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Bill_Cross
07-12-2006, 12:32 PM
In another thread, my good friend and fellow RP (when he's not mainstreaming), Bill Rodman, wrote:

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.
No, you're not a Streamer. Not entirely at any rate. Like many on this forum who attend Streamer events, you also campaign. In fact, the only campaigner events that really work well are those that attract cross-overs like you.

There, I've said it. I feel better now. ;-)

Now, some of my fellow campaigners will doubtless come forward and insist that their small mess hardcore event is superior to McDowell, "War on the James," the first "Burkittsville," etc., but with a few exceptions ("Pickett's Mill 2001" springs to my mind among those I attended), the events that campaigners themselves rate as "superior" bring in large portions of their attendees from people like you, Bill Rodman: Streamers who campaign. I bet if you did a breakdown of the attendees at "Rich Mountain," you'd find very few who only do campaigner events. And without them, the events become shadow plays of history, sideshows of the real thing.

You can "suggest" a corps of rifles with 20 men (we do this heroically at Gettysburg each year, but only for demonstration purposes), but the limitations quickly become obvious even to those of us willing to suspend our disbelief. Case in point: at the 2001 "Pickett's Mill," the assault on the CS high ground on Saturday worked perfectly because of the restricted frontage and thick undergrowth. The Sunday continuation had to be called off in mid-fight because the CS forces were attempting a flanking maneuver. The only problem? That flank originally had been occupied by another regiment (not present because we didn't have the numbers). The organizers stopped the event, rather than let it disintegrate into a tactical, a decision we all welcomed and applauded.

The notion of attracting a thousand rifles to a non-cooler/cot event isn't so bizarre. McDowell has inched up on that magic threshhold. It's not theoretically impossible if the events continue to stress an alternative experience, not iron man triathlete reenacting. Campaigner organizers who ignore the crossover does so at the peril of overall numbers. And it's no longer about the gear (which we were supposed to get beyond several years ago). In fact, many mainstream impressions are as good or nearly as good as their campaigner rivals. I've seen this over the years at McDowell: in three iterations, the level of the kit has improved markedly. Heck, even Bill Watson's kit is better than when I first met him! ;-)

Numerous campaigner events offer cot-less, cooler-less historical experiences without miles of marching or odd-ball uniform requirements. I remember the original "Burkittsville" asked Federal participants to wear "a sack coat." Numerous attendees of subsequent campaigner events started out there. It was a fine experience, one folks look back on now and wonder why there aren't more events like it.

So, I will respectfully disagree: it's possible to pass the 1,000-man mark for a non-Streamer event. It's just going to take a little more creativity and some persuasion. In spite of my years, I remain an optimist at heart.

dustyswb
07-12-2006, 01:01 PM
Bill,

I agree with the possibility of having a 1,000 participant event that is historically accurate.

My only problem is your use of the words "campaigner event". To me, this means a moving event and you might not get 1,000 willing to march any distance. I think a more "doable" approach would be to:

1) have a stationary event, camp like the originals did for that battle

2) recreate accurate scenarios given the number of participants i.e. don't do Pickett's Charge with 100 guys.

3) recreate accurate bodies of the army with the men involved i.e. companies had 75 - 100 men. If you have 500, you have 5 companies of ONE regiment, not three battalions.

4) Logistics should be kept "simple". Wood, water, toilets, rations. You shouldn't need any more for three days. And keep rations simple; meat, bread, coffee and sugar. That's what they were issued.

5) Don't hold a reenactment depicting one battle on another battlefield.

6) Don't compromise on event or uniform guidelines

7) Don't advertise it as something than what it is/will be.

Now all we need is about 1500 acres with woods, fields, streams, etc.

tenfed1861
07-12-2006, 02:13 PM
"3) recreate accurate bodies of the army with the men involved i.e. companies had 75 - 100 men. If you have 500, you have 5 companies of ONE regiment, not three battalions."
Mike,they could also be a regiment either in the mid-late stages of the war,or just recovering from a disease epidemic.
Cullen Smith

tompritchett
07-12-2006, 02:35 PM
the only campaigner events that really work well are those that attract cross-overs like you.

The only problem is that such events are now considered to be mainstream events by the purists. Look at the flack that Chris and Dave received for advertizing Shenadoah 62 as a campaigner event. Personally, I think the terms "campaigner" and "mainstream" have become obsolete for describing events because each calls up different images in different peoples' minds. One suggestion might be to define events based upon the degree of immersion expected of the participants. Full immersion for the hardcore events, semi-immersion for a Shenadoah 62, and battlefield only immersion for a Cedar Creek.

dustyswb
07-12-2006, 02:42 PM
Cullen,

My example was just that, an example. Bodies portrayed would be accurate for the scenario, regardless of timeframe in the war.

frankstevanus
07-12-2006, 03:37 PM
I don't think size has anything to do with the quality of the event. For instance, Rich Mountain is purpored to be a rather large reenactment, in fact I heard they had fellows they were turning away. But it is also supposed to be one of the most authentic events this year.
What makes the difference is the decision makers of these particular events. If they allow all these inaccurate impressions such as vivandieres and dismounted people for instance, not only does that make the reenactment less appealing (from a historically accurate perspective) but it ialso discourages the more authentically minded impressionists to attend. It is the rules and regulations that make the quality or lack thereof at an event.
The best events I have attended have been small events not because of the numbers but in spite of them. Gentlemen, just like 150 years ago it all falls on the shoulders of the leaders. If they fail, we all fail. It is as simple as that.
Frank Stevanus

bill watson
07-12-2006, 03:58 PM
Good events with larger numbers will not be possible until two things change.
First, the uncontested assertions from those who claim "campaigners" are a bunch of dour, demanding Puritan* purists who don't have any fun.
Second, the handful of dour, demanding Puritan purists who heckle, hound, emasculate and tear down good events with larger numbers. They give credence to the myth that we're not having any fun.

*Puritan. A Puritan is someone who is against, say, the sport of ratting. He is against it not because of the damage to rats, but because you enjoy it. It is the enjoyment that is under attack.

Bill_Cross
07-12-2006, 04:12 PM
My only problem is your use of the words "campaigner event". To me, this means a moving event and you might not get 1,000 willing to march any distance.
The term "campaigner" has become attached to the potential audience of attendees more than as a description of the event. For example, the "Berkeley Hundred" LH hosted by the RPs some years ago was absolutely static, to reflect the circumstances of the Fifth Corps after being "fought out" in the Peninsula Campaign. Kevin O'Beirne's Antietam March had quite a bit of ground covered, but also bivouaced in a Boy Scout Camp (complete with many rowdy youngsters). Again, a "campaigner" event because of the crowd it was pitched to. McDowell 2001 had marching up into Possum Holler, followed by a running battle back to town, yet many in the "campaigner" community call it a "mainstream" event.

As to your other suggestions, they sound like what Chris Anders has been trying to do with his "campaigner lite" events like "Gates of Washington."

You correctly identify, too, the crucial problem: land. I have several interesting scenarios I could put into play if I had someone on the ground to get the land permissions.

6) Don't compromise on event or uniform guidelines
I have not been to any "campaigner" events that did this, so it seems to be a non-issue to me.

7) Don't advertise it as something than what it is/will be.
I work in the world of marketing, and one man's hype is another man's truth. I have found some events that others liked over-hyped, while others that didn't meet expectations for the "in" crowd were winners for me. Alternately, "Into the Wilderness" was a HUGE disappointment for the Federal staff (of which I was one) because of the ahistorical actions by the CS command (including going on-site before the event to lay telegraph wire, something that simply didn't happen during the Wilderness campaign!). We literally had a screaming confrontation with some of the yahoos in gray who were firing at us from unsafe distances. Never saw a group of straps more depressed and disspirited as that Saturday night. Yet the rank and file for the most part said it was a splendid event and went home with big grins on their faces. Go figure.

Now all we need is about 1500 acres with woods, fields, streams, etc.
Somebody say "amen."

Good events with larger numbers will not be possible until two things change.
First, the uncontested assertions from those who claim "campaigners" are a bunch of dour, demanding Puritan* purists who don't have any fun.
Second, the handful of dour, demanding Puritan purists who heckle, hound, emasculate and tear down good events with larger numbers. They give credence to the myth that we're not having any fun.
Everybody say "amen."

*Puritan. A Puritan is someone who is against, say, the sport of ratting. He is against it not because of the damage to rats, but because you enjoy it. It is the enjoyment that is under attack.
My favorite definition of a Puritan is someone who lies awake at night festering because he knows that someone out there is having fun.

Campaigner events are terrific fun, often because you come home totally exhausted from living the life of the Civil War soldier and having no time to think modern thoughts. Interesting how few mainstream events I hear extolled in retrospect, other than the "big numbers" anniversary ones 10-20 years ago. Yet I spoke with someone just the other day who became incredibly nostalgic about the first "Burkittsville." There's a kernel of insight in that difference. Think about it.

TeamsterPhil
07-12-2006, 08:39 PM
Here is a proposal for an interesting experiment. Take the attendance lists for Payne's Farm, the last McDowell, Shen62, Gates of Washington, the last Recon, and the upcoming Rich Mountain (they are all events in the eastern theater that attract "campaigners") and compile them into one list.

This would tell you how many "campaigners" you MIGHT get to one event if:

a) Leaders could set aside personalities and the wish to command and COOPERATE.
b) The event could be scheduled with no other large eastern theater events (or other things like Mother's Day, Easter, or the Suoper Bowl) within 4 to 6 weeks of it.
c) There are TWO sets of clearly stated expectations -- one for the rank & file, another for the command/organizational staff.

If scheduled correctly, this event might even attract fifty or a hundred guys from the other side of the High Scaries.

Phil Campbell

Bill_Cross
07-13-2006, 08:38 AM
If scheduled correctly, this event might even attract fifty or a hundred guys from the other side of the High Scaries.
As many as that?

No offense, Phil, but if I were organizing an event, I wouldn't build it around western participation, nor would I expect a western event organizer to build it around my coming across the Big Scaries. Given gas prices and the difficulty many find in getting away just for the weekend-- much less building in a 15-30 hour round trip drive....

I've had fellers bail on events in the past because they couldn't get away until after work Friday night and didn't want to drive 9 hours and arrive exhausted (or fall asleep at the wheel). Yes, there are heroes who do, but remember, this is a hobby.

I know you personally travel a long way to events (when you can get away at all), and that a few others do as well. And I treasure the westerners who've supported my companies or events in the past (had some fine western boys at Recon 2). And I'd love to get out West once Biscuit's in college and I'm semi-retired (or if Scotty would beam me to Red River). But the notion that deconflicting eastern and western events is going to substantially raise numbers ranks up there with cold fusion and ending world hunger for probability.

Not to mention all the ill will that was generated over this bogus notion. We won't go there, it's not going to change any minds or increase amity if we do.

c) There are TWO sets of clearly stated expectations -- one for the rank & file, another for the command/organizational staff.
Please explain how this works? At the events I have worked on there has always been a set of expectations for the attendees and another one for the staff (field and "Kabuki").

