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View Full Version : How was the Gettysburg Reenactment?



Pvt_Idaho
07-10-2006, 10:41 AM
All,

For those of us who could not be there--how do it go?

Audrey Scanlan

cblodg
07-10-2006, 11:35 AM
actually the question should be: how was the reenactment and bike week?

I would immagine that the town was quite packed. I was talking to a pard, he was in Gettysburg on the weekend of the original dates, said that the Regimental Quartermaster was going to close its shop during bike weekend as the bikers can get a little rowdy. Not sure if that happened or not though.

Chris

Ol'Hickory
07-10-2006, 12:25 PM
Yeah JEB Stuarts Harley Davidson cavalry division still attacking the yankees

Altecfive
07-10-2006, 02:10 PM
Well, I enjoyed myself this past weekend in Gettysburg. The numbers were really down, maybe total re-enactors was 500 and that was pushing it. So, I would say every re-enactor there did the best they could with what they had. I got a chance with some other people to sit down with the organizers and say heres the deal on why this event needs a revamp. Guess, the main reason I went was it was close, and there hasnt been alot of events that it hasnt been pouring rain this year...lol. Nice to be dry for a change.

jweiland
07-10-2006, 02:47 PM
Worst event I ever attended. This event was a joke the way it was ran. The Sutlers where at least a mile away same with the battlefield that we had to march to. I dont mind the march but it was all open ground that we marched over and could have easly battle there instead of marching a 1+ miles to the other field. There were no good sutlers there besides Richmond Depot, so if you wanted any authentic gear you where SOL. The battles on Friday where so bad that I was worried about getting lynched by spectators. On Sat. the cavalry battle didn’t take place so there was only one battle on Sat. I decided not to waste anymore powder and caps and sat out the Sat battle. From what I saw of the Sat battle it wasnt that bad but nothing to write home about. Alot of reenactors decided not to stay for Picketts charge which looked to be around a couple hundred reenactors total. This is one of those event that needs a major facelift, how much money do they actually give to battle fields? What are they doing for the reenactors? "Powder and Caps are getting harder to come by and when found are getting very pricey. How come everybodies selling the 5 wing caps only? These things are suppose to dangerous!!!!!
Later John

5thNYcavalry
07-10-2006, 06:31 PM
I was unable to be there for the resheduled dates, but on the 3rd, I liked the walk of Pickett's Charge.

Ephraim_Zook
07-11-2006, 08:18 AM
FWIW, I got the following email from a friend.

"I was the only one from the 142nd. There were probably no more than 200
Federal troops & 40 Confederate troops present at Gettysburg this past
weekend. As for the AAR, I'll try. Thanks."

Button Whizzer
07-11-2006, 10:58 AM
There were probably no more than 200 Federal troops & 40 Confederate troops present at Gettysburg this past weekend.

Pickett's Charge must have been a once in a lifetime thrill. How much did an individual spectator ticket cost for one to see this massive historical spectacle of Napoleonic era tactical martial glory?

Brandon

dustyswb
07-11-2006, 12:36 PM
From the website: http://www.gettysburgreenactment.com/ticket/index.htm

Advance Ticket Prices
Adult Admission
(Age 13 and over)
One Day* - $22.00
Two Days - $37.00
Three Days - $49.00

Youth Admission
(Ages 6- 12)
One Day - $12.00
Two Days - $18.00
Three Days - $24.00

Grandstand Tickets
(All Ages)
$9.00 / person / day

Children under 6 admitted free(General Admission) Grandstand Tickets are Limited

It always kills me that events charge kids. Isn't it supposed to be a learning experience? You could go to several minor league baseball games for the price to this event.

Oh, and if you can't make it on the rescheduled date:

Ticket Policy:
Due to record breaking rainfall and recent flash flooding in the entire Mid-Atlantic Region, in the interest of public safety, the Gettysburg Civil War Battle Reenactment has been delayed by several days.
Event Tickets are non-refundable as described by the terms of each ticket.
The event has been rescheduled at the Redding Farm for July 7, 8, & 9. Tickets from July 1, 2, & 3 will be honored for any day of the rescheduled event.

54thovi
07-11-2006, 12:41 PM
According to the Gettysburg times....

An estimated 10,000-12,000 spectators attended the 143rd Anniversary Re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg this past weekend - well below the typical turnout for such an event.

Think of how they feel seeing a 250-500 (or thereabouts) man reenactment....

John Feagin

Bill_Cross
07-11-2006, 12:50 PM
Dusty,

I think it's generally agreed this event is the poster child for what we DON'T want Civil War events to be: historically-innaccurate, poorly run, and expensive for both participants and spectators. But it has the triple advantages of the land (with the magical name of "Gettysburg"), the date (more remembered by most mainstream reenactors than their wedding anniversaries) and a paid staff to handle the organization. Anyone who's ever worked on putting on an event will appreciate the third advantage.

The only way things will improve is if units vote to stop attending. Once the organizers start losing large sums of money, the madness will end.

At least until the next 10 year marker....

3rdUSRedleg
07-11-2006, 03:56 PM
They will bleed it, untill they can bleed it no more! They do not care about historical, moral, and educational values. Their ONLY goal is to make money untill they can't, then move on to another venue to bleed that untill it is no more. They do not care if they have sucked dry the historical value, to them they only see finantual value...not the moral purposes of education of such a historical area, not including that of the battle. For any of them to say otherweise is a lie.
Their is more to point fingers at other then just the reenactment committee, so many greedy fingers jump to grab from their "pot of gold".

I paticuarly enjoy the security nazies at that event. NOT!
I had an emergency one year where a family member went critical, and I had to leave the event early. And the local securty/sherrifs dared to arrest me for trespassing with my vehicle to pack up and leave. I have not returned since, and strongly condemn this organisational structure ever since.

TheQM
07-11-2006, 04:12 PM
"At least until the next 10 year marker...."

Bill Cross,

You won't have to wait that long. The 145th. anniversary will be in 2008 and I'm sure it will be a big event. It's been my experience that most units plan for no more than one event per month and this year's big July event will be the Manassas reenactment, being held at Cedar Creek. It's the 145th. anniversary of that battle. This year's Gettysburg had no chance against that draw.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to the 145th. Gettysburg. You can say what you want about the Gettysburg organizers, and their events, but they have learned how to handle large numbers of both reenactors and spectators. The Pickett's Charge scenario at the 135th. Gettysburg is one of the most vivid memories of my reenacting career. For me, at least, there's something about the big numbers that just can't be duplicated at the smaller events.

FWL
07-11-2006, 04:16 PM
I just talked with a local "Inn Keeper" in Gettysburg. Good guy but does not know allot about reenactments. He said between the reeactment and bike week they lost over $10,000. He heard the reenactment was terrible (from spectators). I made reservations for this Thusday night and let him we are on our way to Rich Mountain, WV to an authentic reenactment to raise money for preservation and recreate a battle "authentically as reasonable". He wondered why "they" did'nt do that "kind of thing" around Gettysburg.

