context. BTW, you and Linda have a great reputation for 'authentic' portrayals (bet you didn't know that :) .) When I 'grow up' I wanna be like you. Well, like Linda.

And anybody who wants to, flame away. This place is a picnic compared to my 24/7 reality. [Whines ## 9 - infinity]

Let's see... I think I've gotten it all out of my system now...


Happy Independence Day! Let freedom ring!

Carole

Ephraim_Zook
07-04-2006, 07:25 AM
Miss Heather,

Maybe I misread the tone and intent of your post (ahh, the hazards of written communication).

What I heard was:
1) I'm all for authenticity,
BUT
2) Don't get picky (read as "don't bother me") about authenticity.
3) Carry what you want in your haversack, authenticity be d-----d.
4) Cook with anything you want, authenticity be d-----d.
5) Let anyone who wants to play soldier do so, authenticity be d-----d.

My point is that there are reenactors who attempt to get rid of all farb, not eliminate it selectively. If you are in agreement with them and you haven't met any of them, you ought to try a different kind of event.

I wasn't condemning. On the other hand, I do plead guilty to being too much of a smarta$$.

Linda Trent
07-04-2006, 07:26 AM
Hi Carole,


[Do I want to do it because I can, or to prove that I can (like Outward Bound for the historically-minded?)

Jeez, someone actually thinking like me! I've always wanted to do an Outward Bound, but haven't had the guts -- fear of snakes is a big one. I can just see me climbing a mountain in Colorado, putting my hand on the next ledge and hearing tsk-tsk-tsk of a snake's rattle. Eeek! So I decided to do things a little less strenuous ;-)

That's how I look at immersion-style events. They're kind of the "Outward Bound" of history. In fact, the mission statement for all our immersion events basically reads:

"The goal of the civilian authenticity standards for [insert event] is to create as accurate an over-all impression as possible--physically, mentally, and in behavior--without over-emphasizing any one area. The purpose is not only to give each person the sense that he or she is surrounded by real people of another era, but to give each individual the feeling that he or she has personally left the modern world behind and become, as much as possible, a resident of [county], [state], in [date]."

This includes not only accurate in the material and social culture, but also what we say and do (first person action and interaction). Part of the social culture includes having a common background with the others we're playing with. We all know that the real people of the Civil War era didn't just pop into existence on any certain day, they had a lifetime of growing up in a 'community' where they knew each other, went to school together, played and socialized together, and in general, lived, loved, hated, worshipped, and experienced many of the same things together. All these experiences were instrumental in how they saw themselves, and how they related to other people. Therefore, we create characters based on the time and place being portrayed who have deep backgrounds with one another, this gives us a feeling of a cohesive functioning community. Granted we can't get to the point where we know everything they would have known, as it took them a lifetime in a world that no longer exists, but that doesn't mean that we should stop trying to know all we can. These backgrounds also gave people back then something to talk about while cooking, tending the garden, working livestock, sitting around the fire in the evening, etc.

Having a close-knit group of living historians also gives one that Outward Bound feeling of all for one and one for all. We know that we are responsible for our own fun; but we also know that the others are there for us! They support us and want us to succeed! They *wanna* play with us, and don't think we're some weird cult! -- little do they know ;-) These are EBUFU events, events by us for us -- we're like-minded and have a common goal of accomplishing what we set out to accomplish. It's not easy to have to enforce the rules, but when it has to be done, it's done.

And just like Outward Bound, there's no down time, no modern spectators, no backstage to hide inaccurate items or break character, only what you can carry, if you forgot something you'll just have to improvise, and totally dependent upon each other and ourselves. Some people find this fun, others find it intimidating -- I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything!

But the point is, there are events out there for everyone from just plain modern camping in funny clothes and a period tent, on up to the best immersion-style events. If someone isn't happy where they are then the options are to move up the ladder, or if there is no ladder build your own with your own event at the top.

I might be able to do an Outward Bound program now that I'm older, but I'm not as intrigued as I once was. The hobby has fulfilled a lot of my needs for that. Outward Bound or not I still occasionally see snakes at events (but heck, I see them walking out to my barn sometimes!)

If anyone's interested I'm putting together an immersion event for late summer 2007 that will be held in Frankfort, KY. It will have the same basic rules as all immersion events (see http://struggleforstatehood.homestead.com/ ) for a general idea of the basic requirements. The upcoming event will be another inn event, but this time with an added court trial. As with all our events, we're going to keep it as low key and focusing on the personalities, stragegies, and legal maneuvering, no vigilanteism or lynching. Contact me if anyone's interested.

> When I 'grow up' I wanna be like you. Well, like Linda.

Now I'm blushing. :)

Linda.
lindatrent@zoomnet.net

Pvt_Idaho
07-04-2006, 08:54 AM
Dear Linda,

Thank you for your thoughtful post.

Sounds like you are cooking up a marvelous event. Unfortunately, I would not be much of a help working at an inn, except perhaps as a stable hand (horse training is one of my main jobs in "real life").

Did anyone order "muffins" ? (-;

Respectfully,

Audrey Scanlan

reb64
07-04-2006, 02:13 PM
if you want to get real technical, nobody over six foot should be allowed on the feild, or over 150 lbs... and there should be a lot less teeth :)
There were lots of tall soldiers, big and fat, perhaps the typical soldier was what you said, but thats after averaging the sum and throwing out the fringe measurements.

John1862
07-04-2006, 04:06 PM
There were lots of tall soldiers, big and fat, perhaps the typical soldier was what you said, but thats after averaging the sum and throwing out the fringe measurements.

Very True, this one Yank, who was wounded at Gettysburg was 6'7". Yes, six feet and seven inches tall. I saw his frock. Just thought I should say that

Button Whizzer
07-04-2006, 05:32 PM
Von Borcke was no midget either.

http://aotw.org/officers.php?officer_id=1082

Brandon

ElizabethClark
07-05-2006, 09:07 AM
Unfortunately, I would not be much of a help working at an inn, except perhaps as a stable hand (horse training is one of my main jobs in "real life").

Audrey, you might be surprised at what help is wanted... no one said the help had to be GOOD at their duties--just willing (and willing to be hollered at by the boss if they really mess up the instructions.) Not much is needed in the way of skill to wash dishes, or peel potatoes, and on-the-job training is usually provided. :)

Our family does "family camping" events... they're set on the Oregon Trail (the real one--most recently at Fort Bridger, WY), with wagons, tents, and campfires, men and women camping together, kids running around in great numbers. It's not something you'll find at battle events (not appropriate there), but there's more to the 1860s than battles, and we choose events that allow our whole family to participate in an accurate way. It limits somewhat the events we can attend (as does geography--there's just not much out here in the Rockies!), but we choose what we do because it's our idea of fun, and we get to "play" with others who have a similar idea of fun.

Linda Trent
07-05-2006, 11:05 AM
[QUOTE=ElizabethClark]Audrey, you might be surprised at what help is wanted... no one said the help had to be GOOD at their duties--just willing (and willing to be hollered at by the boss if they really mess up the instructions.) Not much is needed in the way of skill to wash dishes, or peel potatoes, and on-the-job training is usually provided. :)[QUOTE]

Absolutely, among our chores at the inn last year were: cleaning chamber pots (that were used by our guests), and spittoons, tightening the ropes on the beds, tending to the guest's needs, and having all meals cooked, table set, and everything ready to go on time, dishes done and put away, stone crock water containers had to be kept full, plus water had to be kept handy for freshening the salt pork, soaking the beans, ..., and the fire had to be kept going at all times, etc.