Regular3
07-13-2006, 09:11 AM
Good events with larger numbers will not be possible until two things change.
First, the uncontested assertions from those who claim "campaigners" are a bunch of dour, demanding Puritan* purists who don't have any fun.
Second, the handful of dour, demanding Puritan purists who heckle, hound, emasculate and tear down good events with larger numbers. They give credence to the myth that we're not having any fun.
To the mind of this fence-sitting mainstreamer, there are too many who display the behaviors of the dour, demanding purists ... And unfortunately they're conceiving, organizing, and running events that seem to say pointedly "we are the anti-mainstream, and proud of it." Otherwise, why hold a reenactment of a rather insiginificant backwater action (Rich Mountain) a week before a major anniversary event? They know that for a whole host of reasons from standards to fuel costs to travel time to unit commitments, etc., few if any mainstreamers are going to do large events back-to-back - And that's the way they want it.

As for fun, the dour, demanding purists are having lots of it, making fun of mainstreamers on the AC Forum.

Wounded_Zouave
07-13-2006, 09:15 AM
>>1) have a stationary event, camp like the originals did for that battle<<

During battle the troops often men slept under arms in battleline... no fixed camp. But how often is this actually done at events, campaigner or 'streamer?

- Cyruss Simons

Bill_Cross
07-13-2006, 09:44 AM
To the mind of this fence-sitting mainstreamer, there are too many who display the behaviors of the dour, demanding purists... who are conceiving, organizing, and running events that seem to say pointedly "we are the anti-mainstream, and proud of it." Otherwise, why hold a reenactment of a rather insiginificant backwater action (Rich Mountain) a week before a major anniversary event?
Not true! Events are often determined by when the land is available. No event organizer I've ever worked with has said "let's schedule this right next to the Battle of Big Butt so no Streamers will show up." It's usually quite the opposite. But it plays to mainstreamer prejudices for you to say otherwise.

Would we like to stay clear of big events that draw off our crossovers? Absolutely! Are there organizers who don't want crossovers? A few, but their events are the 50-100 man variety.

And your characterization of campaigners as "dour, demanding purists" is not supported by the actual events and their standards. Do we have standards? Yes. Are they hard to meet? For all but the reenactor who simply doesn't care about his impression, no. I'm good friends with Joe "Jersey Skillet" Hoffman, and he's told me for years that his best customers for his premium gear come from the mainstream.

We aren't the "anti-mainstream," we're the alternative.

I'm in marketing, and if you don't offer customers a distinction from the competition, why on earth are they going to buy your product or service? The same is true for this hobby: if you want to experience something closer to what the Civil War soldier experienced, then you have an alternative. It's why hardcore mainstreamers like Bill Rodman become members of campaigner groups. Bill LOVES mainstream events (ask him), but he also likes the alternative experience of campaigning.

Darrell, with all due respect, I've never seen you at any of the "crossover-friendly" events. Have you been to McDowell? The Recons? You might want to try one.

As for fun, the dour, demanding purists are having lots of it, making fun of mainstreamers on the AC Forum.
Gee, sticks and stones. And mainstreamers piss all over campaigners on this forum, big deal. It's time you fence sitters stopped bellyaching about evil campaigners and simply jumped in the water. The Rowdy Pards are going to be at Rich Mountain. I don't recall hearing anyone asking where they could fall in with some campaigners and feel welcome????

dustyswb
07-13-2006, 09:49 AM
To the mind of this fence-sitting mainstreamer, there are too many who display the behaviors of the dour, demanding purists ... And unfortunately they're conceiving, organizing, and running events that seem to say pointedly "we are the anti-mainstream, and proud of it." Otherwise, why hold a reenactment of a rather insiginificant backwater action (Rich Mountain) a week before a major anniversary event? They know that for a whole host of reasons from standards to fuel costs to travel time to unit commitments, etc., few if any mainstreamers are going to do large events back-to-back - And that's the way they want it.

As for fun, the dour, demanding purists are having lots of it, making fun of mainstreamers on the AC Forum.

Darrell, my question to you is "What do you want to do? Something you've done all your reenacting "career" over and over again or something that is new and different? The invitation is out to everyone. If one doesn't know of the event because their "leaders" don't put it in the unit newsletter or it doesn't appear in CCG, then they are losing out, IMO.

"Unit commitments" too often equates to being a lemming. Folks who don't talk to others in the hobby or don't use the internet don't know of the "alternate" events. They are restricting themselves immensly. Free thinking is a lost art in reenacting.

As to your last statement, that's just laughable..............

Greg Deese
07-13-2006, 10:38 AM
Can campaigner numbers ever rise? Answer: Yes, they already are. The numbers have increased steadily and will continue to do so, as long as we don't conflict events and support each other, especially among people that care about history anyways.

Greg Deese

Wild Rover
07-13-2006, 10:45 AM
No Dusty- you said-

"Unit commitments" too often equates to being a lemming. Folks who don't talk to others in the hobby or don't use the internet don't know of the "alternate" events. They are restricting themselves immensly. Free thinking is a lost art in reenacting.

Most reenactors do not have the time, or want to spend the time searching for information, but rather elect others to do so.

Maybe 5% of the hobby is as free floating as you desire, that's it. The rest don't.

And telling them they need to is like scolding a teenager.

Working within and with organizations is the key...circumventing them only creates tension that is counterproductive.

That teamwork is what will move us all forward.

Pards,

dustyswb
07-13-2006, 10:51 AM
Chris, I would agree with you to a point, but if a leader of a group doesn't use every source available to give his group choices, how good a leader is he?

No one "needs" to do anything. But if you are counting on someone to "plan" your season, you are doing yourself a disservice.

And if you are in the hobby to recreate the Civil War, you will take the time.

If you are in it to party with friends in warm clothes, the setting doesn't matter.

Bill_Cross
07-13-2006, 11:06 AM
If a leader of a group doesn't use every source available to give his group choices, how good a leader is he?
You're both right up to a point.

When I was still in my mainstream unit back in 2000, I suggested to the "captain" that he let the lads know about McDowell. When he found out it was going to conflict with Hammonassett, he wouldn't even consider mentioning it, because H. was a USV-sanctioned event, and he didn't want to appear to undermine the USV (another example of why deconfliction is bullshit). I tried to point out that no one who would think of going to one event would go to the other, but there was no convincing him: it was a conflict.

No one "needs" to do anything. But if you are counting on someone to "plan" your season, you are doing yourself a disservice.
That's why there are Internet sites and huckleberries to go with them. ;-)

I agree with Chris that scolding isn't going to shame anyone into switching. But if someone's already predisposed to consider an alternative, then campaigning isn't as difficult or as scary as the rumor mill would make it seem, especially given how kit has improved. I was talking with a friend the other day about coming back to McDowell in gray this time, and he hemmed and hawed about the cost of sweating up a gray kit. We talked about what Fed gear he could use, what CS gear he could borrow, and pretty soon it was down to a jacket, a hat and a pair of britches. Some of that we might even be able to lend him.

It's an alternative experience, friends, not adult circumscision. ;-)

If you're happy with your present events, then don't continue reading this thread. If you're restless and looking for something new, email me privately, email Bill Watson, email Dusty Chapman, the list is long with different personalities to suit about all comers.

What are you waiting for? You CAN have it both ways.

Regular3
07-13-2006, 11:31 AM
Not true! Events are often determined by when the land is available. No event organizer I've ever worked with has said "let's schedule this right next to the Battle of Big Butt so no Streamers will show up." It's usually quite the opposite. But it plays to mainstreamer prejudices for you to say otherwise.
You're right - It's probably more along the lines of "there's a megafest the week after that - So what?" And you're also right about prejudices. I'm trying to lose mine but they keep coming back.


Darrell, with all due respect, I've never seen you at any of the "crossover-friendly" events. Have you been to McDowell? The Recons? You might want to try one.

Right again, I have yet to make one, but it really is not for lack of desire or interest or the tunnel-visioned attitude that anything CPH related is bad. It's just that dang it, so far every time one has come up that I'm sure I can get to (starting with Berkeley Hundred), life has gotten in the way ... Or I find the "lemming-like" connection to the organization I just happen to be president of this year intrudes. But I swear that before I get too old to do this any more I am going to get to one. :-) Maybe McDowell next year ... And since I am president, I'll see about getting it scheduled as a unit event.


Gee, sticks and stones.
Touche. I stand chastened. See above about prejudices.

Wild Rover
07-13-2006, 12:03 PM
Dusty,

You're right. It is the leaders job to scout out all events, and work to be sure the events selected appeal to the whole unit.

And when one wishes to host events, approaching the unit leaders and working through the chain of command is the right and honorable approach.

Trying to snare portions of the unit in an "unofficial" manner has lead to many a bump in the road.

Most reenactors value unit loyalty over self enjoyment.

Really.

GrumpyDave
07-13-2006, 06:03 PM
"Gee, sticks and stones. And mainstreamers piss all over campaigners on this forum, big deal. It's time you fence sitters stopped bellyaching about evil campaigners and simply jumped in the water. The Rowdy Pards are going to be at Rich Mountain. I don't recall hearing anyone asking where they could fall in with some campaigners and feel welcome????[/QUOTE]"

My friends in the RP's are a bunch of first rate folks. And as a side note, every member unit of the PL who attends any event; I know for a fact would be happy to have guests at anytime and help them out in any way they could to feel at home. Find the Potomac Legion's website and look for Company "I."

Bicker, bicker, fuss, fuss. Don't knock it until you've tried it. ;)

Bill_Cross
07-14-2006, 09:20 AM
My friends in the RP's are a bunch of first rate folks.
That's very kind, Dave, but I'm glad you pointed out we're not alone in welcoming crossovers. And the compliment is returned: the Potomac Legion is a top-drawer group of fellers, and I have many, many friends among its numbers. We look forward to working with you boys in the future (and shooting your #$@&s at the next McDowell ;-)).

GrumpyDave
07-14-2006, 04:58 PM
[QUOTE=Regular3]"To the mind of this fence-sitting mainstreamer, there are too many who display the behaviors of the dour, demanding purists ... And unfortunately they're conceiving, organizing, and running events that seem to say pointedly "we are the anti-mainstream, and proud of it." Otherwise, why hold a reenactment of a rather insiginificant backwater action (Rich Mountain) a week before a major anniversary event? "

Just an FYI, Rich Mountain is being held very near the battle anniversary dates, on original ground, and this little battle caused the state of Virginia to lose about 1/3 of it's land mass and a large chunk of it's population. The State of West Virginia had its beginnings with this fight. The history does matter, doesn't it?

Cedarnassas and Rich Mountain are two different events, catering to folks who enjoy two different things, generally speaking. I don't think, Rich Mountain, with it's authenticity standards and participant caps will effect the other "event." Not one bit.

BTW, there'll be an event on the Bull Run Battlefield in August. It's not too late to register.
Coda: Registration for Rich Mountain was filled in March of 2005.