I was speechless and had no response. I'm not from Gettysburg but has there ever (other than living histories) been any authentic reenacments at Gettysburg? Perhaps the annual reenactment is dying the death it should.

frankstevanus
07-11-2006, 04:49 PM
After all these years I still can't believe people pay all that money to go see "The Ultimate Farb-Fest". Too funny!!
The sad thing is spectators come away from that event thinking the Civil War actually was like that. That is why it is so important that the organizers of events not give into the current "politically correct" decision making and turn other events into the same joke. Sadly, though many of the other Mainstream events are heading down the same dark path because the leaders won't make a stand and say no when they should.
Oh well!

TheQM
07-11-2006, 04:51 PM
Frank,

Who lost $10,000 dollars, the event organizers or the "Inn Keeper" you were talking with?

Bill_Cross
07-11-2006, 05:03 PM
The Pickett's Charge scenario at the 135th. Gettysburg is one of the most vivid memories of my reenacting career.
Well, sheesh, Rodman, if you're willing to keep going back trying to relive an event that happened almost 10 years ago, no wonder these bloodsuckers are still in business! I know you've never met an event you haven't had fun at, but goodness, man!

For me, at least, there's something about the big numbers that just can't be duplicated at the smaller events.
The answer there is for all the streamers to kick their cots and coolers and go hardcore!

TeamsterPhil
07-11-2006, 05:28 PM
I made reservations for this Thusday night and let him we are on our way to Rich Mountain, WV to an authentic reenactment to raise money for preservation and recreate a battle "authentically as reasonable". He wondered why "they" did'nt do that "kind of thing" around Gettysburg.

I was speechless and had no response. I'm not from Gettysburg but has there ever (other than living histories) been any authentic reenacments at Gettysburg? Perhaps the annual reenactment is dying the death it should.

Paging Chris Anders......
Mr. Anders to the Courtesy Phone.......

Phil Campbell

frankstevanus
07-11-2006, 05:40 PM
Hey Bill Rodman:
I didn't talk to anyone so I don't know who lost what. But I also don't think that numbers mean a whole lot either. The event you coordinate at Neshaminy is great, but Gettysburg is big also and it sucks number 10! Big time di-di material.
I think it has a much to do with the leadership as the followership, you know? Gettysburg is all about the dollar. My sense is that 1st Mannassas and Cedar Creek are not far behind with the direction they are taking, too!
So size means little. It's the leadership that makes it

Frank,

Who lost $10,000 dollars, the event organizers or the "Inn Keeper" you were talking with?

FWL
07-11-2006, 07:32 PM
Frank,

Who lost $10,000 dollars, the event organizers or the "Inn Keeper" you were talking with?

Bill it was the Inn Keeper, his group runs several hotels/motels in the Gettyburg area. I know little about the reenactment except what my "moles" tell me. I'm still gathering intelligence on it. but rumors are it was not pretty. By inference I think the Gettysburg business community is getting upset. Also I should mention the bike week had something to do with them losing money. No sure why. So their loses are not all associated with reenacting.

Regards

Pvt_Idaho
07-11-2006, 08:27 PM
"I should mention the bike week had something to do with them losing money. Not sure why."

From what I have read and heard, Bike Week at Gettysburg is a rowdy affair sponsored by Jim Beam and Budweiser with an unceasing parade of loud motorcycles everywhere, heavy drinking, and wet t-shirt contests. Not exactly an inviting family environment.

I was warned away by reenactors who in real life are with local police/rescue forces. All police/rescue resources were in Gettysburg town leaving the reenactment's very thin. I did not want to duke it out with drunk bikers, especially being an unarmed Signal Corpsman (-;

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

flattop32355
07-11-2006, 09:25 PM
Paging Chris Anders......
Mr. Anders to the Courtesy Phone.......
Phil Campbell

Interesting....as often as some "authentic" reenactors bash the living daylights out of Mr. Anders and his events, I find it curious that he should be called upon and entrusted to lead the charge for an event at Gettysburg, that most sacred of Federal soil.

All I can say is, "Lead on, McDuff!". A Gettysburg as successful as McDowell, Summer of '62 or Shenandoah 1862 would be a noticeable improvement over the existing situation. It is one I would attend without hesitation.

Miss L
07-11-2006, 09:58 PM
Quote: "From what I have read and heard, Bike Week at Gettysburg is a rowdy affair sponsored by Jim Beam and Budweiser with an unceasing parade of loud motorcycles everywhere, heavy drinking, and wet t-shirt contests. Not exactly an inviting family environment."

With 15 years experience at Bike Week in Laconia, NH, I can tell you that's exactly what Bike Week is. It will only get progressively longer, worse, and will end up costing the taxpayers a small fortune for extra police/security and street clean up, and the residents will have to deal with the crime, vandalism, traffic, noise and public drunkeness and lewdness.

We're kind of 'stuck' with it up here - this was the 83rd year its been held. Someone should've nipped it in the bud down there.

But maybe the Harley dealer is just trying to drum up future business for his casino.

TheQM
07-11-2006, 10:18 PM
The answer there is for all the streamers to kick their cots and coolers and go hardcore!

Bill Cross,

Remember, I am a Streamer. At the events I attend that allow them, I'm going to have my cot and cooler. I wouldn't have it any other way. If anyone thinks they are going to hold an event with over a thousand participants and have no cots or coolers on site they are kidding themselves. There just aren't that many CPH Reenactors.

This thread seems to be going in about three directions. At least two of which have been beaten to death over the years.

MStuart
07-11-2006, 10:35 PM
Bill Cross,

Remember, I am a Streamer. At the events I attend that allow them, I'm going to have my cot and cooler. I wouldn't have it any other way. If anyone thinks they are going to hold an event with over a thousand participants and have no cots or coolers on site they are kidding themselves. There just aren't that many CPH Reenactors.

This thread seems to be going in about three directions. At least two of which have been beaten to death over the years.

Can I get a "Amen" from the audience on this?

Testify Brother!!

Mark

zouavecampaigner
07-11-2006, 11:35 PM
Well folks, as someone who lives on the way to the Harley Dealership, and works with the public, here's what I've garned over that weekend.

The tourists were very VERY p!ssed that the event dates were changed, but they were MORE angry to see the Bikers. The gift shop I work at on steinwehr ave. in the evenings was dead all night, instead of the usual thriving business, and the glass shelves were shaking so much that some of our items fell off and broke. 2 of the Biker gentlemen that came in talked to me for a while, and even they said that it was ridiculous what was going on in town.

The local police chief also said that the Gburg police wouldn't attempt to enforce any noise ordinances that weekend, and the mayor asked the public for suggestions on how to help make bike week (its not just a weekend anymore, and next year it might get extended another day) more tolerable for the locals. My fave letter to the editor about that said, "how about you enforce the laws that are on the books", and then quoted the noise ordinances of Gettysburg and the motorcycle regs in PA.

The noises were so horrible that a number of rangers did not even want to do their battlewalks, and/or were forced to cut them short. Now when HISTORY and EDUCATION have to take a back seat to the future owner of the Casino making his money, you think the NPS/boro would do something about that, before they lose THEIR bread-and-butter, but alas, this is Greedysburg.