We had to stand and wait upon the guests while they ate, and then after they finished the meal and cleared out of the room we (the staff) got to eat. It's amazing how not even having to worry about the actual cooking (that was Hank's job as head chef), how busy we were kept, and that doesn't even allow for having to deal with guests' needs, and such.

At the inn we had four full sit-down meals from period recipes that were prepared and served by the inn staff, based upon receipts found in the Kentucky Housewife and an unpublished KY manuscript. These meals consisted of the following:

Saturday breakfast
Fried corn
Tomatoes dressed raw
Indian bread & butter
Water
Coffee

Saturday dinner

Boiled salt pork with mashed beans
Pickled beets
Boiled apple pudding with Cold sweet sauce
Indian bread & butter
Water
Coffee

Saturday supper

Hashed shoat made from leftover salt pork
Boiled sweet potatoes with melted butter sauce
Peach rolls with cold sweet sauce
Indian bread & butter
Water
Coffee

Sunday breakfast

Mush
Cucumbers dressed raw
Coffee
Water

Everything but the cold bread and pickles/preserves was made from scratch on site during the event, with no written recipes and no measuring, just a handful of this and a pinch of that.

So, as Liz said, there's plenty to be done at these sort of events that don't require any particular skill. Heck, we can always use people to slice cucumbers, etc. The Inn at Peak's Mill event we served about 15 people, and all meals were on time or at most 15 minutes off.

For the Court event we'll be running the inn same as before, only we'll hopefully have more guests and will have more activities going on. So we can always use staff who can slice, cut, wash, dry, clean ironstone, tend bar (though no real alcohol is served at these events), tend to guests' needs, make beds, sweep, grind coffee (if you can get the coffee grinder away from "Mr. Fletcher," help watch the fire, fetch water, cut firewood, etc. etc. And all this while remaining in strict first person character from Friday night through Sunday noonish. ;)

I think we already have a few volunteers for the cooking part, but if anyone's interested in being staff let me know and I can get you all in contact with one another. I'm looking at perhaps four inn employees head cook, second in command, third in command, and short end of the stick :-)

Linda.
lindatrent@zoomnet.net

flattop32355
07-05-2006, 04:06 PM
"Going to the wrong events?" is the standard question to mainstreamers these days when authenticity issues and questions arise. IMHO it's condescending and elitist to a degree and is nothing more than stating that "Your events stink, mine don't".

Some time last year, I was given the same quote to a reply of mine; I can't remember if it was here or on the AC. I PM'ed the gentleman in question, a known stickler for accuracy (or "authenticity" if you will; the quote marks are intentional) for an explanation, as I was a bit piqued.

His response was that it was a standard reply from those such as him to those such as me (mainstreamer), and intended more as a mild prod, or nudge, than a stiff poke. Now that I'm aware of its intent, I am no longer offended by it, but until you know its real intent, it can appear to be painful and insulting. In effect, it is used as insider humor in many cases, but the person at whom it is directed is not privy to the joke.

hanktrent
07-05-2006, 04:51 PM
Well, I've used the phrase "still going to the wrong events," or a paraphrased version of it, a few times, and here's how I mean it:

If a person is happy with the events they attend, it doesn't apply, and there's no point in using it. Where it's useful is when a person goes to events and then complains about problems with them, yet there are other events they could go to where those problems have already been solved.

In my opinion, Ron Myzie saying "Still going to the wrong events" was exactly synonymous with my wordier paragraph that said, "you really need to head over to the Authentic Campaigner forum, or look at the guidelines for (or actually attend) more accurate events. Not only have people complained about porta johns and women in camp or disguised as soldiers, they've done something about them. If those things bug you, there are events where those things aren't there."

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

tompritchett
07-05-2006, 11:40 PM
I both understand where Mark was coming from with "going to the wrong events" statement and agree with Mr. Trent's personal meaning to the statement. I believe that Mark is correct in his interpretation as it is used by some here but I believe that Mr. Trent is sincere in how he uses the phrase as are others also. The problem is that unless one knows the poster personally and has interacted with him or her face-to-face, it is not always apparent which meaning was intended when the phrase is used. My personal solution, assume Mr. Trent's interpretation unless the poster has a history flaming others.

Bill Rodman is big about matching your expectations to the event or else do not go. If you want more authenticity at some or all of your events, then revise your selection. If you decide to go to a Cedar Creek or Gettysburg, realize up-front what you are going to, and do not allow the farbisms to ruin the event for you. I still remember one of my most intense "monents" was at a Neshaminy event where the fighting literally flowe around us as we were expecting the Yanks to materialize out of the woods any minute. When a troll, possibly Professor Charles, asked how I was able to have such a moment with all the modern intrusions all around us, I remember replying that it was all due to my focussing on the positive aspects and literally ignoring the negatives. Granted, I have tried to expand my selection of events to include a few more history heavy events, but I still try to follow Bill Rodman's advice about prior expectations.

southern_belle1861
07-06-2006, 10:19 AM
I'm in an authentic reenacting group and trust me, luggin water for a mile down the road is VERY physically demanding! I'm sure it's just as fun as pretending to shoot someone. ;) haha

MStuart
07-06-2006, 10:42 AM
I'm in an authentic reenacting group and trust me, luggin water for a mile down the road is VERY physically demanding! I'm sure it's just as fun as pretending to shoot someone. ;) haha

Thanks, now I have to wipe coffee off the keyboard again.

Mark

Volunteer
07-06-2006, 01:37 PM
I find it interesting how authenticity is measured in the hobby.

In the military end, some believe that to be authentic, one must have the best quality uniform and accountrements (available today). Some believe that knowledge of soldier craft and the putting it into actual practice makes one more authentic. Some think that experiencing hardships, developing camaraderie, and doing authentic things, leads to a more authentic experience. I tend to try to embrace the whole gestalt.

Here's the rub. The bulk of us are over 35, gray-bearded, and fat. You could wear an original kit and stand out like a sore thumb in the real Civil War army. This attribute does not discriminate between those who are taller or shorter. The real Civil War soldiers were predominantly Anglo Saxon and blonde with blue eyes. Guess what folks? Were are even ethnically farby. Just as bad as having 3/4 of the reenactor army being women, or Chinese.
In reality, its just as bad as wearing polyester. Your genetic/ethnic code just wasn't yet mixed, even though it existed on its own.

Whenever I've thought about going on a tirade about authenticity issues, I think that somewhere there is some 19-year old who doesn't want to reenact with the over 30, hunky, pot-bellied, mongrel, me!

This is just my little slice of humble pie.

Scot Buffington

Trimmings
07-06-2006, 01:51 PM
I tend to try to embrace the whole gestalt.

I hope no one thinks this is a new idea. What is old is new again.

Ray Prosten

Pvt_Idaho
07-06-2006, 02:03 PM
"I'm in an authentic reenacting group and trust me, luggin water for a mile down the road is VERY physically demanding! I'm sure it's just as fun as pretending to shoot someone. ;) haha"

Personally, I have much more fun moving and firing a 10 lb Parrott gun.