Who will be the Fisher's Hill 100?

captain_kirk
07-24-2006, 08:31 PM
Boys, this is all good to discuss and I have been doing this off and on since 1973. Im back in again, kids married etc. I feel the one should go to the event and enjoy the battle, friends, camps etc.not count stitches or check who washes his socks or not. I am now 60 years old and in fairly good shape and worked for my "Uncle" for 8 Years. I have spent over three years of my life sleeping on the ground, on M-60 exhaust grates,water filled bunkers, and oh yeah. one night in the mist of a chigger/tick convention!! You name it, I have I have proberly slept there. I have eaten good food from the camp fire, Lurps, C rations, and other living things that would turn some stomachs. As for me, at my age, I hang around the campfire, have one or two single malts with our division staff, and head for Fort Ramada for the night along with Gen. Gabrial Raines.
Kirk Fuller

Rob Weaver
07-25-2006, 08:15 PM
I have spent over three years of my life sleeping on the ground, on M-60 exhaust grates,
Kirk Fuller

Might I infer that you're an M-60 series tanker, 19E type? I was a 19B tank platoon leader on M-60 vehicles. Tank Table VIII - the most fun you can have with your clothes on!

When I started doing Civil War (after several years of Revolutionary War) what we called "hardcore" was actually sleeping on the ground in a dog or improvised shelter, eating out of your haversack and actually using your gear instead of keeping it pristine for "displays." I'm still doing it that way. I've seen "hardcore" give way to "authentic" to "Campaigner" to "Progressive" to "c/p/h". Although a lot of campaigners may not realize it, the movement has had a great impact positively on the hobby. I think that there are more people in the "mainstream" doing what we were doing back then, and finding it's enjoyable and doable. I think the movement toward portraying a single regiment's experience of a conflict, rather than the entire engagement, is a good development. I wish there was less posturing and defensiveness on all sides. On the whole, I feel that the hobby has moved slowly in the direction that "hardcores" were pointing in all those years ago.
Cue music: "I was hardcore, when hardcore wasn't kewl."

Sgt. Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteeers

bob 125th nysvi
07-25-2006, 09:21 PM
I'm really not seeing much of a difference between a 'campaigner' and a realistic 'mainstreamer'.

Example I was leaving a reenactment. I was carrying an extra tent rolled up and hung from my shoulder by a string.

Going up hill I passed a guy (with a woman) carrying a considerably heavier load including some lumber than I was (and he was a smaller guy to boot). It was a hot day and we stopped in the shade to exchange pleasantries.

He explained that he was a campaigner, noticed I was carrying everything in one trip with no modern stuff and asked if I was a campaigner and if any of the guys in my unit were campaigners. I said I wasn't and didn't think that anyone we had with us considered himself as such.

We finished our conversation and continued on our way. Me fairly easily and he staggering under his load.

He considered himself a 'campaigner' but in reality, he wasn't getting three miles with all his junk and I probaby could have gone all day.

So was he or wasn't he? And who's to say?

Am I because I get in and out in one load and don't carry any modern stuff (except earplugs) with me? Says who?

I find it all very confusing.

Maybe the way to differenciate the events is to advertise what is and more importantly NOT allowed and see who shows up. Make the parking area a significant distance from the camps and see who really hikes in and who has distance limitations?

Could the numbers go up, sure. As soon as you define who you are, what your going to accomplish and make it interesting.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

cosgood
07-26-2006, 01:41 AM
Bob,

Just a thought, could some of this gear the guy had been carrying been his wife/girlfriends? I know when I go to events, my knapsack is all I have. Inside it is my shelter half, blanket, groundcloth and maybe an extra shirt and socks. Anyhow just an observation.

bob 125th nysvi
07-26-2006, 08:49 PM
and I thought of that but if he's dragging the wife along how does he qualify as a "campaigner"?

I guess I'm trying to get a handle around a definition because we are looking to get one segment of the hobby to increase and its got to draw from another don't we need to define what we are, what they are, what the differences are and how to cross recruit.

For example I don't think of myself as a campaigner but I have yet to see a definition that disqualifies. I also have yet to see a definition of a campaigner event that doesn't exclude how I participate in "mainstream" events.

Maybe the 'campaigners' are making recruiting more difficult than it needs to be because they assume the differences are greater than they are.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

RJSamp
07-26-2006, 09:19 PM
Bob at A140 we had a couple of companies in our 2 battalion brigade walk in with little more than a shelter half (no end triangle thingies and not a full shelter tent) or an extra rubber blanket for a tent (making two in their kit, one of which might be a poncho)..... slab bacon, coffee, onion, potato, hard tack, et al in their haversack, 60 rounds.

they camped bivouc style, pulled guard duty as ordered by Brigade (we weren't called onto the division picket line during the weekend as our turn had come up a few days prior), scrounged firewood off of the fence lines or pulled squaw wood out of the woods (other nearby family camping mainstreamer brigades couldn't find any firewood...), drilled and fought by the bugle, and held their own during the battles.

The rest of us camped in shelter Tents.....premade tent poles so we don't have to chop down live saplings....a little better food....some sleep apnea machines and the like. But no cots, A's, Wall tents (three for the entire brigade.....and that was for the staff) a couple of fly tents....

We heard loud and clear after the event that since they weren't in the 'hard core' battalion that slept out in the sunken road our bivouacker companies weren't campaigners.

Right kit, right attitude, right drill, knew their weapons, knew the skirmish drill, carried it in carried it out, bivouac camp...... and these same boys have participated in many EBUFU , c/p/h living histories, et al

Oh Well.

ilfed104
07-27-2006, 03:19 PM
much ado about pseudo-campaigning. If you haven't been on Red River I or Red River II and never been west of the big scary mountains you have no idea what real campaigning is. Talk to some of the veterans of those "campaigns" if you want to know about campaigning.

Until you experience a march down the road in the wilds of Louisiana you haven't been on a real campaign.

The events you are talking about may have campaign elements in them but it's a very small taste of what a real campaign is about.

Just my .02 cents worth,

Rick Keating

Button Whizzer
07-27-2006, 03:38 PM
A cruel man would have asked how far they marched and how many times they moved camp at whatever reenactment that was with the sleep apnea machines. Were those early war three panel machines or the late war single panel machines with the rivets?

Tongue firmly planted in cheek,

Brandon

bulletsponge
07-27-2006, 03:59 PM
Tsk. And the first thing little boys do after building a treehouse is to make sure nobody else can climb up and join the fun.

http://www.spottydog.us/pix/calvin_gross.png



We heard loud and clear after the event that since they weren't in the 'hard core' battalion that slept out in the sunken road our bivouacker companies weren't campaigners.

RJSamp
07-27-2006, 04:51 PM
A cruel man would have asked how far they marched and how many times they moved camp at whatever reenactment that was with the sleep apnea machines. Were those early war three panel machines or the late war single panel machines with the rivets?

Tongue firmly planted in cheek,

Brandon

Well the sleep apnea machines (oxygen generators) use a battery in a hard tack crate to generate the O2. Am sure those nearby appreciate the lack of snoring (I know I do....we've got several guys on them, including the colonel).
And they use the small grommets, not rivets.

More to the paint these would be our heavy shelter tent camping mainstreamers....not one of the three companies (out of 13) that I would consider our campaigners.....the ones that bivouacked at A140 and carried everything in an out of camp.

They did just fine at Raymond 2001 for example.....that where the 1st Federal Division Infantry campaigned it (reset up their camp each day) for three days.

By the definition....if the Iron Brigade licked it's wounds on top of Culp's Hill for four days July 1 - 4, 1863) and didn't move that means they weren't campaigners.....

Always laughing......

Bill_Cross
07-27-2006, 04:54 PM
much ado about pseudo-campaigning. If you haven't been on Red River I or Red River II and never been west of the big scary mountains you have no idea what real campaigning is. Talk to some of the veterans of those "campaigns" if you want to know about campaigning.
Yes, well all know that "West is best," and that nothing done back East can compare.

Yawn.

ilfed104
07-27-2006, 05:24 PM
Yes, well all know that "West is best," and that nothing done back East can compare.

Yawn.

was a real campaign covers more than a few miles from Friday to Sunday. Events in the West as well as the East are called "campaigner" events but really only have elements of a real campaign.

Those who lasted through Red River I (and I wasn't one) learned what real campaigning was like minus the minie balls and cannister. They learned about helping move artillery us and down steep hills, bridging creeks with what was at hand, and what is was like to be on a long march.

There were things that went wrong at Red River I but in spite of that it was quite an experience for those who made the march.

[editted - personal attack - THP]

tompritchett
07-27-2006, 09:29 PM
Lets keep the personal attacks down boys.

Thomas H. Pritchett
Moderator

tompritchett
07-27-2006, 09:33 PM
Is it my imagination, or has the description of a "campaign" event now become synonymous with a "harcore" event this season. I have seen several events over the past few years that preciously would have been considered campaigner events being now described as "mainstream".

RJSamp
07-27-2006, 10:13 PM
Is it my imagination, or has the description of a "campaign" event now become synonymous with a "hardcore" event this season. I have seen several events over the past few years that preciously would have been considered campaigner events being now described as "mainstream".

Well it used to be that the A/C forum was about Authentic Campaigners....and a Campaign event involved marching from campsite to campsite with a battle or two along the way. Take a look at the events that are considered c/p/h and tell me how many are campaigns with battles.

Take a look at the thread about what was your favorite event of the last five years....(mine was Outpost 2000, nearly 6 years ago)....and how many are Campaign events with battles?

We get a Red River or a Raymond every couple of years....and yes they would be hard core campaigning compared to a Pickett's Mill, Rich Mountain, I600, National Park NPS, set piece living history, rowing across a harbor, or 200 rifles against 200 rifles EBUFU 'battle'.

To be a campaign event you've got to go more than 5AM Reveille, drop packs, pull ram rods, and return to the cars by 12 the next day. And yes, more and more 'mainstream/progressive' events are above that bar.

Chickamauga 1999 featured the 1st Federal Division in shelter halves and fly's. Raymond 2001 we changed campsites during the event and marched our equipment into and out of battle. Franklin we event put some miles on the soles to get to the north battle and camp site.
Morgan's Raid II we're going to cover more ground whilst mounted. than in 1 more hill MRI. Campaign Events? Absolutely. Hardcore? nope.

Scottish Songbird
07-27-2006, 11:05 PM
Ok, I'm sure I'm going to sound like a real idiot here...but somebody explain to me exactly what is meant by Campaigner and Mainstream events? I've only been in this hobby for 25 years (started at 16) but was not really active for the last 8 years or so. For some reason I don't remember these terms...maybe I was just too into the ladies things?!?!? So...............don't get mad at a lady butting in on the subject here, be kind....I don't want to get 'beat up' by a bunch of soldiers!!!:eek:
Oh, I do remember the term 'hardcore'!

bill watson
07-28-2006, 08:36 AM
It's a big game about who is the better human being. The definitions of campaigner is, by those who consider it a badge of accomplishment, constantly changed. Wes Clark, who stopped being active about the same time you did, used to say that a hardcore was someone who cut fewer corners than me and a farb was someone who cut more.
The attempt by some to appropriate desirable adjectives like "campaigner" to describe their event has, most recently, led some to remind them that a campaign in 186x involved significant movement, as in "Overland Campaign" or "Chancellorsville campaign." It isn't spending a weekend in a fort or moving from spot to spot in a national battlefield park and counting that as "movement."
What you have come in on, and it has taken quite a few by surprise, is a renewal this summer of the assertion by some that anyone not as historically accurate as themselves is unworthy, an assumption that is rapidly going from implicit to explicit here and on other forums and boards. And with that we're seeing renewed attempts to make the definition of accurate as "what we do rather than what you do."
As John Teller noted above, the boys have built a new tree fort and they're making sure nobody else gets to use it.
It makes me suspect, once again, that the most strident and unpleasant voices in reenacting belong to the fellows who in the real world are the third mechanic in a two-mechanic garage. This world of illusion we create emerges as the only place they can experience success -- even if they have to game the definition of success.