The visitation to the park over 4th of July weekend was intense. In our bookstore, we did over $100,000 in business! The weekend of the event and harley "parade" etc, we did about $40,000. That should say something to those who don't think the Bike week affects tourism and visitation.

As for reenactors in town for the event, on Friday, I saw a total of SIX reenactors in town all night, and on Saturday, I saw TWO. Now, steinwehr ave is usually crawling with them, even when its NOT event weekend, but that was not the case by far. The shop I work at is right down from Regimental Quartermaster, so I can only guess how bad they did that weekend.

Thankfully, my migraine is gone now...and I'll stop ranting, and won't even MENTION the dang newspaper articles by a certain "reporter" who said how successful Bike weekend AND the event were, and how Bikers spend an average of $800 EACH when they come to Gburg. Yeah...riiiight.

Regards,
Shaun Grenan

Ephraim_Zook
07-12-2006, 07:43 AM
Ladies & Gents,

I received the following email from Julio Zangroniz regarding the subject at hand, and am posting it with his permission. Presented here verbatim.

"Ron,
Just saw your post in the Szabo Forum about what another correspondent told you about this past weekend's Gettysburg event.
I, too, was there on Saturday and about half of Sunday, and I have a few observations as a corollary to your friend's report.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jim Maupin, overall Confederate commander for the weekend, who told me --on the record-- that he had "about 100 rifles" on the field each day. He also had six cannon --in fact, the artillery crews seemed to outnumber the Confederate infantry during the first battle of the day on Saturday (though I must say that it was supposed to be mostly cavalry/artillery action being portrayed). According to Maupin, most of his cavalry "could not show up" because of the weather-mandated event delay.
On the Federal side, Ron Palese, acting commander after Dave Valuska had to leave the site due to a previous commitment, assured me that Vincent's Brigade alone had gone down from 176 pre-registered to about 100 on the field at the start of the event, though their numbers would get slightly higher as the event progressed, due to walk-ons, according to Palese.
Vincent's Brigade was camped in the woods, while the camp outside, out in the open, seemed about twice as big, so my estimate, buttressed by on-the-field observations of the second major battle on Saturday afternoon, was about 300-350 Federals, tops. Add to that the slim circle of tents in the "civilian area," plus sutlers and various hangers-on, and I estimate that you probably had about 500 participants all told.
Spectators were scarce, too. A family of five, from Chile (South America) was flabbergasted to learn it would cost them at least $125 to walk inside the gate on Saturday.
We spoke, in Spanish, just outside, and I gave them a number of website referrals so they could learn more about the American Civil War. Three of them are permanent residents in the Washington DC area (the other two were visitors who were to return home on Sunday) and I hope to guide them to a more "reasonable" event in terms of admission fees. I think the Gettysburg committee has driven admission prices just about as high as they can go, in terms of the numbers of people willing/able to pay those fees.
I didn't go on the field for any of the Sunday actions, but a walk behind the grandstands while the first battle raged showed about 1/3 empty seats --an entire section of the stands was totally empty-- and I have the photos to prove it. I didn't hang around for the Sunday afternoon battle, because I had another commitment back home.
For the most part, the participants that I spoke with expressed positive opinions about how the event was run. Clean portajohns, plenty of wood and water, etc.
One reenactor came all the way from Alaska (yes, he *is* a lumberjack) with his wife and two children, and they were delirious with joy to be part of their very first event. Again, they probably saw more people during this weekend than they do in an entire year up in "Northern Exposure" country.
I think that, once again, it was easy to see that an event is mostly what each individual participant chooses to make of it. If you choose to emphasize the bad, it will appear (to you, at least) as a bad event. And if you choose to emphasize the good aspects, it will be a good event.
Buyer beware.
This was my first visit to a Gettysburg reenactment in at least 3-4 years, and I truly enjoyed seeing some old friends onsite, as well as meeting with some photographic customers and replenishing some of my rapidly-deteriorating equipment/supplies.
Plus I captured some good photography that eventually will make its way into the pages of The Civil War News and perhaps a couple of other publications. Thus, I consider the weekend well worth the time and effort.
If you want, you may reproduce these observations on the Szabo Forum, if you feel they may help enrich the discussion.
Julio"

FWL
07-12-2006, 08:03 AM
Interesting....as often as some "authentic" reenactors bash the living daylights out of Mr. Anders and his events, I find it curious that he should be called upon and entrusted to lead the charge for an event at Gettysburg, that most sacred of Federal soil.

I think the ones that bash Chris and what he is trying to do is small angry group on the fringes of the hobby that will bash anything that they are not involved with organizing. They bash McDowell, Shenendoah 62, GTW ect. Admittedly these events are cross over events (not pure campaigner events) but they do have an emphasis on rules enforcement, a stong lean towards authentic reenacting and preservation. Could they be better yes but I think they are good events that have done allot for the hobby and preservation. I think these people are more threatened by what Chris is doing than the annual Gettysburg/Cedar Creek farb fests. I have a feeling Chris could care less but I should'nt speak for him.

Regular3
07-12-2006, 08:09 AM
Interesting....as often as some "authentic" reenactors bash the living daylights out of Mr. Anders and his events, I find it curious that he should be called upon and entrusted to lead the charge for an event at Gettysburg, that most sacred of Federal soil.

Hmm ... Could that be because he invites us - the great unwashed (read: "mainstreamers") to participate in his events? Nah, that couldn't be the reason.


All I can say is, "Lead on, McDuff!". A Gettysburg as successful as McDowell, Summer of '62 or Shenandoah 1862 would be a noticeable improvement over the existing situation. It is one I would attend without hesitation
I have yet to attend an event organized by Mr. Anders, but many of my comrades have attended McDowell, Summer of 64, and others, and none of them had anything negative to say about any of those events. On the other hand, we as a unit have not attended Goofyburg since 2003 even though we are part of Vincent's Brigade ... But I have little doubt we will attend the 145th.

As for the current state of the event, my son summed it up as we arrived on the site on Pumping Station Road several years ago, when he said "Someday I expect to walk in here and see a Ferris wheel." Was there one scheduled to be there this year? :-)

MStuart
07-12-2006, 08:33 AM
Did the "organizers" offer to refund reenactor $$ if you couldn't come because of the rains? Didn't think so. So they keep it no matter how many show up. Look at it in my warped, pseudo Economics 101 thinking...As long as they get at least 4000 reenactors to pre-register each year, why should they worry about what we think? They've gotta have some kind of baseline number that indicates "success"........

Mark Had 2 years of Spanish 1

dustyswb
07-12-2006, 08:33 AM
McDowell is hosted by the 37th VA and the PSL

Shen62 was a PSL/10th VA production.

Dave Pridgeon and Bob Denton are the organizers of these two events.

Summer of 62, all Chris, as far as I know.