I have a stable without electricity (and running water in the winter). I lug warm water from house to barn often enough to have the water luggin' thrill totally out of my system. It does eleviate the need for a health club though (-;

I think people are drawn to doing things they don't get to do regularly in real life in their spare time as reenactors

Best wishes,

Audrey Scanlan

Pvt_Idaho
07-06-2006, 02:24 PM
The real Civil War soldiers were predominantly Anglo Saxon and blonde with blue eyes. Guess what folks? We are even ethnically farby."

Hmm...the English and Germans would have us beat on that score. Better come on over and fill our ranks, guys!

Best Wishes,

Audrey Scanlan

tompritchett
07-06-2006, 04:01 PM
Here's the rub. The bulk of us are over 35, gray-bearded, and fat. You could wear an original kit and stand out like a sore thumb in the real Civil War army. This attribute does not discriminate between those who are taller or shorter. The real Civil War soldiers were predominantly Anglo Saxon and blonde with blue eyes. Guess what folks? Were are even ethnically farby. Just as bad as having 3/4 of the reenactor army being women, or Chinese.

In reality, its just as bad as wearing polyester. Your genetic/ethnic code just wasn't yet mixed, even though it existed on its own.
(emphasis mine)

I am predominantly a mainstreamer (on some forums I am often considered the ultimate Farb :) ) but I am tired of this line of excuses. The core of authenicity is attitude and mind-set not kit and trappings. Yes, none of us will never be as authentic as they were but that does not prevent us from trying to represent them as accurately as possible, for at least the public if not for ourselves and our fellow reenactor, and trying to understand what they endured in making this nation. Reenacting is a journey not a destination as almost all us have room to improve our impressions and our knowledge of history. Using excuses such as above to stop that growing is the ultimate farbism and is something that I have little tolerance for. As I once learned early in my youth - once you stop growing you start dieing.


n the military end, some believe that to be authentic, one must have the best quality uniform and accountrements (available today). Some believe that knowledge of soldier craft and the putting it into actual practice makes one more authentic. Some think that experiencing hardships, developing camaraderie, and doing authentic things, leads to a more authentic experience. I tend to try to embrace the whole gestalt.

I do agree with you on the idea of gestalt. There are so many areas in which we can each individually progress in the hobby, kit, historical knowledge, experiencind how they lived and camped, drill, etc. I think that we can mostly agree that no one aspect should ever be totally ignored and all should be advanced in some degree or another. Those of us who are still journeying in progressing our impressions usually disagree in the priorities that should be placed on each aspect - unfortunately sometimes arguing mercilessily that one set of priorities is "better" than the other rather than recognizing fellow travelers that are currently marching to a different set of drums for the time.

flattop32355
07-06-2006, 10:08 PM
(emphasis mine)
I am predominantly a mainstreamer, but I am tired of this line of excuses. The core of authenicity is attitude and mind-set not kit and trappings...

I think I shall have to respectfully, partially, disagree. No one, or even two, aspects of accuracy are more important than the others over the long haul. To leave out any is to diminish the whole.

We get into trouble when we choose to concentrate on only certain parts of the whole, to the detriment of the other parts. In my few years of reenacting, I've seen the pendulum swing from gear to attitude as prime. Next, it may move to the absolute need to go first person, or to delve deep into pre-war personae.

'Tis the balance of all the parts that makes the best rounded reenactor, as we slide to the more accurate side. Not all the aspects will move at the same speed for a given reenactor, but the goal is to move them all somewhat in the desired direction, while still holding a job and maintaining a family.

Linda Trent
07-06-2006, 10:50 PM
The real Civil War soldiers were predominantly Anglo Saxon and blonde with blue eyes.

According to Foxes Regimental Losses, http://www.civilwarhome.com/chapt7.htm

hair color:
30 per cent., brown hair
25 per cent. had dark hair
24 per cent., light
13 per cent. of the soldiers had black hair
4 per cent., sandy;
3 per cent., red;
1 per cent., gray hair.

Eyes:
45 per cent. were blue
24 per cent. were gray
13 per cent. were hazel
10 per cent were dark
8 per cent were black

Nativity:
The muster-rolls also state the nativities of the men; from which it appears that, in round numbers, out of 2,000,000 men, three-fourths were native Americans.
Of the 500,000 soldiers of foreign birth,
Germany furnished 175,000;
Ireland, 150,000;
England, 50,000;
British America, 50,000;
other countries, 75,000.

Linda Trent
lindatrent@zoomnet.net

tompritchett
07-07-2006, 01:28 AM
Reminds me of the faith versus works discussions in the New Testament. I will not argue that kit and such is not important as they are the fruit of attitude and mind set towards always progressing in your impression. My point was not anti-kit but rather to deflate this attitude that because we can never be as authentic as they were that we should not try nor should not always work to improve our impression. From your many other posts, I suspect that both of us are in agreement on this point.

ElizabethClark
07-07-2006, 12:02 PM
The real Civil War soldiers were predominantly Anglo Saxon and blonde with blue eyes.

Mr. Buffington, would you mind sharing your source for the above information? I've not come across any such determination of ethnicity in mid-century America, and would love to read more about it.

Thanks, Linda, for those additional stats.

Pvt_Idaho
07-07-2006, 03:51 PM
From my family, those soldiers whose enlistment descriptions I have--

Jesse Wilcox, PA 45, Co. H., 18 years at enlistment, dark complexion, 5' 3" (must have his height gene ;)) black eyes, dark hair, born in PA.

Cornelius Saxbury, PA 45, Co. I, 29 at enlistment, fair complexion, 5' 10", blue eyes, light hair, born in PA.

Luther J. Keeney, 6 PA Res., 23 at enlistment, complexion dark, 5' 81/2", blue eyes, dark hair, born in PA.

Adelbert Keeney, 11 PA Cav., 21 at enlistment, complexion light, 5' 11", blue eyes, brown hair, born in PA.

Thomas B. Keeney PA 57, co. I, 30 years at enlistment, complexion light, 5' 10", blue eyes, light hair, born in PA.

Milton G. Holliday, PA 45, Co. I, 23 at enlistment, complexion light, 5' 9", blue eyes, brown hair, born in PA.

Darius B. Holliday, 6 PA Res., 21 years at enrollment, light complexion, 5" 4 1/2" blue eyes, light hair, born in PA.

Van Buren Holliday, PA 45, Co. I, 31 at enrollment, light complexion, 5' 8" grey eyes, brown hair, PA born.

and the blue eyed, dark haired, native-born win.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

flattop32355
07-07-2006, 07:22 PM
From your many other posts, I suspect that both of us are in agreement on this point.

That would be a pretty safe bet.

Indyguy
07-11-2006, 10:45 AM
There were lots of tall soldiers, big and fat, perhaps the typical soldier was what you said, but thats after averaging the sum and throwing out the fringe measurements.

And lest we forget- David Vanbuskirk 6-10 from Bloomington Indiana, 27th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, who when captured was paraded around as the "Tallest Yankee" in the world. " when I left home I got a kiss from each of my sisters they all bent down and kissed me on the head."
Average hieght of the 27th Indiana 5-10 to 6-0 hence Giants in The Corn Field

Big Irish Will

Button Whizzer
07-11-2006, 11:05 AM
David Vanbuskirk 6-10 from Bloomington Indiana

:D I may now understand why Hoosiers like basketball so much.