Wild Rover
07-28-2006, 09:20 AM
I am going to say there are far more "progressive" reenactors than at any other time in the hobby.

But that is from my point of view.

You see perspective is everything, and recently there has been an effort to further divide the hobby, as renegades get all bent out of shape when the mainstream starts to reach thier "bar", and then they are driven to move further.

It is not basedon anything but the need to one up someone. Sorry been in the hobby long enough to know most of these are just about who's got the bragging rights.

personally I am very pleased with the state of the hobby, and seems that the "mainstream" is actually far more towards the progressive side,than towards the farb side.

I th as moved, and will in the next few years travel further, and to keep it going we must work with, not against each other.

Unless you are just in it for yourself.

Pards,

Lee Ragan
07-28-2006, 09:35 AM
Chris,
I belive you are right about the one-upmanship being a big problem in this hobby. In many ways it does intice people to improve but it also turns many off the hobby. Reenacting is not the only hobby where you will see this happening. Some people just can't function in life unless they can "prove", they are better than someone else at any human activity.

Bill_Cross
07-28-2006, 10:09 AM
I think it was sociologist Franz Fanon who said the ferocity of the infighting increases in reverse proportion to the value of the prize. In other words, given how marginal the campaigner wing of the hobby is in raw numbers and self-esteem, it's not surprising that the infighting to define "who's best" or even "who REALLY is a campaigner" is big. Given, also the paucity of campaigner events, there's a lot of time for the denizens of the Internet to squabble and back-bite. We're now up to five pages on this thread with almost no positive suggestions on how to increase campaigner numbers.

No, now we're back to debating what constitutes a campaigner event. As if anyone really cares or if it really matters. Will you come to McDowell if I can prove it's a campaigner event? Or if someone on the OTB convinces you it's really a mainstream event, will you stay home? I've been to three McDowells in a row, and every one of them has been different in significant ways from the others, but still we MUST, NEED, HAVE to have definitions that will tell us whether we've been to a mainstream event. The marches, the accuracy of the impressions, even the battle on the original ground, do nothing to change the minds of people, most of whom haven't attended.

And if I point out the imperfections of campaigner events that have been sanctified by the kewl crowd? Well, then I'm being a bad sport or worse.

When, as is usually the case, there are no measurable, quantifiable, impersonal standards to decide these questions, we resort to personal attacks, often scripted off-stage. How many of us have received emails saying "have you seen so-and-so's posting on the Blabbo Forum? We need to weigh in and smash that #######!"

And even that's not good enough, no, now we have contributors to this thread who aren't satisfied to say "X is not a campaigner event," but who feel the need to say "So-and-so is not really a campaigner."

If you can't out-argue someone or cite some history to prove he's wrong, attack him personally. Works every time in politics, no matter how much the public CLAIMS they don't like attack ads. Attack ads work, and so does Internet character assassination.

It's all rather pointless, because the revolving door of the hobby means that absolute numbers aren't going to grow. There's the inevitable arc of a reenactor: many of us start out in wonderment, rise up in enthusiasm and zeal, then gradually burn out and leave. How many prominent names have simply disappeared in the past few years? Some of that, I'm quite sure, is because of the infighting that demeans the efforts of others who give up significant portions of their free time to work on events, smears their reputations, and in general prevents cooperation on a broad scale. Instead of looking for ways to promote the growth of more authentic events and impressions, we've spent our capital on debating East vs. West, so-called "deconfliction," which events are REALLY campaigner, etc. The truly Scary Mountains are the ones in some people's brains that turn them into verbal thugs and bullies.

So I ask again, since almost no band-width has been devoted to answering my question:

Can campaigner numbers ever rise?

Regular3
07-28-2006, 10:11 AM
It's a big game about who is the better human being. The definitions of campaigner is, by those who consider it a badge of accomplishment, constantly changed. ... (snip) ... This world of illusion we create emerges as the only place they can experience success -- even if they have to game the definition of success.
And one aspect of that gaming seems to be constantly moving the line of authenticity, not necessarily forward but sometimes sideways, so that only "they" (whoever "they" are) will know where it is. Thus, those of us who aspire to cross it in order to someday participate in one of "their" events find that in order to do so we need to buy one more item because the one we bought for the last event won't cut it this time. Or worse, one that should be correct for any year by dint of being issued in 1860 is banned from an 1863 scenario.

Bill_Cross
07-28-2006, 10:16 AM
Thus, those of us who aspire to cross it in order to someday participate in one of "their" events find that in order to do so we need to buy one more item because the one we bought for the last event won't cut it this time.
Darrell,

This is not an impediment to participating at most campaigner events. I cannot remember any major campaigner event in the East, as well as a few I looked at in the West, where a PEC kit will not get you in. It's usually easier with blue than gray (a good-quality lid, coat and trousers will often carry the day, and any good reenactor should have an Early War bayonet scabbard of the two-rivet variety). But the quality of kit, even among so-called mainstreamers, has improved in recent years. Also, many groups like the Potomac Legion encourage cross-overs and will loan gear to those who lack the finishing touches.

It's not about gear, it's about attitude. If you're willing, we'll make sure you're there.

tompritchett
07-28-2006, 11:09 AM
So I ask again, since almost no band-width has been devoted to answering my question:

Can campaigner numbers ever rise?

The problem with your question is the issue being discussed - what defines a campaigner. Currently we are seeing more and more mainstreamers who attend 1 - 3 events per year that 2 - 3 years ago would have been labelled campaign events. For example, in Bill Rodman's battalion, which is primarily a mainstream unit, there is a core of reenactors which will attend several more history heavy events (avoiding the campaigner label) each year. IMHO, this is probably the best means to supply the larger numbers for the history heavier events. As these more progressive mainstreamers experience the more history heavy events, they will be become more and more comfortable with events that further expand their horizons and challenge their comfort zones. Some may even ultimately abandon the mainstream aspect of their reenacting entirely and focus exclusively on the history heavy events. As I see it, one of the big growth areas for the "campaigner" numbers is with the part-time campaigners who do both mainstream and history heavier events. Unfortunately, and this comes back the definition issue, there are those who consider such reenactors and most of the history heavier they attend as "mainstream" and not "campaign". By their definitions and standards, this is not positive growth and, to some, may actually be detrimental to the campaigner effort because of a dilution of standards and mindset caused by the influx of "mainstreamers".

However this can growth can be easily torpedoed if the campaigner-purists continue their attacks on events and event organizers, such as Dave, Chris, the two Bills, because their events are not meeting the purists' ultimate standards. If these organizers are burned out as a result, what will happen to the cross-over or bridge events? More than likely they will die as others will see the carnage and seriously question whether or not they want expose themselves to such abuse. The hobby will progress from having a full spectrum of events from the most hardcore to the ultimate farbfest, to one that has become essentially polarized into pure mainstream and the elite campaigner events with nothing in the middle.

captdougofky
07-28-2006, 11:13 AM
Darrell,

This is not an impediment to participating at most campaigner events. I cannot remember any major campaigner event in the East, as well as a few I looked at in the West, where a PEC kit will not get you in. It's usually easier with blue than gray (a good-quality lid, coat and trousers will often carry the day, and any good reenactor should have an Early War bayonet scabbard of the two-rivet variety). But the quality of kit, even among so-called mainstreamers, has improved in recent years. Also, many groups like the Potomac Legion encourage cross-overs and will loan gear to those who lack the finishing touches.

It's not about gear, it's about attitude. If you're willing, we'll make sure you're there.
Bill I could not agree more, you have a way with words. I wish everyone who put thought to words had your style and manners.

Always
Doug Thomas
Lyons Battery
Kentucky

tompritchett
07-28-2006, 11:14 AM
Gentlemen, lets be carefull to avoid turning this thread into a flame war. I can understand the frustration that several posters are showing in their posts and, in many cases, I can understand why they have those frustrations. But lets try to avoid direct attacks on specific segments of the hobby. It is alright to describe behaviors and actions but it start crossing the line when implications are made upon peoples' status outside of the hobby.

Wild Rover
07-28-2006, 12:11 PM
While heart attacks are possible, in fact a distinct possibility (LOL) I promise you burn out will never stop this one...

:)

Bill_Cross
07-28-2006, 12:18 PM
The problem with your question is the issue being discussed - what defines a campaigner. Currently we are seeing more and more mainstreamers who attend 1 - 3 events per year that 2 - 3 years ago would have been labelled campaign events.
I think efforts to define people are misguided for the very examples you cite. The campaigner events have been attended for years by "crossovers," to the point where absolute numbers have declined at events that discourage people with feet in both worlds. The Rowdy Pards, for example, have lived with dual-membership members for years, recognizing that if a big mainstream events comes up, some of our best people will be there with their mainstream group. I found this out some years back after Bill Watson asked me to help him raise a company for A140: the result was three sign-ups. This contrasts with events that didn't compete, where I've raised as much as an entire regiment, depending on the event and the date.

Unfortunately, and this comes back the definition issue, there are those who consider such reenactors and most of the history heavier they attend as "mainstream" and not "campaign".
These individuals are limiting the ability of history-heavy events to spread and grow. But their "punishment" comes from the poor attendance at their events. While some of them claim they're perfectly happy to have 10 "high quality" participants rather than "dumb down" their standards, the truth is they are often privately envious of those events that attract large numbers of folk with good kits, good attitudes, and mainstream affiliations. But as I said above, the definition of a campaigner is what the person does, not which group he belongs to. My philosophy has always been: if you come and play by our rules, then you're welcome. As you pointed out, some of these people drift away from the mainstream entirely, but this isn't a religion, it's a hobby. Come and play with us, and you'll be treated well.

Growth can be easily torpedoed if the campaigner-purists continue their attacks on events and event organizers, such as Dave, Chris, the two Bills, because their events are not meeting the purists' ultimate standards.
If an event is good (e.g., Rich Mountain), they will come. I remember when Eric Tipton (one of the organizers) was reviled as a farb and a fool. Eric came to McDowell 2003 in my company, and returned with the Western boys in the last McDowell. He's a bully fellow, and has now put his mark in the pages of cph organizers. I hope he'll keep up the good work.

If these organizers are burned out as a result, what will happen to the cross-over or bridge events?
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Good people are leaving the hobby because they're burned out. You won't see "Road to Goldsboro" reborn, the point man is fed-up with the titter-tatter of speculation about the REAL reason it was cancelled, the personal attacks on him in the past, the continued reviling of events he worked on prior to that. Can't blame him. I've detected plenty of weariness in the individuals you cite, except perhaps the indomitable Chris Anders, for whom even a heart attack couldn't stop his brash enthusiasm.