Altecfive
07-12-2006, 08:38 AM
As Ron's Adjutant for the Federal infantry I can tell you there was 105 rifles from Vincent's 2nd and 1st Regiments camped in the fields, 40 from a combined Mifflin and USVs and 15 from Birneys divison. All these groups were in the field and because of the change in dates Vincent's went from a 350 field at Gettysburg to the 105 so yes there was a huge loss. I will say this, he personally was the one leading the charge for the re-enactors and the board who run Gettysburg. He pulled me into the discussion on it. Like I said and he agreed, Gettysburg needs a face lift. Thats the only way re-enactors will come back and I told the board that. I honestly think they could try like a Franklin. Where you have your campaign brigade that moves and does it thing and then a static camp for mainstreamers. I have done my share of campaigning and I do, do my share of mainstream when the wife comes along with cooler and cots. She cooks for the entire company, makes life a little easier when you come back from battles. I have served with RJ at Fort Delaware, and Chris when he was infantry comander at Ft. Delaware 2 years ago. I respect these two individuals views and ideas, RJ is one of the most knowledgable Buglers I have met and can double and triple tongue like its nobodies business. Chris, has his impression down to a T and looks more the role of an infantry officer and knows why and what they wore then most people. The reality of it is the hobby isnt going to survive if its one extreme or the other. The two groups of re-enacting styles have to learn to exsist together or else we are going to go out of exsistence. I do like small events where there is more movement and tactically challenging. But, for these large events it helps to give you a view of what the commanders dealt. These huge bodies trying to get there and fight. Lets face it, its pretty easy to move a battalion of 300 guys, compared to the 135th Gettysburg when they had 4 battlions line up next to each other in Brigade front and try to move as one to sweep up the rebs. Both are fun and both have their places. The best put by someone on this board is, every event, every experience, is in the eye of the beholder. They can choose to ignore Farb fest by the Sutlers at Gettysburg, and stay in camp, and enjoy it, or they can pick everything apart and be miserable. Just my 2 cents, sorry for rambling on.

Court Abel
95th PVI

Altecfive
07-12-2006, 08:41 AM
Did the "organizers" offer to refund reenactor $$ if you couldn't come because of the rains? Didn't think so. So they keep it no matter how many show up. Look at it in my warped, pseudo Economics 101 thinking...As long as they get at least 4000 reenactors to pre-register each year, why should they worry about what we think? They've gotta have some kind of baseline number that indicates "success"........

Mark Had 2 years of Spanish 1

Actually in the meeting Ron and myself had with the board they are going to refund the re-enactors cause of the rain. they are trying to figure out the best means possible. Wether its a post on the website or it goes down your chain of command in a formal letter from them. But, they do plan to re-imburse every re-enactor who couldnt make it cause of the rain.

Court Abel
95th PVI

Wild Rover
07-12-2006, 09:26 AM
Gents,


Wow, seems I overlooked this thread on round one, then find some pages of interest.

Anyhow - first- Dusty is right, Davy, Bob, Jeremy and crew ran Shen 62 and Mcdowell...I was honored and glad to be a part of the program, but in no way did I "make" the event.

Second- yeah you can blame Summer of 62 on me, and To the Gates of Washington, and for that matter FOTM 2000. (the first of this type of event)

Moving forward- always- there are two 145ths planned for next year, McDowell and September Storm (South Mountain/Antietam) along these lines and the possibility of a third. This would be a great year's schedule for groups looking to do the "cycle" with good solid events.

Washington County is backing September Storm as THE 145th for Antietam/South Mountain, and in conversations with the planning department and the visitors bureau they all agree on "quality over quantity".

For those watching, this could be a signal of things to come.

And in the future there is something occuring in PA in 2008. Not to worry.

For those looking for a Civil War Experience 2007 will be a banner year.

Pards,

Chuck A Luck
07-12-2006, 09:39 AM
All I can say is, "Lead on, McDuff!". A Gettysburg as successful as McDowell, Summer of '62 or Shenandoah 1862 would be a noticeable improvement over the existing situation. It is one I would attend without hesitation.

For the record, I am of the same inclination.

NHVsaxhorn
07-12-2006, 09:45 AM
I read with interest the comments on Gettysburg and a " BIKE WEEK?"
Having been a Laconia Police officer, retiring as Captain, I saw what used to be" Motorcycle Weekend" grow to " BIKE WEEK". Used to be that we had one police officer on duty during the day in the Weirs Beach section of Laconia ( on Lake Winnipesaukee..board walks, tourist, boats, arcades) until 4PM Friday, of Motorcycle Weekend. Then assigned 50-60 men for the night shift, augmented by some State Police. We'd get 50,000 on Friday...100,000 screaming idiots by Saturday, gone by Sunday at midnight. It was pretty much a New England thing.......Then the greedy merchants figured out if you can afford a $15,000 Harley YOU HAVE MONEY. They advertised in motorcycle trade magazines, got together a group headed by a " Director" ,sent representatives to other " rally" events such as Daytona and Sturgis to talk up " BIKE WEEK" and now, it's over a week long...cops working 12-18 hours a day.......cops brought in from all over New Hampshire.......100's of NH State Police.......even State Police from all over New England......US Border Patrol...........traffic tied up for 10-20 miles in all directions......for days at a time.....We'd have to institute elaborate traffic flow patterns, for 12-16 hours at a time, changing the traffic direction coming into and out of Laconia and Weirs Beach.......sending thousands of cars and motorcycles into other towns.......surrounding communites in turmoil, 6 dead I believe, this year on in motorcycle accidents around Laconia.........guns, drugs, felony assaults, several riots, tear gas etc........all for the money, grubbing local merchants......who wanted to " kick off" the tourist season.... Then the big gangs would come in.....hundreds of Hells Angels, Trampers, Pagans........we had gang fights right in the middle of downtown Laconia one year, chains, baseball bats.......Hells Angels waited for some group to come thru and trashed them in broad daylight.......And to quote one local banker, if you lined up the deposits on 52 Monday mornings......you couldn't pick out which monday followed " BIKE WEEK"....it's all cash, and lots of goes into the pockets untaxed........OR the out of town " vendors" as in carnival types.....pin strippers, leather vendors, customizers come into town from all over, suck the money out of the bikers, and leave following the bikers somewhere else. What's the town left with? A few happy merchants...usually the ones who sell beer, a happy Harley Davidson shop, trash, bleeding ear drums, and MORE bikers next year. All they want to do is see as many naked women as they can get to see,,,,,,get drunk, raise ********************, fight, and look at each other's bike. Used to be Laconia was a rally where 50,000-100,000 screaming idiots came...now it's 400,000-500,000......in a town of 20,000 people and a 49 man police department. And no I don't have anything against motorcycles....I'm riding on my 4th Harley Davidson....riden all my adult life, and I wrote the state grant for Laconia's Harley......
If someone in Gettysburg doesn't stop it, and soon, it cannot be stopped. It's probably too late. You have no idea how the word spreads amongst the bikers.........