Brandon

flattop32355
07-11-2006, 08:59 PM
:D I may now understand why Hoosiers like basketball so much.
Brandon

Because it makes them feel like they're from Kentucky. ;)

southern_belle1861
08-02-2006, 07:40 AM
"I'm in an authentic reenacting group and trust me, luggin water for a mile down the road is VERY physically demanding! I'm sure it's just as fun as pretending to shoot someone. ;) haha"

Personally, I have much more fun moving and firing a 10 lb Parrott gun.

I have a stable without electricity (and running water in the winter). I lug warm water from house to barn often enough to have the water luggin' thrill totally out of my system. It does eleviate the need for a health club though (-;

I think people are drawn to doing things they don't get to do regularly in real life in their spare time as reenactors

Best wishes,

Audrey Scanlan

Now I'm not sayin' that I don't like to pretend to blow people up. I would have been a guy if someone would let me. In fact I'm almost perfect (5'5 blonde hair/blue eyes) Just so happens that the group I'm in won't let girls pretend to be guys:(

Godspeed!

Pvt_Idaho
08-02-2006, 11:15 AM
Chessa,

Hard to find, but there are a few groups that will let you play soldier too if you can/want to...just can't be a campaigner soldier at this point -- HMMM-- A Pvt Lyons Wakeman impression for the Red River Campaign anyone?

Cheers,

Audrey Scanlan

southern_belle1861
08-03-2006, 12:08 PM
Chessa,

Hard to find, but there are a few groups that will let you play soldier too if you can/want to...just can't be a campaigner soldier at this point -- HMMM-- A Pvt Lyons Wakeman impression for the Red River Campaign anyone?

Cheers,

Audrey Scanlan
Yeah. Right now I really don't have time to do that. Besides, who am I kidding? I'm about as girly lookin' as you can get. I doubt that I could pass as a good soilder [I]and[I] be authentic... I'd have to cut my hair. Then I couldn't do a womans impression.

Marie21stOVI
08-16-2006, 04:08 PM
I'm new here and fairly new to reenacting, but have been studying the Late Unpleasentness since the early 1970's.

Two years ago I was giving lantern tours at a VERY small reenactment in NW Ohio. There was an artillery unit (Federal) there and during the tour the question was asked as to what battles the unit had seen. Vicksburg was one of those named. I then asked the gentlemen where the unit was placed at Vicksburg. (what section of the lines).

The man replied, "the North."

"No, I mean were you under Sherman's command?"

His reply? "Sherman wasn't at Vicksburg."

I wonder if Generals Pemberton and Grant knew that?

Having just returned from a tour of Vicksburg, and having had a 3rd greatuncle there in the 47th OVI, under Sherman, I knew better, but didn't argue with him in front of the tour group.

If one is going to portray a member of a unit, know the general history, not just the unit history.

Thanks for letting me vent :)

Regards from NW Ohio,

Marie

John Legg
08-18-2006, 08:37 PM
i cannot stand farbs, but i deal with them!

flattop32355
08-18-2006, 11:04 PM
i cannot stand farbs, but i deal with them!

The following should not be interpreted as spoken in anger, but in all humility:

We all be farbs, sir. It's just a matter of degree. There's not a one of us who meets the standards of the original men.

No matter how hard we try, reenacting can't duplicate the reality: We can only approach certain aspects of it, and to varying degrees.

If nothing else, we know we can't get shot. We know we'll be headed back to modern life in a few days. We know we won't be enduring many of the hardships the orginals had to face, day to day, month to month, year to year. We won't have to leave behind our wounded, or bury comrades. We won't have to soldier on while sick with any number of diseases common to the period.

We can disagree upon the levels of accuracy portrayed by different members of this hobby. It is a viable topic for serious discussion and debate.

But do not forget: It is only a hobby, and while what we do may pay tribute and honor to those real soldiers of the ACW, what we do is but a shadow of that reality which they faced without hope of relief until all was accomplished.

We are, indeed, all farbs.

Scottish Songbird
08-18-2006, 11:52 PM
The following should not be interpreted as spoken in anger, but in all humility:

We all be farbs, sir. It's just a matter of degree. There's not a one of us who meets the standards of the original men.

No matter how hard we try, reenacting can't duplicate the reality: We can only approach certain aspects of it, and to varying degrees.

If nothing else, we know we can't get shot. We know we'll be headed back to modern life in a few days. We know we won't be enduring many of the hardships the orginals had to face, day to day, month to month, year to year. We won't have to leave behind our wounded, or bury comrades. We won't have to soldier on while sick with any number of diseases common to the period.

We can disagree upon the levels of accuracy portrayed by different members of this hobby. It is a viable topic for serious discussion and debate.

But do not forget: It is only a hobby, and while what we do may pay tribute and honor to those real soldiers of the ACW, what we do is but a shadow of that reality which they faced without hope of relief until all was accomplished.

We are, indeed, all farbs.

Mr. Biederman,
This was beautifully said!! Thank you for sharing.:)

southern_belle1861
08-19-2006, 10:02 AM
i cannot stand farbs, but i deal with them!

Right on!

I am trying to be the most authentic I can. Even going to the point of buying a treadle sewing machine from the mid-1800's.
Farbs crack me up!!

hanktrent
08-19-2006, 11:15 AM
We all be farbs, sir. It's just a matter of degree.

I'd say, we're all inaccurate, but not everyone is a farb. Here's the difference:

Someone who's inaccurate can still appreciate and support those who are closer to accurate, whether he wants to improve himself or not.

A farb will say "what does it matter? We're all wrong anyway." Or worse yet, "Those more-accurate people are making us look bad. We need to do something about them."

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

marylandreb
08-19-2006, 12:22 PM
The real Civil War soldiers were predominantly Anglo Saxon and blonde with blue eyes.
Scot Buffington

A good percentage of soldiers from the south were Irish, scottish and Scotch-Irish. The majority of my realtives in the deep south are dark skinned with brown hair and blue eyes. Sounds like your describing soldiers from Minnesota. :D

flattop32355
08-19-2006, 02:50 PM
I'd say, we're all inaccurate, but not everyone is a farb. Here's the difference:
Someone who's inaccurate can still appreciate and support those who are closer to accurate, whether he wants to improve himself or not.
A farb will say "what does it matter? We're all wrong anyway." Or worse yet, "Those more-accurate people are making us look bad. We need to do something about them."

Admittedly, it can come down to personal definition, as well as one's status upon the line Farb-"Authentic". Of some possible 35,000 CW reenactors, you could probably find at least 35,001 definitions for any given term.

But I think you get my meaning. "Accurate" is a relative term, with some being more accurate than others, and all of us willing to compromise accuracy at some point, to one degree or another, for the sake of safety, health, convenience (that's the one we argue over so much), etc. We have the option to make such choices; they did not. We pick and choose when and were and how, and even if, we will reenact; they did not have those luxuries.

When all is said, I'll stand by my original premise, and also agree with yours as you define the terms. As with many things in this hobby, Truth lies more broadly than we give it credit...

Scottish Songbird
08-20-2006, 10:09 PM
A good percentage of soldiers from the south were Irish, scottish and Scotch-Irish. The majority of my realtives in the deep south are dark skinned with brown hair and blue eyes. Sounds like your describing soldiers from Minnesota. :D

Hmmmm....dark hair and eyes...maybe all of us single girls should head south, eh?!?!?;)

marylandreb
08-21-2006, 05:36 AM
Hmmmm....dark hair and eyes...maybe all of us single girls should head south, eh?!?!?;)


Maybe if the North had sent single women instead of soldiers the war could have been avoided.:D

Linda Trent
08-21-2006, 05:51 AM
Maybe if the North had sent single women instead of soldiers the war could have been avoided.:D

Doubtful, the Southern gents didn't have much nice to say about Northern women anymore than our male counterparts; strong minded, independent creatures that we were.