The hobby will progress from having a full spectrum of events from the most hardcore to the ultimate farbfest, to one that has become essentially polarized into pure mainstream and the elite campaigner events with nothing in the middle.
This has largely happened. It used to be at the RPs' annual meeting, we had to decide which events we'd support. Now it's hard to find four events worth attending in a geographical area our members will reasonably feel comfortable traveling to.

Regular3
07-28-2006, 12:22 PM
Bill I could not agree more, you have a way with words. I wish everyone who put thought to words had your style and manners.

Always
Doug Thomas
Lyons Battery
Kentucky
Maybe I have a different view of what's 'PEC' and maybe my view is wrong, but it makes me wonder what organizers are trying to accomplish when I read the standards for a particular event and see that items that should be correct for any period of the war are either not accepted or reluctantly accepted because the scenario happens to be later in the war.

So, having expended a lot of keystrokes along this line, this would be my suggestion for increasing numbers on the 'history-heavy' fork of the path: Be less arbitrary and exclusionary with standards. Expanding accepted items to include earlier models (and dropping the appended 'reluctantly') is not the same as lowering standards. And I know that some folks who organize such events have come a long way in that regard ... But sadly, those are the ones who seem to be most favored targets for invective among those who can't see that difference.

captdougofky
07-28-2006, 03:19 PM
The problem with your question is the issue being discussed - what defines a campaigner. Currently we are seeing more and more mainstreamers who attend 1 - 3 events per year that 2 - 3 years ago would have been labelled campaign events. For example, in Bill Rodman's battalion, which is primarily a mainstream unit, there is a core of reenactors which will attend several more history heavy events (avoiding the campaigner label) each year. IMHO, this is probably the best means to supply the larger numbers for the history heavier events. As these more progressive mainstreamers experience the more history heavy events, they will be become more and more comfortable with events that further expand their horizons and challenge their comfort zones. Some may even ultimately abandon the mainstream aspect of their reenacting entirely and focus exclusively on the history heavy events. As I see it, one of the big growth areas for the "campaigner" numbers is with the part-time campaigners who do both mainstream and history heavier events. Unfortunately, and this comes back the definition issue, there are those who consider such reenactors and most of the history heavier they attend as "mainstream" and not "campaign". By their definitions and standards, this is not positive growth and, to some, may actually be detrimental to the campaigner effort because of a dilution of standards and mindset caused by the influx of "mainstreamers".

However this can growth can be easily torpedoed if the campaigner-purists continue their attacks on events and event organizers, such as Dave, Chris, the two Bills, because their events are not meeting the purists' ultimate standards. If these organizers are burned out as a result, what will happen to the cross-over or bridge events? More than likely they will die as others will see the carnage and seriously question whether or not they want expose themselves to such abuse. The hobby will progress from having a full spectrum of events from the most hardcore to the ultimate farbfest, to one that has become essentially polarized into pure mainstream and the elite campaigner events with nothing in the middle.


Tom

The bottom line on it is someone like me. Yes I can do hardcore and have the kit as you call it, but until the A/C side of the hobby can come up with a family style event they will lose. If the wife and young'n want to go, they go and with that the cooler and wall tent goes as well. Thats just a fact for those of us who like to have the wife and young'n around. If I was single no problem, but to exclude the rest of the family from the fellowship of the weekend is not in the best interest of this hobby or marriage. This is not about self serving but history and the education of those individuals who's interest is serve by those like us. Need I remind folks don't miss the forrest because of the trees.

AZReenactor
07-28-2006, 04:11 PM
The bottom line on it is someone like me. Yes I can do hardcore and have the kit as you call it, but until the A/C side of the hobby can come up with a family style event they will lose. If the wife and young'n want to go, they go and with that the cooler and wall tent goes as well. Thats just a fact for those of us who like to have the wife and young'n around. If I was single no problem, but to exclude the rest of the family from the fellowship of the weekend is not in the best interest of this hobby or marriage. This is not about self serving but history and the education of those individuals who's interest is serve by those like us. Need I remind folks don't miss the forrest because of the trees.

As has been pointed out. It seems some of us are doing different hobbies...

ewtaylor
07-28-2006, 04:17 PM
Tom

The bottom line on it is someone like me. Yes I can do hardcore and have the kit as you call it, but until the A/C side of the hobby can come up with a family style event they will lose. If the wife and young'n want to go, they go and with that the cooler and wall tent goes as well. Thats just a fact for those of us who like to have the wife and young'n around. If I was single no problem, but to exclude the rest of the family from the fellowship of the weekend is not in the best interest of this hobby or marriage. This is not about self serving but history and the education of those individuals who's interest is serve by those like us. Need I remind folks don't miss the forrest because of the trees.
Most, if not all, of the "family style events" I have attended give little real educational value. In my humble opinion it gives spectators (esp. children) the wrong history lesson. At alot of these events I will hear guys say, "These tents would usually house 5 or 6 men." Even though the spectators clearly see 1 man is using it -or its full with a man, woman, child, and tons of stuff. The spectator is going to think this guy knows nothing about what went on or he is just going to remember some guy, with a bunch of stuff, had his own tent. I believe visual education beats audio education anyday.
I believe the "family style" reenactments have their purpose of introducing youngsters and newbies into the hobby. But educating people? I firmly disagree.
ew taylor

hanktrent
07-28-2006, 04:25 PM
Yes I can do hardcore and have the kit as you call it, but until the A/C side of the hobby can come up with a family style event they will lose.

Progressive/hardcore events for families are already out there, there's just not a whole lot of interest in them so they're not very big. Just went to one with my wife last week. See http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19030 There are also less strenuous ones that include children. The youngest participant at the Smithville (Road to Goldsboro) civilian event this spring was a six-year-old, who nonetheless went along on the 3-mile-round-trip walk down to the river to fish.


If the wife and young'n want to go, they go and with that the cooler and wall tent goes as well. Thats just a fact for those of us who like to have the wife and young'n around.

Either it's a progressive/hardcore event and everyone's food and shelter (and everything else) is as accurate as possible for the historic situation, or it's a mainstream event and folks can bring whatever they want. Gender has nothing to do with it.

Edited to add: We may be doing the camping trip again, so contact me if anyone's interested.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

madisontigers
07-28-2006, 04:27 PM
As everyone knows Campaign style reenacting/living histories are not for everyone. The same also applies for "mainstream" style reenacting.I don't down anyone for wanting there family involved, however, bringing the family, cooler, wall tent, and Don Quixote sized frying pans just doesn't fit into campaign style reenacting. Having the family involved in appropriate civilian activities, as well as leaving the excess behind....can make the best of the two worlds possible.

David Long

ElizabethClark
07-28-2006, 04:54 PM
The bottom line on it is someone like me. Yes I can do hardcore and have the kit as you call it, but until the A/C side of the hobby can come up with a family style event they will lose. If the wife and young'n want to go, they go and with that the cooler and wall tent goes as well. Thats just a fact for those of us who like to have the wife and young'n around. If I was single no problem, but to exclude the rest of the family from the fellowship of the weekend is not in the best interest of this hobby or marriage. This is not about self serving but history and the education of those individuals who's interest is serve by those like us.

I want to briefly and politely point out that bringing along a cooler and wall tent *is* self-service rather than historic accuracy. :) If you like to have the wife and young ones around, do what my husband (who is fond of us as you sound of yours!) did: go citizen.

Take heart: families and history-heavy events are not mutually exclusive things by any stretch of imagination! Our family has participated together since our oldest was born, and we do not require a cooler, a wall tent, or any other "necessities" to enjoy an event--IF the event is structured to admit historically-accurate participation by non-military people.

For us, that means the event must allow for separate sleeping quarters from the military men (as families did not, as a rule, camp with troops on campaign!), and the event scenario must provide for appropriate interaction between military and non-military elements.

We're in Idaho, where events of any kind are few and far between. Most recently, the children and I made a nine-hour round trip to Wyoming to participate in a very small living history demonstration event at Fort Bridger. We joined four other families for a total of three Overland Trails wagons, four small A tents, six adults, and ten children ranging from 16 months to sixteen years. There were no coolers. We ate foods documentable to our part of the Oregon trail in 1859, and ate like kings (even the baby.) We mended, did some laundry, prepared food ahead for the next segment of the trail; the children fished in the creek, laid snare lines for gophers (caught one, too), hauled wood and water, played with the baby, went for walks, had all manner of "settler versus indian" games in the copse of aspens behind us... it was a history-heavy event WITH families... and significantly, without a single shot fired, or a military uniform to be seen outside the fort walls.

Our packing included foodstuffs, bedding (rolled), one tent, three poles, 12 stakes, a mallet, clothing, and my sewing basket. It took 20 minutes to set up camp, and 15 to strike it.

Family involvement is NOT a bar to participating in accurate events. More and more history-heavy, citizen-oriented events are out there, so I anticipate more and more full-family participation (with men taking non-military roles!) as times goes by.

These history-heavy events are a LOT more fun for women and children than the "Battle & Ball" events I remember from when I started in the hobby about 13 years ago. Sitting around looking at the tent poles, with no purpose other than shopping and visiting, got old during my second event. :)

Linda Trent
07-28-2006, 05:42 PM
go citizen.

Take heart: families and history-heavy events are not mutually exclusive things by any stretch of imagination! Our family has participated together since our oldest was born, and we do not require a cooler, a wall tent, or any other "necessities" to enjoy an event--IF the event is structured to admit historically-accurate participation by non-military people.

Family involvement is NOT a bar to participating in accurate events. More and more history-heavy, citizen-oriented events are out there, so I anticipate more and more full-family participation (with men taking non-military roles!) as times goes by.

Amen! We just had a discussion on this same subject over on the AC Forum
Using Children at Events http://www.authentic-campaigner.com/forum/showthread.php?p=119695#post119695 I still stand by what I said over there ;)

Kentucky has Shaker Village, we held the Inn at Peak's Mill last year over at Fort Hill, and we're holding another event at Fort Hill next year August 10-12, 2007. I'm not officially ready to announce it, but I guess I will anyway. See
http://cw186165.homestead.com/TrialIndex.html for more information.

Linda.

Miss Dixie
07-28-2006, 05:43 PM
I belong to a mainstream unit, my husband belongs to what he calls a "progressive unit, when we got to the same events, we ride together, he helps me get my tent set up, then he disappears. I do my thing he does his, I make most of the clothes he and his unit wears, complete with handstitching, I find something at each event to occupy my time, and I do very little shopping, but I can always find someone to talk to and learn a little or a lot of the history of the area. I learned a while back(2 years ago to be exact) that no matter what, somebody is going to be critical of you, I don't lose any sleep over it, and don't waste my time being upset. To each his(or her) own. If the way I reenact is not to your standards, camp where we can't see each other. You don't bother me, I don't bother you.