Shortround
07-12-2006, 11:50 AM
I got into this hobby just at the end of the 125th cycle and joined the excellent 3rd Infantry of Bay City, Michigan. In a weird way those guys were kind of like the real civil war soldiers. They didn't know how to march except for what they learned in a book. The 125th crew was generally a little younger than now, most of the guys spent every dime of their pay getting their gear. You were part of a grand celebration of the American Civil War. The Northern guys were reenacting in honor of saving the republic. The Southern troops were reenacting in celebration of the quest to keep their way of life and independance. It all seemed to go along with Reagan's vision of America of the 80s. Indeed, the event was so celebrated that the 1990 reenactment of Lee's surrender actually was in "Army" magazine.

I got in to reenacting on the 130th cycle. I call that the first veteran-cycle-of-reenacting. Fresh fish like me learned from the old pros who had been to dozens of events. I got to see the grand events like Gettysburg, Murfreesboro, and the rest. Soon I was one of the reenactors of the established cycles.

Then the 135th cycle came. Now we're on the 140th cycle.

I know a lot of you guys love Rod Hodge. I don't care that he was one of the original hardcores. What I disliked about him was his "us vs them" attitude in reenacting. To use a quote from the movie "Hoffa", "If you slight a person, either real or perceived, that (edited) will hate you for the rest of their life."

Not too many things are better for slighting people than being smug. When you slight a fellow reenactor you end up taking three to four people out of the hobby. Reenactor A knows B and C. B and C will eventually leave the hobby because of A's bad experence. Fishing, boating, going "4 x 4"ing, and other things are all seen as more fun than reenacting.

Then women came into the hobby. Then the civilians came into the hobby. Now there are arguments about how many of what should be on the battlefields. The end results are the exceptions are the majority and the old majority would rather go fishing.

A few year past, under another name on this board before the present registration system, I said that CW reenacting should be shut down until the 150th cycle. There are French/Indian war, WWII, WWI (wallow in the mud), Revy War, and Vietnam reenacting. If you need a powder fix then go there.

But when only 200 people show up at Gettysburg then you know the hobby is in trouble. And the worst thing is some of us could see this coming.

But then again lots of all the reenacting hobbies are in trouble. The WWII guys are in serious decline. The economy and strict gun laws are hurting that side. The F & I guys are doing well. However, that's a small and hardcore niche market and their numbers would be stable.

Folks, you just might be seeing the end of CW reenacting. It died from lots of causes. No, it's not at all Rob's fault, I was just picking on him. The culture and demographics changed. In a way our multicultural society is at odds with a Civil War between two hetrogenous parts.

The real pity is the hobby might not be in good enough shape for the 150th cycle to matter. And I was really looking forward to that. :(

Dignann
07-12-2006, 12:53 PM
It will only get progressively longer, worse, and will end up costing the taxpayers a small fortune for extra police/security and street clean up, and the residents will have to deal with the crime, vandalism, traffic, noise and public drunkeness and lewdness.

Arrests, complaints up during this year's Bike Week

By SEAN HILLIARD

Hanover Evening Sun
July 12, 2006

Last year, Gettysburg Borough officials dubbed Bike Week, "The weekend without incident."

Things were different this year.

Chief Rolf Garcia told the Gettysburg Borough Council Monday night that police made 12 arrests related to Bike Week this year. In 2005, Bike Week resulted in just one arrest.

"It was tough," Garcia said of an eventful weekend.

In addition to the arrests, police fielded more than 100 calls, Garcia said. Three noise complaints were called in, but Garcia said there were more complaints of noise on Lincoln Square.

Police issued citations for 27 traffic violations, eight to motorcyclists, Garcia said. Two motorcyclists were given parking tickets.

There was also a 20-person fight at The Pike Restaurant & Lounge near Gettysburg in Cumberland Township, Garcia said. It wasn't immediately clear if any of the arrests stemmed from the fight and Cumberland Township Police could not be reached today.

However, Garcia said area bars and facilities really helped police. Some, including The Pike, closed early.
Council member Caroline Smith praised the borough's highway department for clearing the roads of trash and getting the town ready for business, despite how hectic Bike Week was.

http://www.eveningsun.com/localnews/ci_4041264


Eric

tompritchett
07-12-2006, 02:18 PM
I think the ones that bash Chris and what he is trying to do is small angry group on the fringes of the hobby that will bash anything that they are not involved with organizing. They bash McDowell, Shenendoah 62, GTW ect. Admittedly these events are cross over events (not pure campaigner events) but they do have an emphasis on rules enforcement, a stong lean towards authentic reenacting and preservation. Could they be better yes but I think they are good events that have done allot for the hobby and preservation. I think these people are more threatened by what Chris is doing than the annual Gettysburg/Cedar Creek farb fests. I have a feeling Chris could care less but I should'nt speak for him.

I think it would be more accurate to say that they bash every event that does not meet their hardcore standards. If the event is not hardcore, it is mainstream and therefore deserves to be bashed. IMHO the impetus for this bashing comes from a fairly small group that then egg others on. This not a campaigner vs. mainstream issue as most of the bashing is within the campaigner ranks themselves.

Bill_Cross
07-12-2006, 03:57 PM
I think it would be more accurate to say that they bash every event that does not meet their hardcore standards.
It would be even more accurate to say that in most cases, it's because it's not their event. I have seen time and again the Internet "boo birds" defecate on events simply because it wasn't being put on by their friends or groups they like.

IMHO the impetus for this bashing comes from a fairly small group that then egg others on. This not a campaigner vs. mainstream issue as most of the bashing is within the campaigner ranks themselves.
The problem is the untoward influence the Internet has given some folks (and I would include myself in that group). One or two trolls (often the same person or him and a friend or two) used to populate this forum, spreading disinformation and bashing events they not only didn't attend, but didn't INTEND to attend. Both this forum and the AC Forum have done a lot to clean up the troll and bashing problem.

And the so-called "hardcore standards" sometimes exist more on paper than in practice.

McDowell, for example, has had as much hard marching in the past as some "certified" campaigner events (the NPS Antietam March put on by the PL, for example). I remember the first McDowell I did and the blisters on my feet when we finally got to Possum Holler.

bill watson
07-12-2006, 04:07 PM
"The problem is the untoward influence the Internet has given some folks (and I would include myself in that group). One or two trolls (often the same person or him and a friend or two) used to populate this forum, spreading disinformation and bashing events they not only didn't attend, but didn't INTEND to attend. Both this forum and the AC Forum have done a lot to clean up the troll and bashing problem." -- Bill Cross

The next logical step is extending the banishment to events. Speaking just for myself, I am tired of extending the privilege of participation to those whose intention was and remains defecating on the event. I'm becoming aware that I'm not the only one.

The Amish have a practice: Shunning. When someone's behavior puts them outside the group's ability to tolerate aberration, they are shunned. Their presence is never acknowledged, and participation in the group's core practices is denied them. It's harsh and old fashioned, but there are some days it looks very, very attractive to me.

The success of every event over on the history-heavy end of things requires participants to be investors, not consumers. Everyone attending has to accept the premise that one of the reasons they are there is to help make it work for everyone else. If you're there for some other reason -- whether to celebrate historical nonfiction, drink beer, or indulge your passion for event bashing -- that's looming ever larger as a reason to cross your name off the list.