Besides women aren't exactly well known for compromising -- most would rather split a dress in half then let the other lady at Macy's walk away with the great deal! So how does this differ from what actually happened? ;)

Linda.

tompritchett
08-21-2006, 02:16 PM
Northern women anymore than our male counterparts; strong minded, independent creatures that we were.

Sounds like to me you are also describing the typical woman found on the smaller Southern farms. I married an Southern ex-farm girl and my paternal grandmother was one. Trust me, my wife is as independent, strong mined and stubborn as I and my grandmother made us both look tame.

hanktrent
08-21-2006, 02:49 PM
"Strong minded woman" was a cliched phrase in the 1860s, that I don't think many southerners would want applied to their women in a period context. :)

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Scottish Songbird
08-21-2006, 05:35 PM
"Strong minded woman" was a cliched phrase in the 1860s, that I don't think many southerners would want applied to their women in a period context. :)

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

Hmmmm....well I don't know, I'd just like to find a "strong minded" man who wants to love and cherish me!!!;) Hellooooooooooo........anybody out there interested??!;) (oops...I think this belongs in the singles thread!!:p )

Ken Cornett
08-24-2006, 05:09 PM
Sorry I caught this thread so late. Hank, your reference to "selective authenticity" really made me think. There's a lot of meaning behind it and you couldn't have said it better.

NoahBriggs
09-12-2006, 02:21 PM
" . . . grind coffee (if you can get the coffee grinder away from "Mr. Fletcher," . . .

My grinder. MINE!!

portraying the unfortunate Mr. Fletcher

Army30th
09-14-2006, 10:28 PM
You think your Southern women ancestors and relatives by marriage are strong and independent??? Try this one:

My great-grandmother woke up one morning early, found a rat trying to nibble on her in the bed; she knocked him to the floor, and parted said rat's scalp with a hammer!

Hondo
09-16-2006, 07:06 PM
What really gets my dander up is:

All those General Impersonaters running around. Just how many Lees are out there? Not to mention all the others.




Hondo

toptimlrd
09-16-2006, 10:43 PM
What really gets my dander up is:

All those General Impersonaters running around. Just how many Lees are out there? Not to mention all the others.




Hondo
What I find humerous is when more than one shows up at an event and trip over each other. Don't forget Lincoln also.

Hondo
09-17-2006, 08:05 AM
Well said Robert.

IMHO there are few quality impersonaters around. It seems they would take the personality of the man they portray. They may know some of the history and such but when the accent is wrong or they are too "happy", it really ruins it.


Hondo

Rob Weaver
10-02-2006, 01:59 PM
I've always felt it to be my personal curse that I don't look enough like anyone famous to impersonate them. Given that I'm quite short, the only two generals I'm close enough to impersonate are George McClellan and Phil Sheridan. Although both were snappy dressers, I think their personalities might be a quick turn-off to the modern reenacting crowd. (Plus I just can't swear like Little Phil.)

DanSwitzer
10-03-2006, 12:26 PM
"If we are going to get rid of Farb, shouldn't we be getting rid of ALL the Farb, not just what we feel like?"

I have seen "farb" as defined as the 1- inclusion or 2- omission by others of those things which I either omit ( in the first instance ) or exclude ( in the second ) from my own impression.

I do think the crowing about who goes to better events to be both offensive and misleading. What has a puking, drunk ( and later hungover ) 14 year old got to do with the typical Civil War soldier's experience? Well, maybe alot, but also runs the risk of modern law enforcement intervention and prosecution. I've seen this at more than one of "the right events." How about all the old, fat gray men ( not talking just Confederates here )? Is that more or less inaccurate than women and kids camped on the company street? I have a coin to toss to decide. I do find the hypocrisy a bit hard to take.

People are selective in what offends. I guess it just goes back to the old mote in one man's eye versus the log in the other man's eye dilemma. One is acceptable and the other despicable. Didn't they find receipts and charge card slips for porn movies and titty bars among the records left by the 9-11 highjackers, those most pure of the pure Islamic jihadist martyrs?

Okay, so, next, who is gonna be crashing a horse drawn wagon into a wall tent city in the hopes of gaining an eternity in a campaigner cheese and pickled onion ration issue paradise?

Big Dan

Milliron
10-03-2006, 01:57 PM
As has been stated previously, it really just depends on the kind of event it is. I generally do not attend "mainstream" (for lack of a better description) type of events. This is not some elitist C/P/H nonsense, I just did a lot of MS events from 82-96 and was looking for something else out of the hobby. I think it's obnoxious to go to a MS event and then blast on everyone b/c they aren't up to YOUR standards. If you are going to go to one of these events, be prepared for some fairly fuzzy authenticity. It usually runs the whole spectrum.

On the other hand, the OP should realize that the events she describes do exist. They are always limited by pesky things like state law and health and welfare considerations. Even the most "hardkewl" of them all probably doesn't want to die of exposure merely because Jubal Early lost 40 men from that at the Battle of Such and Such.

That said, I'm not going to be down with everybody pulling out their blue speckleware (at least at a C/P/H-type of event) just because there happens to be a Port-O-Let around the corner. Chances are my coffee tastes differently in my rusty, gnarly authentic cup than it does in a speckleware cup--it in fact likely tastes like it actually did, and that's the point. That I might expect the same effort from those around me is reflective of the fact that much of my satisfaction comes from the environment and the moment. I too thought it was crazy to think that I could be transported if enough modern intrusions were removed, but you can be. At Outpost 2000 they life-flighted a fallen cavalryman out of the event and that didn't even weigh down the magic of that event.

If you don't have any interest in doing this, then I suggest you are engaging in a different hobby. One no less worthwhile, perhaps, but not the same.

hanktrent
10-03-2006, 05:47 PM
What has a puking, drunk ( and later hungover ) 14 year old got to do with the typical Civil War soldier's experience? Well, maybe alot, but also runs the risk of modern law enforcement intervention and prosecution. I've seen this at more than one of "the right events." How about all the old, fat gray men ( not talking just Confederates here )? Is that more or less inaccurate than women and kids camped on the company street? I have a coin to toss to decide. I do find the hypocrisy a bit hard to take.

Is it really either-or, though? I mean, aren't their old fat gray men and 14-year-old drunks at some mainstream events too, in addition to the women and kids in the company street?

Or are you saying it's a choice of attending c/p/h events with underage drunks and old fat men or mainstream events where alcohol rules are strictly obeyed and the soldiers are all young and fit? Because I'd say that would be a fair enough trade-off for women in the company streets and such.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

flattop32355
10-03-2006, 08:26 PM
"If we are going to get rid of Farb, shouldn't we be getting rid of ALL the Farb, not just what we feel like?"

...How about all the old, fat gray men ( not talking just Confederates here )?

I'm 51 yrs. old. I'm gray haired and weigh about 225 lbs.
Am I correct that you are suggesting that I should quit the hobby? A simple "Yes" or "No" will suffice.

Inquiring minds want to know.