Diane Gipson
1st MS Partisan Rangers

MStuart
07-28-2006, 07:18 PM
I learned a while back(2 years ago to be exact) that no matter what, somebody is going to be critical of you, I don't lose any sleep over it, and don't waste my time being upset. To each his(or her) own. If the way I reenact is not to your standards, camp where we can't see each other. You don't bother me, I don't bother you.

Diane Gipson
1st MS Partisan Rangers

And that, my friends, is the bottom line. Why lament (ad nauseum) what the other guy or girl is doing over endless bits and bytes of cyber "goo"?

If it really eats at you (or me, or some guy in Wyoming) that badly, perhaps a little introspection as to what really matters in this short life we have is in order. My God folks, you'd think we were Democrats/Republicans, Sunnis/Shiites, Crips/Bloods, Vegetarians/Carnivors. Relax, enjoy YOUR hobby, and leave the other guy to his. It's better in the long run that way.

Mark

Refuses to get an ulcer Mess

ElizabethClark
07-28-2006, 07:26 PM
Diane, I wasn't pointing out any one particular style of events as better than or worse than any other--the ideal is to find a group of people that have similar ideas of "what fun is" and set up events with them, with everyone clear on what's anticipated.

The nifty thing is, if a person wants to give a different event style a "go", I know there are always event spots open to new people in the "history-heavy" or "immersion" events--along with plenty of friendly mentoring in the months (or year+ in some events) leading up to the event, so there is NO criticism going on during the event (as that would rather break the scenario--how rude, anyhow!).

I can usually have fun at any sort of event, from the small tents set-up in a corner of the county fair, to a smorgasboard event that mixes everything from shopping to quilt displays on the main strip (those are great for small, static information displays and interactive demos!), to immersive inn experiences like the one planned for 2007 (which my oldest daughter and I are eager to fly back East and attend!). So long as I know what to anticipate, I can be prepared for anything. I like a mix of events where I'm there to demonstrate and educate, and also events where I'm there to immerse myself in the scenario and "play" just for me, no spectators at all.

But, back to my original point: just because a family is involved, doesn't necessarily mean the situation will be less accurate or history-heavy!

Linda Trent
07-28-2006, 09:44 PM
Relax, enjoy YOUR hobby, and leave the other guy to his. It's better in the long run that way.

Hi Mark and Diane,

Who's not relaxed? Who's not enjoying their hobby? Hank, Liz and I weren't saying that any one style of event is right for everyone. We were basically replying to the statement "until the A/C side of the hobby can come up with a family style event they will lose..." It seems as though there is a common misconception that shows up repeatedly that to be a civilian family means that one can't be A/C, and that just isn't true.

Since Captain Doug appears to be from Kentucky, and Hank and I are from southern Ohio, I just mentioned a few A/C events right in his own backyard. One campaigner-type event which was/is an 1857 camping trip (just across the river from Ashland), as well as several with period housing: the Inn at Peak's Mill last year, Smithville (held at Shaker Village this past March), Shaker Village in September, and a Trial event next summer.

Again, the great thing about this hobby is that there are events for everyone, and as Liz said find events where you can find like minded people and attend living histories with them. My only contention on this page of this thread is that that A/C side of the hobby *has* had family events since at least McDowell 1991, and probably before that. :)

Linda.

bob 125th nysvi
07-28-2006, 09:48 PM
Well the sleep apnea machines (oxygen generators) use a battery in a hard tack crate to generate the O2.
Always laughing......

Don't generate O2 they generate air pressure to keep your breathing passages open.

I know I got it. Mild enough that I don't need the machine on encampments but then I lost a lot of wieght too to get to where I am with the 'disease'.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance NY

bob 125th nysvi
07-28-2006, 10:07 PM
debate before in many of the activities I've participated in and it always devolves into the same thing .......

My way's better than your way! My way's better than your way! Nah Nah Nah Na Na Nah.

And that kind of debate is only self destructive to ALL segments of the community because it creates animosity and confuses (and repels) outsiders who may be looking to join.

Maybe the question should be:

How do we make Campaigner numbers rise?

For starters stop being exclusionairy and become inclusionairy. Design a few events to appeal the 'novice' giving them a taste of what you expect without making it too hard After all nobody jumps from Pop Warner to Varsity football there are steps in between.

Secondly clearly and concisely define what you are, what you expect from the new 'campaigner'.

Next clearly and concisely explain WHY someone should want to be a campaigner. What makes you different and why should I want to try the cooking.

Lastly every segment of the hobby above mainstreamer has got to stop the 'I'm better than whomever' attitude because there is nothing that turns people away than a holier-than-thou attitude. With EVERYBODY claiming their better how do you really find out whom is better for YOU.

And as an advocate for your segment of the hobby give me your best WOW moment and see if I bite.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

madisontigers
07-28-2006, 10:58 PM
Well said Bob, and I totally agree. Give people fair warning on the way you reenact. If you do campaign, tell them the way you camp, march, behave, and operate. The differences between the styles of reenacting can be pretty different, and the new recruit should know the styles. By doing this the recruit can thus weigh the options, and as a result, hopefully make the right choice as to the style of reenacting he chooses.

David Long

tompritchett
07-29-2006, 12:16 AM
One solution is what we have in the 1rst Bn ANV - offer a spectrum of events to your members. We do mainstream events that are more family friendly and we do some more history heavy events that are not friendly for families associated directly with the military. My wife does not go out to every event that I attend nor will she in the future. But I also select some events each year where she can come out.

Why does it always have to be either all family or all no family?

ElizabethClark
07-29-2006, 12:22 AM
Since no one in my family undertakes a military impression, I can't speak to how the military does it, but in the citizen's world, it basically works like this:

A group of interested folks sets up the scenario, gets the site squared away, dates set, and sends out invites on various lists and discussion forums, phone trees, letter chains, etc. These invitations are VERY open... limited only by the physical constraints of the site and scenario.

If someone "old" wants to do the event, they respond with requested information. If someone "new" wants to do the event, they respond with requested information.

List-serves and groups are set up to aid everyone in event prep and research, as well as to communicate prior to the event. Mentors and newbies are hooked up, so no one is left outside wringing hands or worrying. (I've even mentored 2000 miles away, by phone, email, and digital camera!) Most often people worry about their material impression, food, and sleeping arrangements--and none of these is any sort of insurmountable challenge.

There has been little need in the citizen side for "transition" events. People who have never attended any sort of history event have made immersion events their first taste, and done a beautiful job of it. Folks who've been primarily attending community smorgasboard events for 20 years are equally successful. The support prior to and during the event makes all the difference.

ewtaylor
07-29-2006, 10:01 AM
debate before in many of the activities I've participated in and it always devolves into the same thing .......

My way's better than your way! My way's better than your way! Nah Nah Nah Na Na Nah.

And that kind of debate is only self destructive to ALL segments of the community because it creates animosity and confuses (and repels) outsiders who may be looking to join.

Maybe the question should be:

How do we make Campaigner numbers rise?

For starters stop being exclusionairy and become inclusionairy. Design a few events to appeal the 'novice' giving them a taste of what you expect without making it too hard After all nobody jumps from Pop Warner to Varsity football there are steps in between.

Secondly clearly and concisely define what you are, what you expect from the new 'campaigner'.


And as an advocate for your segment of the hobby give me your best WOW moment and see if I bite.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesnt Mr. Anders and his compatriots do this at least once a year?? Their events don't necessarily adhere to the A/C forum hardliners, but I think they do a great job of introducing people to the campaigner side. You should go to these events first (go to Perryville this year also) and if its something you like (or can handle) then try some of the campaigner events on the other forum.
If you don't want to be surprised at an event call the guy running the thing and ASK QUESTIONS. This way you know for sure what to expect. Back in 2002? I was sick of the same ol' crappy events I was attending in Ky so I called Chris and asked what this McDowell thingy was. He told me all about it and me and a friend decided to drive the 7 hour one-way drive to Va. Saturday was a "for the crowd" battle and Sunday was "for us" battle. I had a much better time Sunday.
Many events have websites with contact info. I think if more people would use those contacts there would be alot less surprises at events and there would be alot less crying on these boards.
ew taylor

bob 125th nysvi
07-29-2006, 08:33 PM
I think you missed the salient point here.

Increasing the number fo participants is not a matter of waiting for them to fall into your lap it is a matter of SELLING people on what you're providing.

I sell horses as a side business. There are tons of people who want horses and tons of people who sell horses, the only thing that is important to me is that they buy MY horses.

So I have a website, I advertise in print, I go to County Fairs, I give demonstrations at museums and historical sites and I encourage my customers to tell their friends.

IF I waited until people hit my website and 'contacted me' I'd have more horses than acres.

You want campaigner numbers to increase, you sell the prospect of being a campaigner. Quite honestly a 'look-it-up-yourself' approach isn't going to float my (or many others) boats.

With all due respect to our friends in the navy.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

ewtaylor
07-29-2006, 09:05 PM
I think you missed the salient point here.

Increasing the number fo participants is not a matter of waiting for them to fall into your lap it is a matter of SELLING people on what you're providing.

I sell horses as a side business. There are tons of people who want horses and tons of people who sell horses, the only thing that is important to me is that they buy MY horses.

So I have a website, I advertise in print, I go to County Fairs, I give demonstrations at museums and historical sites and I encourage my customers to tell their friends.

IF I waited until people hit my website and 'contacted me' I'd have more horses than acres.

You want campaigner numbers to increase, you sell the prospect of being a campaigner. Quite honestly a 'look-it-up-yourself' approach isn't going to float my (or many others) boats.

With all due respect to our friends in the navy.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

These guys advertised their events months in advance on this website and the other. I have only been in reenacting for about 6 yrs, but I can tell right away what kind of event im getting into by:
who is hosting the event
where the event is being held
the guidelines on the website
past photos on the website

Being a "campaigner" seems to mean different things to different people. Some guys think campaigning is sleeping without tents. Some think it means travling from campsite to diff campsite during the event. Just telling someone we are having a campaigner event dosent mean it is your idea of a campaigner event.
Several years ago I attended a campaigner event at Richmond, Ky. The CS troops camped in a hayfield about 1.5 miles away from the battlefield. We had NO tents or shebangs, just blankets, groundcloth, and 1 fire. About 3am it started to rain and stopped about 6am. I awoke in a puddle of water. My blanket was drenched and I was damp. luckily the fire didnt go out and I got up and dried my shirt and socks over the fire. I ate what little food I had in my haversack and got ready for the morning, along with about 40 others. At 7am it started raining again, just in time for our tactical. We marched around in the pouring rain, thru creeks ankle deep then 1 hour later becoming waste deep, our powder and rifles to wet to fire. We finally marched to the battlefield around 10am or 11am. I had a GREAT time. How many people who call themselves campaigners would do that?
You can't sell being a campaigner, its just something you have to want to do. Some people are happy being with their family in comfortable tents and others want to experience more.

Mint Julep
07-30-2006, 11:09 AM
This discussion is using the wrong terminology. The discussion should be about progressive events and progressive reenactors. As previously pointed out, campaign events involve moving from point A to point B. However, as you marketing gurus should recognize, branding has occurred through the Authentic Campaigner website in that events promoted on that forum and for those forumites have become referred to commonly as "campaigner" events. In truth, they are usually progressive events that involve very little movement.