Bill_Cross
07-12-2006, 04:28 PM
The next logical step is extending the banishment to events. Speaking just for myself, I am tired of extending the privilege of participation to those whose intention was and remains defecating on the event. I'm becoming aware that I'm not the only one.
The problem, of course, is agreeing on what constitutes behavior that merits shunning, and who decides. I'm sure there are any number of groups who would be happy to ban me from their events if I had any intention of showing up. They have concluded, based on whatever calculus they use, that I'm a barrier to the success of their endeavor, have "insulted" them or their pards, etc. If you think this isn't so, I'd be happy to share an email I received from someone who thinks of himself a leader of the campaigner wing, and who has held senior rank at several events in the past few years. Apparently I had the temerity to speak my mind here and was advised I should "desist instantly, you of all people."

The best remedy is the one chosen by this forum and the AC Forum: remove these individuals from circulation and deny them their Internet podium. This place is quite pleasant to hang out now (unlike in the past, when it often ressembled a junior high school cafeteria without adults supervising things); the AC Forum has also moved far beyond its days when the debate over "deconfliction" reached just this side of libel, and included some of the vilest language I've seen outside a hockey locker room, all of it encouraged by those in charge.

If the "boo birds" want to attend events they piss all over (as one did at the 2003 McDowell after telling the world that "real men" would be marching at Port Gibson), then I suspect the best remedy is laughter at their absurdity.

bill watson
07-12-2006, 06:01 PM
I may be just a bit worn out by turning the other cheek.

It would be something done at the event organizer level.

Bill_Cross
07-12-2006, 06:18 PM
I may be just a bit worn out by turning the other cheek.

I hear you, Brother Watson, I hear you.

Pvt_Idaho
07-12-2006, 06:29 PM
I can't speak for anyone else, but the reasons I did not go to Gettysburg this year were two-fold, a conflict of scheduling and Bike Week. With only a week's notice for the rescheduling, I could not change my plans. I had commited to two living history events on the 7th-9th of July a year earlier. Then when I heard the reenactment was going to be held the same weekend as Bike Week, I was advised not to venture anywhere near Gettysburg because of the chaos it causes.

I don't think this is the death throes of CW reenacting, just an unfortunate set of circumstances this year. If the Gettysburg committee had given reenactors a few weeks leeway to juggle schedules more might have come. I probably would have. Why isn't a rain date built into the grand plan?

I don't know why the business community ever went along with the Bike Week idea. Seems very disruptive and contrary to the historical draw of the town.

Just my two cents worth,

Respectfully,

Audrey Scanlan

bill watson
07-12-2006, 08:49 PM
"don't know why the business community ever went along with the Bike Week idea"

Miss Audrey, the answer to your question is contained within the asking: Why would a business community go along with anything? For the money.

At one Gettysburg annual, a biker group actually camped with the Confederate and claimed to be reenactors. That pretty much did it for me.

Doug Cooper
07-13-2006, 02:05 AM
I don't think this is the death throes of CW reenacting, just an unfortunate set of circumstances this year. If the Gettysburg committee had given reenactors a few weeks leeway to juggle schedules more might have come. I probably would have. Why isn't a rain date built into the grand plan?

I don't know why the business community ever went along with the Bike Week idea. Seems very disruptive and contrary to the historical draw of the town.

Just my two cents worth,

Respectfully,

Audrey Scanlan

Who the heck really cares about this event!!!???? Its a bad joke getting worse.

One can only hope and pray it IS the death of this particular farb fest, the product of the money changers of the "hobby." That would be a blessing indeed. Anybody stupid enough to still try to hold an event a week later into the teeth of conflict, is also stupid enough to hold the event every year on the same soggy ground that has now been washed out twice. As for the business community, one need only examine the Chamber's 7-3 vote to put a Casino right next to hallowed ground to understand what drives some folks in this town, despite all the evidence of the ruin it will bring. History is not the motivator. Respect and reverance is not the motivator.

Fighting the Casino is job #1 in Gettysburg, not lamenting over a miserable excuse for a CW carnival.

By the way, Loomis and Company don't say boo about being against the Casino on their website or the farb fest website. Instead of using the event to provide a platform to fight that abomination, it is just business as usual for the moneychangers. They are a disgrace.

jweiland77
07-13-2006, 05:43 AM
Im tired of people saying that if you go to an event you have to reenact to make the event work. This is a hobby not a job!!!! Im spending my money on gas, tolls, registration, powder and caps to go to these events. If the money isnt going to battlefield preservation then where is it going? The way G-burg was run this year was a total joke and waste of time and money. With all the cost that it takes to get to an event, maybe they should start looking to benefit the reenactor and not their own bank account. Granted I cant say for sure that people are making tons of money off G-burg. But if they werent then would they go thru all the trouble on running it every year? So I think these event need to start doing more for the reenactor like maybe giving powder,a meal or something. Because the bottom line is if we arent at the event there is no event and there are more and more event every year to pick from
Thanks John

Cool it with the language there John THP

Pvt_Idaho
07-13-2006, 06:37 AM
All,

There were several dialogues on this thread. I was glad to hear from those who attended the event as to how it went. Those that hate the present Gettysburg reenactment have announced themselves loud and clear. Come up with a viable alternative in Gettysburg that gives to the CWPT or the battlefield directly that is a streamer cross-over type event and you will have the event.

I've been reenacting two years. I don't hate the present event--last year's was not the best reenactment I've been to, but not the worst either. If there was an alternative event that gave its proceeds to battlefields where I was welcome, I would go to the alternative.

I like Gettysburg the town (although in my mind it always been on the cheesy tourist-trap side compared to say Sharpsburg). Yes, the almighty dollar convinces businesses and chambers of commerce to do what they do, but not all businesses benefit by those decisions. Bike Week benefits the Harley dealer, bars and hotels. So will the casino. But what about the other venues that make their living serving the reenacting, antique, and family tourist trade? Can these band together enough to be heard and put the brakes on the likes of Bike Week or the casino? Or is the majority business in town controlled by hotel/bar interests that want a Bike Week or casino? I don't live in Gettysburg, or PA. I have no say other than with my feet and supporting those who do not want the chaos in Gettysburg as represented by Bike Week and a casino.


BTW FYI am not a miss, Dr. or Doc will suffice.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

captdougofky
07-13-2006, 07:02 AM
Folks

Vote with your feet, don't go for a few years and the change you want will happen, because what has been said about the almighty dollar is true. I for one think these fees they charge us to reenact is getting out of hand. I never heard of the band having to pay and we are the band the reenactors as a whole. We may not agree on how to reenact but if we can not agree on this, the hobby as a whole will always be at each others throat. I agree with the Bikeweek thing as well and I have been riding a Harley since 73, if you look around every bar has a bike night here in Kentucky, its about the money, we need to start using ours as a whole, words on this forum mean nothing, vote with your feet and the wallet has no choice but to follow.

Always Doug
Lyons Battery
Kentucky

Trimmings
07-13-2006, 08:00 AM
celebrate historical nonfiction

Our library has fiction and nonfiction. History is in the nonfiction section. The phrase quoted phrase loses me, perhaps this is a typo in a race to pack as many negatives into one post as humanly possible. Been a whole bunch of that lately. I would like to point out the level of negativity in general in this thread astounds me. While I am not sure who "they" is, the Hatfields and McCoys could have taken lessons from this nonsense.