DanSwitzer
10-04-2006, 08:44 AM
No. I never said that. My point is that people too oftern gripe about certain things at certain places yet sometimes overlook exactly the same kind of thing in another setting because it involves a different crowd or event. That's all I'm saying.

We can't all be young and slim. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.:-P

Big Dan

Button Whizzer
10-04-2006, 09:12 AM
I do think the crowing about who goes to better events to be both offensive and misleading. What has a puking, drunk ( and later hungover ) 14 year old got to do with the typical Civil War soldier's experience? Well, maybe alot, but also runs the risk of modern law enforcement intervention and prosecution. I've seen this at more than one of "the right events." How about all the old, fat gray men ( not talking just Confederates here )? Is that more or less inaccurate than women and kids camped on the company street? I have a coin to toss to decide. I do find the hypocrisy a bit hard to take.


Dan,

I heard McDowell had a large number of minors drinking in the Rebel camp. If law enforcement does have a round up the nearest adults may be in some deep juju.

Brandon

DanSwitzer
10-04-2006, 11:18 AM
Dan,
I heard McDowell had a large number of minors drinking in the Rebel camp. If law enforcement does have a round up the nearest adults may be in some deep juju.
Brandon

WOW! See? That's exactly what I'm talking about. Funny thing about those beer cans is that they don't have registered owners, so everybody goes down with the bust. My only follow up question would be: was there pizza, too? I like beer with pizza. Always have.

Nothing like a well done beer and pizza ration issue. I can just see it all spread out on a ground cloth: "And who shall have this? It's pepperoni and sausage, no onions."

Big Dan

flattop32355
10-04-2006, 02:36 PM
No. I never said that. My point is that people too oftern gripe about certain things at certain places yet sometimes overlook exactly the same kind of thing in another setting because it involves a different crowd or event. That's all I'm saying.
We can't all be young and slim. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.:-P
Big Dan

Nah, I'll just have to hate you for other stuff. (Humor...ArArAr!)

Many things that are period incorrect cannot be corrected within our time without either compromising safety or eliminating most reenactors from participating (and I'm talking about the more progressive and higher up folk, not the bottom feeders).

For those things that can be reasonably deleted, if depends upon what your goal is: If it's to have a pleasant weekend outdoors doing a somewhat example of how it was, some folk won't go the extra mile. If it's to do it as spot-on as possible, you have to be committed to carrying through on it for the duration of the event.

Some folks like to bounce back and forth between the two. Some folks think that's a bad thing, others don't. There is no governing body in this hobby that sets the rules. Some think that's a good thing, others don't. In the end, it's up to each of us as to how we'll do things.

As it is, I have enough trouble trying to improve me to try to improve anyone else.

Jazmine Butterfly
10-04-2006, 03:28 PM
Considering Technicality,

I kinda doubt that anyone during the Civil War were using guns/gear/etc. that were then over a century old, or even considered "antique". If a person wanted to make an "authentic impression" wouldn't they have new (i.e. made within the last decade or so) looking gear/guns? If the clothing is hand-made, wouldn't that be acceptable for authentic? I can't imagine a seamstress discarding a garment because she lost the thread count on the button holes. Perhaps I am wrong, this is a new hobby for me, and I certainly don't profess to know much about it at all.

If any of you have a link to a website, or a reference to a good book on the "unwritten laws of reenacting" I would sincerely like to have a link to it.

I am not particularly looking forward to someone raking me over the coals because I don't fit the "modern" idea of what reality was like back then.

Thanks a bunch!
Tina

DanSwitzer
10-04-2006, 04:39 PM
"I am not particularly looking forward to someone raking me over the coals because I don't fit the "modern" idea of what reality was like back then."

Now THERE's a quotable phrase. I like it.

Big Dan:cool:

Milliron
10-04-2006, 10:17 PM
Considering Technicality,

I kinda doubt that anyone during the Civil War were using guns/gear/etc. that were then over a century old, or even considered "antique". If a person wanted to make an "authentic impression" wouldn't they have new (i.e. made within the last decade or so) looking gear/guns? If the clothing is hand-made, wouldn't that be acceptable for authentic? I can't imagine a seamstress discarding a garment because she lost the thread count on the button holes. Perhaps I am wrong, this is a new hobby for me, and I certainly don't profess to know much about it at all.

If any of you have a link to a website, or a reference to a good book on the "unwritten laws of reenacting" I would sincerely like to have a link to it.

I am not particularly looking forward to someone raking me over the coals because I don't fit the "modern" idea of what reality was like back then.

Thanks a bunch!
Tina

Actually, you are asking the right questions. I don't know what your particular experience has been with the more authentically minded crowd, but they don't all have tails and carry pitchforks (at least any more than the less-authentically minded)

Would soldiers have gear/weapons that looked more or less "new" (as opposed to antique)? Absolutely. Does this necessarily obviate the use of originals in the field? No, but with the caveat that you are NOT improving your impression by bringing an obviously antique weapon into the field.


If the clothing is hand-made, wouldn't that be acceptable for authentic?

Possibly, more like probably. However, remember that quite a bit of Federal and some Confederate clothing was machine-stitched. I generally believe you can't go wrong with hand stitched clothing, as it was more common. Stitching has far less to do with authenticity than construction. A hand-sewn POS is still a POS.

It bothers me to see new people apprehensive about being "raked over the coals" during their learning curve in the hobby. Everybody starts somewhere. I guess what I would want to know is whether you actually have had a negative experience with a so-called "stitch-nazi," or whether the legend of the "stitch nazi" has made you apprehensive. I find most people are pretty receptive to a genuine interest in doing it right. However, there are some asshats out there. Don't be afraid to ask questions--the only time you make a mistake is by not asking.

As far as links go, try this and go from there (understanding that you are most likely doing a civilian impression, but the message is still there):http://www.columbiarifles.org/improve.htm

hanktrent
10-05-2006, 09:22 AM
If the clothing is hand-made, wouldn't that be acceptable for authentic? I can't imagine a seamstress discarding a garment because she lost the thread count on the button holes.

To clarify, by "hand-made," do you mean all hand sewn vs. machine sewn, or do you mean made by an individual at home?

Milliron answered the question on hand stitching well. As far as how many "mistakes" are okay from an inexperienced seamstress--I can't speak for military uniforms, which had to pass at least some sort of inspection, but on homemade garments, there are some things which were quite common, and other things that are mistakes because we're modern people.

For example, it was very common to see fabric "pieced" because it was cut too small--not generally because it was a mistake, but to make the cloth go futher. Still, it works just as well to cover up a mistake.

But it wouldn't be common, for example, to see thick contrasting piping in a dress, or a man's pants with a low rise (low waist), even though there's no reason a seamstress at home couldn't think of it.

So if you're talking about low skill garments made in a period manner, yes, of course there were people with low skills then too. Though if they had the money or the time they did soon hire or learn better skills.

If you're talking about garments made by default in a modern way, due to the low research skills of the maker, that of course wasn't common in the past.

But perfection isn't expected. There's very little today that can be reproduced so that it's truly accurate, and it's hard to tell if you're talking about a Butterick-pattern costume-style dress made at home, or something well-researched from a period pattern that has minor issues like a cuff buttonhole on the wrong side or a slightly crooked seam.


I am not particularly looking forward to someone raking me over the coals because I don't fit the "modern" idea of what reality was like back then.