What makes them progressive is the adherence to historical events, the enforcement of uniform guidelines (that also are based on historical information), a setting that tries to minimize modern intrusions or is on the original ground and, most importantly, a complete lack of tolerance for farbs. That last sounds harsh, but it is true.

I think a point that most mainstream reenactors haven't grasped yet is that progressives don't always hold events for public consumption. Many times, the events are strictly for the participants to enjoy and absorb. Yes, this may contradict the whole "educating the public" aspect, but don't your teachers at school take continuing education classes to keep their skills sharp.

Another point that seems to be getting overlooked here is that many events on the cph end do not recruit entire units to participate, they recruit individuals. Many mainstream officers/unit commanders are threatened by this, as it dilutes their authority. Therefore they refuse to promote the events. Why are the events "invitation only" or "register as individual"? To keep out the farbs. Invitation only means "We want to be able to check you out first and make sure you meet our minimum guidelines". Registering as individuals instead of units allows the event to admit some members of a unit without taking on those who do not meet the standards. Again, this seems harsh, but it works.

Now, the question is not "Can campaigners numbers increase?" or "How do we increases campaigners numbers?" The question is "How do we get the progressives to stop sneering at the mainstream and how do we get the mainstream to stop thinking all hardcores are nasty?"

IMO, the answer is: We don't, we can't and we spend way too much worrying about it. I only want mainstreamers at progressive events who WANT to be there, not the ones that are cajoled or bribed into it. If progressives want to go to a mainstream event, fine. As I stated on this very forum a few years ago:

I can campaign at your mainstream event, but you can't mainstream at my campaign event.

JS

ilfed104
07-30-2006, 12:33 PM
Mint Julep's reply on this thread is the best summation of this whole ordeal, bar none.

Well said.

frankstevanus
07-30-2006, 12:42 PM
I think Julip has made some very accurate points regarding the rift between the two camps. I especially agree that neither will change so you have to seek out the level of involvement you wish.
The first unit I joined is very mainstream, almost farby to be accurate. When I wanted to go to an event that they could not qualify for the leader said that if all the unit couldn't go, no one could go. Needless to say, I am no longer with that group. Great people, to say the least. But they and I were definitely heading in different directions. They are happy in thier farbdom. I am thrilled at the chance to campaign with my horse in the true tradition of the cavalry. God bless them one and all.
And like Mint Julip , I found it far more satisfying to seek out the particular event, invite myself through the commander and have a good time. Most units are one way or the other. They don't/can't/won't split the difference. More's the pity. Because there remains something so rewarding and pleasing to strive for authenticity. To do it the way they did it back then. No wall tents. Or coolers. Or war chests. Or farby uniforms made in a Malaysian sweat shop and sold through a wholesaler who doesn't know good Osnaburg material from a dirty snot rag!
To say with pride "Hey, I am doing (or as close as I can) to the way my great-great grandfather in JEB Stuart's cavalry did it".
Not to knock the "cooler huggers", they are graet people. I know lots of them. But once you have tasted a really authentic campaigning experience (like the guy posting before Julips'-about sleeping in the rain) you want more. Numbers mean nothing to the campaigner. And never will! So I don't think they are worried about small turn outs. Quality is far better than quantity to them.
In fact, the best events I have gone to are by invitation only. And small numbers, too! Maybe it is good to have the differences. Like a two party political system. Or having two cars in the family. Some days you feel like driving a Cadillac. Others the 'Benz. Sometimes two is better than one. Cherish the difference!

theknapsack
07-30-2006, 06:09 PM
Those who lasted through Red River I (and I wasn't one) learned what real campaigning was like minus the minie balls and cannister. They learned about helping move artillery us and down steep hills, bridging creeks with what was at hand, and what is was like to be on a long march.[/I]

I haven't been paying attention to this thread, so this is an old post.

Mr. Keating.
Well said. I admire men who can admit both that they could not finish something as hard as that, and that knows exactly what it takes to be authentic.
That's a plus in my book.


Riley

Miss Dixie
07-30-2006, 07:06 PM
as I said earlier, I belong to a mainstream unit, I have been reenacting for eleven years now, what I wear and carry to events has changed over the years. If there is a particular event that I want to attend that the unit as a whole does not want to attend, then I do so, with no problems from my unit. The problems that I have had with the progressive, authentic, or hardcore, is with people that come to me to make them an article of clothing, then belittle my unit to others. I had one person that I did a lot of his sewing , if he furnishe the material, I made the item complete with all handsewing for $20 because he was a friend and he didn't have a lot of money, then he belittles my unit as a whole to others, needless to say, I told him to find another seamstress. Then there was the one that was oohing and ahhing over my husband's greatcoat till he found out that it was not purchased from a wellknown "approved" vendor, but made by me, he dropped it like a hot potato, then there is the woman that I have shared many a cup of tea and conversation with that has moved on to a more "authentic" group, that will not speak if we come face to face at events, but I don't lose sleep over these people, because there are much more important things in my life, I like what I do, my husband likes what he does, and we leave it at that, makes for a more peaceful home life.

ewtaylor
07-30-2006, 08:35 PM
The people you described in your post sound like complete morons. I admire someone who can sew their own things. I wish someone in my family could. Sadly there are those out there who have to have the "designer" brands of everything, whether its modern clothing or reenacting garb. And then of course they look down upon those who don't have it. There are toooo many soldier's and officer's accounts of shoddy and shabby clothing issued to the men for us to want something perfectly sewn. I think as long as its made from the correct material and sewn together correctly then why care who made it? I'm not knocking anyone mind you, just typing out loud.
ew taylor

ElizabethClark
07-30-2006, 09:07 PM
If someone is so caught up in "brand names" that they don't appreciate good workmanship (from whatever source), they're not really hitting the history-heavy points--they're name-brand gear hounds. And it's very sad when someone thinks that a few changes in her wardrobe suddenly makes her "above" anyone else (again, that "name brand" attitude, rather than a focus on history.)

I'd guess it boils down to: there are rude people on any side of any imaginary fence. They're going to be rude however you slice it. I sure don't pay much attention to them. :)

If there's ever any way I can encourage a person to set some goals for themselves, and work to meet them, I do it gladly. Perhaps I've just been very lucky in my associations, but the vast majority of folks I know in the hobby are just genuinely nice people, eager to help anyone learn and progress. I've been mentored by some wonderful folks, and I'm always glad to pass it along when I'm asked. Quite often, folks who've been intimidated by the thought of "hardcore citizens" relax a LOT when they see the actual written guidelines that go along with a particular event. The base guideline is far, far easier to achieve than one might think, no matter what sort of events one attends regularly.

Not too long ago, I was asked to help coordinate clothing for a church adventure camp for teens: they'd be completing a 15-mile trek with reproduction handcarts over original Oregon/Utah trail lands. The experience was very useful to me. We set out some very basic "flavor of the past" clothing suggestions, added an "upgrade the basics" set, and then a "full-on historic" set. After presenting the different gear lists and suggestions to the group as a whole, I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the kids were determined to go "whole hog"--once they had the information that made it possible, and some goals to aim for. No one was belittled for making a choice to go for the "flavor" option, but the "whole hog" kids knew they could take their clothing and volunteer at historic sites, participate in other history events, etc, without needing to do anything too different, and were excited about it.

So, no great words of wisdom, really, just more opinions. Any event should be able to spell out what participants can expect, and what's expected of participants, so each person can decide if it's a good fit with their idea of satisfaction.

Mint Julep
07-30-2006, 09:35 PM
Miss Dixie,

It is a common mistake of those who just discovered authenticity to forget from which they came and with whom they have recently associated. Suddenly they are experts and their old friends are ignorant. They have to create distance from their past to feel better about themselves and to overcome their sense of shame for having once been ignorant as well. Feel sorry for them, pity them, and kill them with kindness.

These are the "hardkewls" that **** off mainstreamers and give the rest of the cph world a bad name.

JS

Trimmings
07-31-2006, 06:20 AM
These are the "hardkewls" that **** off mainstreamers and give the rest of the cph world a bad name.

I like your posts. Allow me to add something.

The smugness of the smoker who finally quit, the newly minted twelve stepper, and the instant superiority of those who just got hardcore for Christmas are on about the same general level of zealotry. Time was when men wearing their new wool pants and coats would look down on their friends still wearing work clothing from J.C. Penny's or W.T. Grant's. Clothes horses and snobbery is nothing new.

Here we are having cranky season in summer. Such is typically reserved for the depths of winter when there is little else to do other than whine for the sake of whining.

Ray Prosten

Rob Weaver
07-31-2006, 07:35 AM
Maybe it's the weather making us cranky. If I had to describe my own style, I would fall off on the progressive side of mainstream. I don't do a lot of progressive events but for reasons that have not yet been discussed here. First of all, I spent a very long time in the US Army, as an officer. I have a low BS tolerance, especially whee leadership is concerned. Yeah, I know, mainstream units have there belly full of bad leaders. OK - I'll concede that point. But I can get away from them. I can go back to my tent and read a Harpers and get my perspective back. I have attended c/p/h events where I sensed a noticable level of elitism amongst the officer ranks, as if the mass of privates present were really only thereto do their bidding, at whatever hour of the day or night. I have experienced times when information was withheld from the ranks because it would be cool. Let your BP got back down for a minute - I'm not going on a tear, here. I simply do not concent to putting myself in that situation. The same for anyone who needs to leave and event on Saturday night, has a bum knee or ankle and needs a little slower rate of march, or someone who has a long drive to make home after humping it over hill and dale for two days. I believe a dose of compassion and humility to be admirable qualities for a leader. I just haven't seen these qualities in abundance in that style of the hobby. No offense intended. Second: I am very concerned about the modern day safety of participants. Sleep privation is a major tool in military training, but we're not real soldiers. As mentioned earlier, I am concerned about the drive home. It is the most dangerous part of the hobby, to be sure. And it involves other civilians who were not part of our hobby in any way. After falling asleep at the wheel on the way home from 3 days of campaigning several years ago, I have re-thought my stand on a lot of things. I'm also concerned about how safe a man with a loaded and capped musket may be as he stans picket duty in the middle of the night. I'm also concerned about charging bayonets and ramming rounds, but I just don't want to go there again at the moment.
I realize that it's just as easy to counter with anecdotes about the 'streamer side of the house. The door of bad leadership and shoddy safety is open. Agreed. But I can call it quits should I choose. If one of my soldiers wants to call it quits, or take an afternoon off, he can without ridicule or repurcussion. If a guy with hay fever so bad he can't see gets a room in town, takes a shower and gets the only night's rest he's had in 3 days, he can. And can rejoin us in the morning. Given that these are things keeping me out of the solidly c/p/h ranks, I feel that they have an effect on campaigner numbers


Sgt. Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I 7th Wisconsin Volunteers

Trimmings
07-31-2006, 08:20 AM
Rob,

That is a mighty large brush, and some would say it is a paint roller. Perhaps being just a little more specific about event names, dates, and places would add credibility to the assertions rather than merely feeding the reenactor mythology engine. It helps the narrative to add in at least an event name, if not a year as well.