Focus on replacing the annual shameful Gettysburg event with something worth attending and put these petty junior high school girls feuds aside. To shut up and practice what I preach, does anyone else remember the old Herr's Ridge events? They were reasonably nice affairs for their time and did well until the one deluged by a frog strangler that flooded out everyone and everything. That may have been the last one or the next to the last Herr's Ridge Gettysburg reenactment.

Ray Prosten

pumpkinroller
07-13-2006, 03:19 PM
I can tell you if some Inn Keeper from G-burg lost money during bike week it was his own fault or he is just full of $hit. I reenact on the authentic side of the hobby but also have a collection of motorcycles. I had to make reservations 8 months ahead for G-burg bike week. The town was packed with a estimated 20,000 motorcycle fans and not a open room for miles. Also I see someone mentioned the Reg. Quartermaster was closed.......NOPE, they were there raking in the cash just like every other G-burg weekend !
PM Clark

Rob Weaver
07-15-2006, 08:07 AM
Long-time lurker, first time poster on any forum, so please be kind. My unit and I attended Gettysburg. No, it wasn't the same as in years past, and I go all the way back to the 125th. I believe spectators have been overcharged for years, and have transmitted my sentiments to the GAC. However, until a major commercial disaster, which this year may have been, nothing will change. Was I disappointed in the event? Yes. Did I have fun? Yes.
A lot of reenacting has to do with who you're with. Our unit has a lot of new guys. They don't have the gear or experience to have a good time at a primarily c/p/h event - it would just be an experience in misery for them. They haven't been to dozens of big events, Gettysburgs included, to compare them to. But they had a great time because for them, the event was about our company. We drilled, marched, fought and camped together well. We started a little pick-up baseball game that our kids talked about more than the battles. I've got teenagers who rarely cook without a microwave and they were proud that they could feed themselves out of their haversacks. Do I see things that need changing? Well, I'm not blind. But we need to keep a little perspective. Like the gent from Alaska, my soldiers had a great time.

-Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I, 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

tompritchett
07-15-2006, 10:04 AM
They haven't been to dozens of big events, Gettysburgs included, to compare them to. But they had a great time because for them, the event was about our company.

Two excellent points that we all need to remember.

1) For many reenactors who have not been to a lot of events, these larger events can be fun and exciting. Once the events start becoming the same-o/same-o, then they will start branching out into other areas of the hobby. I can think of several posters here and on the AC forum for whom this was their progression in the hobby. Some have gone totally over to the c/p/h side while others do both. I even have to wonder how much the remembering of how good the 125 and 135 events were relative to the current events is due to their "superior" quality and how much is due the fact that those doing the comparing were much less jaded then than as they are now.

2) For me and many other reenactors, especially on the mainstream side, a major factor in whether an event is enjoyable or not is in our interactions with our fellow reenactors. That is why we tend to reenact with units and messes. We want to be with people with whom we know we can have a positive event with rather than with strangers about whom we know little or with people that will know that will ruin the event for us. Even interactions over the internet help in forming those bonds of initial trust.

TeamsterPhil
07-15-2006, 12:38 PM
Even interactions over the internet help in forming those bonds of initial trust.
Tom,

You are becoming quite the iconoclast. Using the internet to expand your horizons? Next thing you know, you'll be helping me scrub out a set of camp kettles after feeding a company of guys nasty boiled beef and rotten taters.

Phil Campbell

Mark Wadsworth
07-15-2006, 12:58 PM
Did the "organizers" offer to refund reenactor $$ if you couldn't come because of the rains? Didn't think so. So they keep it no matter how many show up. Look at it in my warped, pseudo Economics 101 thinking...As long as they get at least 4000 reenactors to pre-register each year, why should they worry about what we think? They've gotta have some kind of baseline number that indicates "success"........

Mark Had 2 years of Spanish 1


The only thing the organizers want is your hard earned money.

Rob Weaver
07-15-2006, 03:35 PM
I even have to wonder how much the remembering of how good the 125 and 135 events were relative to the current events is due to their "superior" quality and how much is due the fact that those doing the comparing were much less jaded then than as they are now.

Truth be told, those great big events weren't as great as memory serves them to be. I distinctly remember listening to a Yank in a kilt play "Amazing Grace" in the camp 2 streets over. (Actually, it could have been 20 streets over the way pipes carry.) We were marched off the battlefield, and out of the fight, on the second day because there was a rumor of a flanking maneuver by a rogue Confederate commander. I, myself, was part of a "hardcore" unit at the time, the phrase c/h/p still having not yet been coined. Part of our credo was "It's better not to use it at all than use an anchronism." So I didn't own period underwear at the time. Yep. You guessed it. My impression of the event is forever colored by the memory of 5 days of chafing wool. (Perhaps that was too much information.) I'd only been in Civil War a couple years, 'tho, didn't have any rank or responsibilities and so it was a splendid romp. I just found my pictures from 125th Gettysburg the other day. There I am, dress hat with a 1st Corps badge, trousers bloused in my socks ... That's before we were told that was "over-represented."
I recognize, and concur with those who feel Gettysburg is overpriced and commercial. So is tourism in the town itself. And has always been. The history of tourism in Gettysburg is a facsinating study itself of the tension between the sacred and the commercial. Walk downtown and you'll find lots of people making money off the Civil War. And they have been since 1863. How many of us are wearing wool today because our parents bought us a flag and a paper felt hat in the Gettysburg Tour Center or the Wax Museum? I was a tourist in Gettysburg so often as a child that eventually I wanted to go to college there, and did Class of '84. I guess my long and rambling point is that our hobby shares that tension. All the "why we do this" speeches laid aside for a moment. We do this because it's fun and allows us to do a mildly extreme hobby in interesting venues. Is the Gettysburg venue worth it?

tompritchett
07-15-2006, 11:51 PM
Next thing you know, you'll be helping me scrub out a set of camp kettles after feeding a company of guys nasty boiled beef and rotten taters.

Or cutting up the firewood to feed the fire cooking the food.

Pvt_Idaho
07-16-2006, 08:54 AM
Dear Rob Weaver,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Gettysburg. I have similar sentiments.

For people who are new to reenacting, are in a company with people they enjoy being with and share that common interest in the Civil War, big events can be satisfying.

I've only been doing Civil War Reenacting two years. I've wanted to play a Rev War or Civil War soldier for a long time--since I was a kid--but it took a long while to find a CW company who didn't automatically dismiss me from being a soldier because of who I am. Two years ago I found two companies, one Confederate artillery, the other Union Signal Corps, who wanted me with them. I reenact with both groups as their schedules differ for the most part and I am getting to be a fair hand at both roles and have a great time being with my units.

In this time I have been reading and researching about the Civil War (took a college course on the war last fall) and am a volunteer at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. I have learned quite a lot from my research and being able to work with the terrific staff and collection of the NMCWM.