If you know that what you're doing is well documented for the time and situation, but out of the norm for whatever group you're with, there seem to be two reactions: an interest in seeing the documentation and learning something new, or an interest in telling you you're wrong and don't fit in with the group.

Ironically, I've noted the dogmatism more among people who are less interested in accuracy themselves, because they have stopped being interested in research and are concentrating more on controlling others.

On the other hand, depending on the reenacting group, here are different unstated rules about what's accurate. Some folks think that anything which is pre-1865 is suitable in any situation. Others think that everything should fit together in context, so a perfectly reproduced silk dress is just as wrong on a poor working woman as a pair of bluejeans. Others think that accuracy should extend to many facets of one's impression including food, behavior, shelter, etc., while others think that a more narrow definition is okay, such as only clothing matters, or only what's visible t the public during certain hours matters.

And the problem is, every level of the hobby is different, and you can never increase your accuracy to the point that you won't be raked over the coals at some point, because as you noted, you have to fit in with modern people with different ideas about the hobby, and not just fit in to the past. Unfortunately, it's the same way in every volunteer organization or hobby I've seen, not just reenacting. The only difference is that reenacting uses "authenticity" as the fighting point, while other hobbies use different things.

That being said, most people in reenacting are nice and easy to get along with, just like in any other endeavor, and I can only think of a very small handful I've had problems with in 15+ years in the hobby.

Posting over in the civilian forum, if you're interested in a civilian impression, might be a good way to get more answers also, because you're asking some good questions.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

DanSwitzer
10-05-2006, 03:12 PM
"To clarify, by "hand-made," do you mean all hand sewn vs. machine sewn, or do you mean made by an individual at home?"

I have seen alot of repro clothing that looked like it was "foot-made" or even "paw-made." Crude stuff. It's pretty sad to see what some folks can do to FHW fabric not to mention the Frankenstein-stitched buttonholes. It's enough to drive a weaver to commit seppuku.

I know enough to leave the sewing to others.

Big Dan

reb64
10-05-2006, 11:34 PM
exatly what items do you mean? some
museum pieces do have crude stiching. rh

southern_belle1861
10-06-2006, 04:14 PM
On the other hand, depending on the reenacting group, here are different unstated rules about what's accurate. Some folks think that anything which is pre-1865 is suitable in any situation. Others think that everything should fit together in context, so a perfectly reproduced silk dress is just as wrong on a poor working woman as a pair of bluejeans. Others think that accuracy should extend to many facets of one's impression including food, behavior, shelter, etc., while others think that a more narrow definition is okay, such as only clothing matters, or only what's visible t the public during certain hours matters.

Not as wrong as a pair of blue jeans, but would you really want to go to a reenactment in a silk dress expecting to cook and sew? :o


Unfortunately, it's the same way in every volunteer organization or hobby I've seen, not just reenacting. The only difference is that reenacting uses "authenticity" as the fighting point, while other hobbies use different things.


I have tried telling that to my non-reenacting parents and they really don't understand (even my Dad who does amature radio)
Drive me crazy sometimes (which isn't very far...) :D

mrs_curley
10-08-2006, 10:13 PM
I found this to be a pretty interesting post. I, personally, can see where the OP is coming from - Farb is annoying. But, I like to use it as a segway. Like, "Well, women wouldn't have been in camp, usually. Typically women..." I, too, try to be as authentic as possible. But, I like to be with my husband on the weekends. I like to watch battles and chat about the period. I, personally, am not ready for "authentic" reenacting. Sounds like an awful lot of work! I don't really think "traditional" reenacting is a "camping trip with a Civil War theme" - I think that's a bit harsh - but, so what if it is? Time spent with families is important, in my opinion. Even kids can enjoy history...but I digress...

It's true that we can't get rid of Farb. People would be offended left and right, half the ranks would disappear, and honestly, what would be left to complain about? (just kidding)

There's really no solution to this argument. Farb's always going to be there, just deal with it. One thing's for sure, if I've learned one thing from this post, it's to not say anything scandalous - I kinda feel bad for the OP. She got clobbered!

Linda Trent
10-08-2006, 11:19 PM
I, too, try to be as authentic as possible. But, I like to be with my husband on the weekends.

Me too, that's part of why my husband has gone civilian. That way we get to be together all weekend. ;)


I, personally, am not ready for "authentic" reenacting. Sounds like an awful lot of work!

I prefer to think of it as an education rather than work. The study about the time and place is where I learn the who, what, when, where and whys of the particular time and place being portrayed, and better enables me to educate the public. It helps me to better understand the people of the time and why they did what they did.

When I first entered the hobby I swore I'd only portray Northern ladies since my grandfathers all fought for the Union. But the more I studied the more I could see both sides and how they viewed things. I learned the war was/is very complex and that there's no one right answer to every question. To me, the research is half the fun, the other half is actually going to the event and sharing that information with spectators (which includes my fellow reenactors).

Linda.

AZReenactor
10-09-2006, 09:59 AM
...It's true that we can't get rid of Farb. People would be offended left and right, half the ranks would disappear...

Actually there is a wing of the hobby where this is no great concern, where a vast increase in quality is seen as worth the immediate cost in a decrease in numbers at events. A little thinning of the herd now and then only makes the rest of the hobby a little healthier. It may sound harsh but as the hobby improves there are going to be those slower, less agile reenactors who get left behind as the rest of the herd moves on and it is actually a good thing in the long run.

The personal goals of a good many of us aren't to create a Renaissance Fair version of Civil War history but rather experience for ourselves what it might actually be like to step through time and live in the 1860s for a couple of days. Grand armies are all fine and good but large numbers on a mock battlefield in no ways dilutes the lack of quality and historically authenticity that reenactors so often experience on a personal level. The experience of being amongst a thousand farby reenactors doesn't compare to the thrill of being in the midst of 300 seriously authentic reenactors. The spectacular aspect of being on the field of thousands is easily overpowered by the frustration having fellows on ones near right and left who could care less about history and its accurate depiction. What does a typical soldier really know about the mass of armies in battle? The true focus of his existence at that time is the rank and file about him and the enemy directly facing him.

Another advantage of this move towards authentic experiences in reenacting is that groups and organizations are getting beyond the sham battle as the pinnacle of reenacting experience and focusing increasingly on the day to day life of soldiers and civilians in the 1860s. This focus allows for a more honest, diverse, authentic, historically accurate understanding of the daily lives experienced by Americans in the 1860s.

Memphis
10-09-2006, 10:32 AM
Six simple questions to ask and answer yourself. Be truthful in this self examination.

1. Do you find yourself rationalizing reenacting by thinking or saying, "It is only a hobby - give us a break?

2. Is your personal goal of 19th century authenticity based on nothing more than just clothing and accouterments?

3. Is this entire hobby is just camping with friends in costume, drinking and feasting around the fire, and then playing soldier for an hour long battle daily?

4. Just before the battle does your group of chatter about their new computer, recite movie quotes, or tell modern jokes instead of taking advantage of the moment?

5. Does the camp look and operate so poorly that you consider posting a guard to keep the public out?

6. Does your Civil War reenacting hobby include railroad lanterns, one wedge tent per man with cot and carpet, huge piles of stainless, plastic, and whatever... not to mention camps full of women and children?

Ask yourself if history has anything to do with reenacting if you had any affirmative answers to the above questions.