I've ventured to more progressive events which I have also enjoyed. I learn a lot from participating in battles and scenerios that are carefully laid out based on the historical event--Chris Anders and Kevin Air and staff, my complements to you. I hope to participate in more of such events in the future. I have found a great company of authentic-oriented reenactors to do this with too.

Good company sharing an enthusiasm for history and each other makes reenacting worth spending my free time in a big event or small.


Regards,

"Doc" Scanlan

bill watson
07-16-2006, 09:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill watson
celebrate historical nonfiction


Our library has fiction and nonfiction. History is in the nonfiction section.

It should have been "celebrate historical fiction." Typo.


"Focus on replacing the annual shameful Gettysburg event with something worth attending and put these petty junior high school girls feuds aside."
Ray Prosten

I'm not sure what junior high school girls are putting on an event. I am sure that dissatisfaction with the status quo has been a motivator for a lot of new events for any number of years anyone would like to suggest.

Meanwhile, what's stopping you from organizing an alternative to Gettysburg? It looks like a lot of the folks who already arrived at the fork in the road that divides "fix bad events" with "start new, better events" are already involved with new, better events that don't include An Alternative to Gettysburg. So there's a vacuum waiting to be filled. All it takes is leadership. This is the part where folks step up and say "I'll DO this" and then "We'll do this" rather than "Why doesn't somebody do something?"

Bill_Cross
07-18-2006, 07:03 PM
Our unit has a lot of new guys. They don't have the gear or experience to have a good time at a primarily c/p/h event - it would just be an experience in misery for them.
Why?

Some of the experience of the CW soldier was about sharing misery. Some of my best memories in this hobby are things like putting up a shebang with fellow RPs at "Pickett's Mill 2001," or building a fire in the rain with wet kindling at Recon 2. Maybe those newbies would come home with experiences that would make them bond together.

And the gear part is overstated. There are lots of groups that will help with loaner gear.

They haven't been to dozens of big events, Gettysburgs included, to compare them to.
Some on the c/p/h side of the hobby went straight to jail and never passed boredom.

But they had a great time because for them, the event was about our company.
Talk to Bill Rodman. He has fun in both worlds. Your newbies might, too. CPH isn't about "better," it's about "different, more historical."

Rob Weaver
07-19-2006, 10:37 AM
A while ago, a friend of mine put it to me like this: "How often do you have to be wet, cold or hungry to be able to speak to that condition?" My reply: "Once." "So, there you have it," he said, "Why do it repeatedly?" I have gone the route of historical suffering, including the Virginia Quickstep treated with burnt hardtack. Did I learn from it? Yes. Was it worth it? Frankly, my jury's still out on that - especially on the last item. I like to call myself a "recovering campaigner." After 30 years of reenacting, I can say I've become a pretty good hobo.
I misspoke when I used the word "gear;" what I really meant was "skill." A couple of us in the unit grew up in the country, around hunting, camping and the like, and can take care of ourselves pretty well. We're also fully adults of the age of majority, so when we've had enough, we can say so. Our new members are teenagers from an urban setting. Although they've done the Scout thing, they still don't have the primitive camping skills. Furthermore, they do have parents who take a dim view of the adult leadership putting their children in mildly dangerous circumstances. If I sleep in the rain and get sick, that's my business; if one of my young troops does the same and misses school, I'm going to hear about it. Same for minor injuries and the like. They don't have the skills yet to be competent at an immersion event, and if they've carpooled with one of the older folks, they don't have the ability to simply pack up and go home when they've reached their limit. I believe in the "crawl, walk, run" theory of training. Since "run" is the now inattainable ability to do the skills of an 1860's soldier while people are actually shooting at you, the best any of us can achieve is "walk." Maybe "power walk." :) My troops are at "crawl," and I need to recognize and reward that. Are they good at "crawl?" Absolutely. Are they ready for something else yet? Not yet.

Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

Bill_Cross
07-19-2006, 05:07 PM
A while ago, a friend of mine put it to me like this: "How often do you have to be wet, cold or hungry to be able to speak to that condition?" My reply: "Once." "So, there you have it," he said, "Why do it repeatedly?"
While some on the OTB will insist I'm not a real campaigner, I have slept many times in the field and only been seriously wet once: the Great SUBMERSION event the RPs held at Gettysburg in honor of the 11th NC. The rain came down in Biblical proportions, and we didn't realize the Pitzer's Woods camground is on top of a dry creek bed. When I needed a straw to breathe, I realized it was time to move my bedroll.

But generally I have been colder sleeping off the ground on a cot than against the ground, which makes a natural seal.

I misspoke when I used the word "gear;" what I really meant was "skill." A couple of us in the unit grew up in the country, around hunting, camping and the like, and can take care of ourselves pretty well. We're also fully adults of the age of majority, so when we've had enough, we can say so. Our new members are teenagers from an urban setting. Although they've done the Scout thing, they still don't have the primitive camping skills.
I'm a city boy born and bred, "don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' babies" (to borrow that famous line from "Gone With The Wind"). Frankly, most field skills can be picked up pretty fast IN THE FIELD, especially when administered by a skilled First Sergeant. It's not like we're butchering game and navigating by the moss on trees! If you can show a man how to build a fire, cook some slab bacon and maybe roast a tater (the tuber kind, not spectaters), he can eat pretty decent for the weekend.

Furthermore, they do have parents who take a dim view of the adult leadership putting their children in mildly dangerous circumstances. If I sleep in the rain and get sick, that's my business; if one of my young troops does the same and misses school, I'm going to hear about it. Same for minor injuries and the like. They don't have the skills yet to be competent at an immersion event, and if they've carpooled with one of the older folks, they don't have the ability to simply pack up and go home when they've reached their limit.
The most danger I've exposed my son to reenacting is driving to and from the event. Beyond that, it's mainstream events with no safety enforcement (the scariest moment in the hobby for me was a 13 year-old Reb drummer boy brandishing a pistol at the "Chancellorsville" fiasco at Ft. Pickett VA some years back.

Many folks have the wrong idea about an immersion event, as if it's being plunked down in the middle of the wilderness ala "Outward Bound." In fact, the Boys of 186X lived in groups, had tasks assigned to them, and in general lived off the largesse of the commissary. Given how well-fed the average American male now is, most teenagers can get along fine on a power-loading fast food meal before the event begins, plus whatever's in his haversack and issued for the event.

I know, I have a 17 year-old hardcore who ends up eating most of my ration issue after scarfing his own.

Your mileage may vary, but I think most anyone who can follow instructions and is flexible about where he sleeps and what he eats will make a fine campaigner.

cblodg
07-19-2006, 07:55 PM
Amen Bill, amen.

The only way to properly break in a new recruit is to take them into the field. If someone is worried about safety, it should be fully laid out to that person that this is not a fluffy safe hobby. Accidents happen, and that's why many events now require insurance or signature on a waiver.

We learn in the field, that's why we do this hobby. When I did my first campaigner event, I had everthing but the kitchen sink on my back. I learned, and now go with less. I haven't done a horse collar yet, but I'm working up to it.

Just my .02 though.

Chris