Jazmine Butterfly
10-10-2006, 01:43 PM
Honestly, with the clothing that I made for my family it was a combination of both. I had only been to a reeanactment once before we decided to make it a hobby, I think it is a fantastic way to introduce my kids to history. Not only that, we get to have some really, um, interesting (cough) camping memories, and ladies, hoop skirts, and porta-johns.... it's all I have to say.

I was on my way to the Rutherford B Hayes Reenactment in Freemont Ohio this past weekend, and it was the largest that I have been to yet. So concerning the previous post, I was a little anxious (My first experience boasted of ten reenactors - that was an interesting battle - but it was the first one held by a young friend of my mothers, so we attended in support of him) As small as that one was, there were three living historians walking the grounds, and they were incredibly friendly, and well read on thier impressions. I had learned so much that weekend that I sought out another one to go to - and to experience with the kids. I had asked other reenactors what it was like to attend these on a regular basis and what to expect, perhaps they were just trying to caution me not to expect everyone to be as friendly as they were, that coupled with the apprehension of attending one in a historical park in celebration of a previous presidents birthday - I was quaking in my boots.
I am happy to say that the event was mind blowing. The kids loved it, and my husband and I are hooked. Forget Disneyworld kids, we're goin' to war!! :)

Thank you all for your advice, the response was just as warm and friendly as my experiences at the reenactments have been. I truely appriciate it.

Sincerely,
Tina

Jazmine Butterfly
10-10-2006, 01:51 PM
Thank you :)

Lightningslinger
02-18-2008, 12:27 AM
And lest we forget- David Vanbuskirk 6-10 from Bloomington Indiana, 27th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, who when captured was paraded around as the "Tallest Yankee" in the world. " when I left home I got a kiss from each of my sisters they all bent down and kissed me on the head."

Average height of the 27th Indiana 5-10 to 6-0 hence Giants in The Corn Field

Say Will,

Do you know if any of Dave Vanbuskirk's offspring moved one state west and marry into the Wadlow family?

Robert Pershing Wadlow was born, educated and buried in Alton, Illinois. His height of 8' 11.1" qualifies him as the tallest person in history. My Mother-in-Law had met many aging veterans who had participated in the War of 1861. She also knew Bob Wadlow.

Walt

bulletsponge
02-18-2008, 01:14 AM
Ask yourself if history has anything to do with reenacting if you had any affirmative answers to the above questions.

You forgot a few:

7. Does your idea of Civil War reenacting involve sitting around the fire until late while recounting how well you've managed to keep out the riffraff and others who don't measure up to your lofty example?

8. Do you worry more about competing organizations draining off possible recruits, and instead of working with them, treat them as the enemy?

Pvt Schnapps
02-18-2008, 09:49 AM
There's just something so weird about using a computer to complain about people who are insufficiently 19th century.

Tarheel57
02-21-2008, 10:17 PM
...It bothers me to see new people apprehensive about being "raked over the coals" during their learning curve in the hobby. Everybody starts somewhere. I guess what I would want to know is whether you actually have had a negative experience with a so-called "stitch-nazi," or whether the legend of the "stitch nazi" has made you apprehensive. I find most people are pretty receptive to a genuine interest in doing it right. However, there are some asshats out there. Don't be afraid to ask questions--the only time you make a mistake is by not asking.....



Sorry for the late post. I know where he is coming from. I am about to participate in my third reenactment, so I am a "newbie", but for a couple of years I was in several CW reenactment yahoo groups, which I joined because I knew no one in the reenactment community and I thought it would be a good way to learn, meet people, and get involved. I was raked over the coals quite a few times, usually by self-proclaimed experts who seemed to be more concerned with demonstrating their own superiority instead of helping anyone. Typically, they were the kind of people who would call you ignorant over fabric types, but wouldn't know who people like, say, Patrick Cleburne were. On one occasion I was raked in person, as well. I was so fed up with this attitude that I nearly sold all of my accumulated gear.
When I quit and joined the present forum, someone kindly invited me to attend an event with their unit, and they are truly a great bunch of people. I realized that most of the people I had encountered online were what someone here termed "keyboard reeanctors". At the events I have attended, I haven't seen anyone like this.
I fully know that some of my gear is mainstream at best, but I am trying.
From my experiences on other forums, I had thought that campaigners would walk up and openly berate me for some of my sutler row accouterments, but I actually have had some very god conversations with campaigners who seem to be happy that I am so interested. One person told me "I'm glad you made it [to the event]. So many people say they are interested and then never come out.
Lord knows how many people of them have been discouraged by some of those "keyboard reenactors". From my own experiences, if I meet someone with less experience than myself (if that's possible), I will steer them away from those anonymous forums and just invite them to an event, even as a spectator if I have to. As I upgrade, I am keeping all of my stuff for that reason.

Best Regards,
Edward

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
02-21-2008, 10:43 PM
Hallo!

Indeed.
If the events you are attending are only boards and fora, IMHO you are "attending the wrong events."

CHS

tompritchett
02-22-2008, 08:17 AM
Indeed.
If the events you are attending are only boards and fora, IMHO you are "attending the wrong events."


Good one. I am going to have to remember that one.

Lightningslinger
02-22-2008, 07:15 PM
Actually the title was originally intended to be "Twilight Events - Where the Light Meets the Yet-to-be-Enlightened. It sounds more.... well... positive and progressive if you will.


From my own experiences, if I meet someone with less experience than myself (if that's possible), I will steer them away from those anonymous forums and just invite them to an event, even as a spectator if I have to...

Edward,

I began my odyssey in the 'already arrived' camp and, while I enjoyed their company, my oft times frank questions which always involved some sort of 'why not?'... were almost universally answered with - what for?... ... why should we? ... who cares? (something akin to recent questions pertaining to keeping a history of re-enacting history)

Metaphorically speaking, I believe that even prior to the Civil War Centennial there have been those re-enactors who had arrived, threw down their kits and said this is where I will make my advanced out-post - forever.

Others (God bless 'em) have continued to trudge ahead (ofttimes while those they are leaving behind are trying to toss bridles over the necks of the newly departing/advancing). Why did such occur? Reading more and more of the 1860's accounts, then, seeking to gain even more realistic experiences of 'what was', instead of 'what is' became paramount in the minds of some.

Like you and your new event campaign-oriented acquaintances, long-time Berdan sharpe shooter vangard Art Buker allowed me to know that there were parallel advances witin the re-enacting community. I had no such idea at the time.

From this chance meeting with Art, I was invited to attend a rather expansive cross-country tactical at Waynesboro, Penna. called Rouzerville. Although this outing was attended by mant of the first-raters of the day, even this cutting-edge event left me with so many unanswered questions about effecting interior lines of communication and security (in a period fashion) that it touched off many side missions to be explored. Like trying to develop a signal corps history in the early '80's (when little was yet published) wasn't easy finding what I searched for.

All of this aside --- the light was shining now. If I had not met Art at what would be considered as a less-than event-of-the-day, I may never have discovered the light beyond "What For?" and those said - "Why Not?'

Progressively-minded re-enactors have shed their light at many twilight events over the years. But more importantly, they did, and continue to do it with kindness and patience too.

For everyone who has ever seen the light (or wishes to), know that the Art Bukers, the Dave Pridgeons and many others of you, of our community are still attending twilight events, just waiting to be asked - practicing what they preach and sharing it too.

Walt Mathers