Otherwise a good post ends up sounding like "they don't care about the participants, they leave us out at night, they are unsafe, and they made us eat worms." Okay, the last item was just to add a little taste of humor to this mess.

Ray Prosten

MStuart
07-31-2006, 08:32 AM
I don't have a dog in this hunt, but I've seen many times on our great forum the "if you won't name names or events it doesn't mean squat" challenge to someone's posting. I didn't read Rob's post as a blanket condemnation of c/p/hr's, only his personal experience at an event or two, or three.

As a discussion forum, we've asked his opinion, and we've got it in his post. He doesn't have to name names or cite specifics if he doesn't want to. And, as a gentleman with this being a public forum, we shouldn't expect him to. That particular "failing" of being polite shouldn't condemn his post and opinion.

Mark

dustyswb
07-31-2006, 08:38 AM
Mark,

I disagree. Without knowing if something really happened or if someone is speaking without having been to an event, how can we know if they are making it up, much like "Ray" is saying?

If a guy can't be proud of the events he is attending, then why are they discussing them publically????

Trimmings
07-31-2006, 08:56 AM
As a discussion forum, we've asked his opinion, and we've got it in his post. He doesn't have to name names or cite specifics if he doesn't want to.

Mark,

That certainly wasn't my intent, but I can see how a quest for event information can come across that way. Sorry about that! No harm intended.

To break out another broad brush, I am seeking something along the lines of a mention of the reenactment in question. If Rob mentions an event where it was known to be cold, say 135th Franklin, or an event where it was hot, maybe 125th Bull Run, then perhaps a smidge of perspective is gained.

While we can all relate to Capt. Schmoe halting his troops in the blazing sun for an officer's confab (Much Ado About Nothing) instead of parking the troops in the shade, sometimes it helps to know a little more about the circumstances. This may be a way to cut down on the trend of aspersion casting that seems ever so popular of late.

As Lee purportedly said, "those people." :cool:

Ray Prosten

FWL
07-31-2006, 10:20 AM
As a discussion forum, we've asked his opinion, and we've got it in his post. He doesn't have to name names or cite specifics if he doesn't want to. And, as a gentleman with this being a public forum, we shouldn't expect him to. That particular "failing" of being polite shouldn't condemn his post and opinion.

Mark

Mark I completely disagree. I read his post with only passing interest. It just sounded like another mainstreamer slamming the other hobby based on vauge generalizations. He does not need to cite chapter and verse but some specifics on the events he attended would give him some credibility. There are too many posters rendering their lofty opinions on events or practices they have no experience with. Its akin to some posters not signing their full name. I don't pay much attention to them either.

Pvt Schnapps
07-31-2006, 11:00 AM
Mark I completely disagree. I read his post with only passing interest. It just sounded like another mainstreamer slamming the other hobby based on vauge generalizations. He does not need to cite chapter and verse but some specifics on the events he attended would give him some credibility. There are too many posters rendering their lofty opinions on events or practices they have no experience with. Its akin to some posters not signing their full name. I don't pay much attention to them either.

Frank, "Red Karl" here. Always a pleasure to chat. But I agree with Mark and Rob. "Naming names" would probably just lead to defensive discussions of those particular events, and it would be difficult in any case to name the events without having then to get into particulars about which company, which officers, etc.

Let's take another look at Rob's final paragraph, which I think stands on its own: "I realize that it's just as easy to counter with anecdotes about the 'streamer side of the house. The door of bad leadership and shoddy safety is open. Agreed. But I can call it quits should I choose. If one of my soldiers wants to call it quits, or take an afternoon off, he can without ridicule or repurcussion. If a guy with hay fever so bad he can't see gets a room in town, takes a shower and gets the only night's rest he's had in 3 days, he can. And can rejoin us in the morning. Given that these are things keeping me out of the solidly c/p/h ranks, I feel that they have an effect on campaigner numbers"

Can anyone say that "progressive" events are equally forgiving? You have only to look at some of the earlier discussions about Rich Mountain (before I even posted my "non-hackers" AAR). I heard the same sort of talk Sunday morning at Recon III, which is one reason I spent a few paragraphs in that AAR defending those who left. I don't know why people feel that staying through an event provides some sort of proof of manhood, but anyone can observe the phenomenon at just about any c/p/h event -- and certainly on the web afterwards. How could it not contribute to a judgmental atmosphere that affects "campaigner" numbers?

I wouldn't waste any time over it except that I think it also constitutes a safety hazard in its own right -- a "moral safety" issue, if you will.

As I wrote to another participant after Rich Mountain (one who stayed on the mountain, and who I sincerely hope to remain on good terms with):

"I believe the insults go beyond locker room jesting to create what I consider a moral safety issue. Looking back on the column Saturday, and on the pictures today, I saw and see a group of men very different from the boys of '61 -- perhaps an average of 40 lbs. heavier and 20 years older, with a surprising number on prescription medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other serious ailments. Some of them were probably already pushing themselves for the march. Of those who made it, a certain amount knew they couldn't go further and left. Others probably should have, but didn't because of the opprobrium they knew would attach to their decision.

"I think that's just plain wrong. I don't think it's historical and I don't think it makes sense to trash the "non-hackers." People should be encouraged to leave when they've had enough, and more power to them. The most recent first person account I've read, Memoirs of a Dutch Mudsill, has a number of descriptions of out and out cowards who were allowed to go their way without any real stigma from the real soldiers. I'm mystified how some men think "campaigning" somehow proves their manhood. I don't think real sportsmen and adventurers -- marathoners or mountain climbers, for example -- waste nearly the energy looking down on others. They're too busy focused on what they have to do. I think the posts about the "cowards" at Rich Mountain fall into a category similar to Patton's slapping of the EM with battle fatigue -- as Karl Malden said in the movie, it's despicable. Even if they're just talking about the able-bodied deserters like myself, they contribute to an atmosphere that endangers others of their comrades."

In the interests of full disclosure, I know Rob, and he's as good in the field as any other man I've served with, but even had he been "just another mainstreamer" I would have respected his opinion.

Bill_Cross
07-31-2006, 11:35 AM
We've had some very good discussion so far (9 pages and counting) with some good perspective. What have we learned?

1. It's the event, not the man: In other words, there are cph events and the definition is more important for what happens in the field than what mantle we choose to adopt (we all know about the poseurs who hang out on sutler row in their hand-stitched finery but who never actually reenact anything).

2. It's progressive, stupid, not campaigner: OK, and Dunkin' Donuts now says they want to become a beverage company and not a donut shop. I'm one of those marketing guys, I get it. There are "iron man triathlete reenacting" events like Port Gibson or Red River that a handful of us can handle (I took the sag wagon at the end of the Antietam preservation march), and some like the original Burkittsville" that had a hefty marching component. Almost every progressive event involves some marching, and in the case of those like Pickett's Mill 2001, McDowell 2001, "Into the Wilderness," "War on the James," a change of campsite from day 1 to day 3. Other "campaigner" events like "The Immortal 600" and "Berkeley 100" didn't move 5 inches, but were attended by the "campaigner" wing of the hobby. If you want to define "campaign" as marching and not marching as "progressive," I'm down with it.

3. We're all too mean to one another: It's true that you "attract more flies with honey than with vinegar," but it's also human nature to see ourselves as better than the "other." Streamers look down on "stitch Nazis" and "hardcores" look down on "turbo farbs." Yawn. Let's move on. The real answer is the one that the AC Forum and this one has taken: no more food fights, ban or suspend the troublemakers, and focus the discussion on real issues. Bill Watson says we should shun the offenders.

4. Progressive/campaigner events aren't for everyone: No, and that's not to make one better than another. If you're having fun at the events you go to, then bully. If not, then at least know there are alternatives. The standards aren't impossibly high, and if you need to bring the wife, kiddies and beer, then you're not going to be happy anyway. When I tell my wife about the events I go to, she looks at me like I said I was going to go sleep in my birthday suit outside in January.

5. It's not as hard to move between the two worlds as you think: Any mainstreamer who comes on here saying how unwelcoming the campaigner/progressive events are is either ignorant or looking to stir up trouble. The uniform standards of most progressive events are within the reach of any mainstreamer with a decent kit. Your EW scabbard discouraged? What's so demanding about asking you to have a LW one, too? You don't need to have one of everything, but there ARE some basics. And "reluctantly accepted" means if that's all you have, you can still come. Usually the only things that are banned outright are modern glasses, cigarettes, wristwatches. Get your facts straight, then complain. "By invitation only" means you email them and say "can I come?" In most cases, "by invitation only" means we have a right to turn down obvious misfits who aren't going to have fun anyway.

6. We need more progressive/campaigner events: That's the rub. The infighting of the past few years has driven off a lot of folks. Good land where you can maneuver and march is harder and harder to find. Numbers overall are down. But a good event will still attract numbers, as RM proved. Let's look ahead to McDowell next May.

FWL
07-31-2006, 12:11 PM
Frank, "Red Karl" here. Always a pleasure to chat. But I agree with Mark and Rob. "Naming names" would probably just lead to defensive discussions of those particular events, and it would be difficult in any case to name the events without having then to get into particulars about which company, which officers, etc.


In the interests of full disclosure, I know Rob, and he's as good in the field as any other man I've served with, but even had he been "just another mainstreamer" I would have respected his opinion.

Regards my dear "Red Karl". Sorry I still disagree. Rob I'm sure is a fine fellow but it's still generalizations. My wife who is a psychologist (I get free counseling every weekend whether I want it or not-BTW it never works) deals with some very hard cases and disputes. Its very nasty way beyond what we deal with on these forums. She always cuts through the generalizations and asks for specifics. Then she can start dealing with solutions. As I said in my post Rob does not need to cite chapter and verse but some specifics would bolster his case. I respect his opinion; but I'm just not giving it much weight. To me he's just another mainstreamer taking shots. Sorry.

I do not want to dive into the rest of your post here, but its clear my short response triggered a response from you way beyond what my post was intended to elicit. I was absolutely fine with your RM post AAR on the AC forum. I might disagree on several points but I was fine with it and the objections you outlined. You gave well thought out specifics and I understand and respect your opinion. You should not have taken the flack you did and the tiresome insinuations about manliness ect.

I believe anyone that feels unsafe or who believes their health is threatened should be able to leave an event without incrimination. But, and thatís a Big but as we all know, I donít think people should leave a campaigner event just because they are uncomfortable. If they do that they should not be going to campaigner events. As far as the other hobby, thatís fine they can leave and come back or go to IHOP ect. They obviously can do whatever they want and Iím fine with that too, I just try not to go to those events.

I always listen to other opinions I disagree with and try not to worked up, after all how else could I have endured Red Karlís discourses on Marx.

Regards

Pvt Schnapps
07-31-2006, 12:36 PM
Thanks, Frank. Sorry to have gone on. Looking forward to our next philosophical discourse in the field.

On the other hand, I've also been toying with the idea of portraying an officer's servant -- very un-Marxian, but even more under-represented. ;-)

Mint Julep
07-31-2006, 08:12 PM
Well, broad brush or not, I'll back up what Rob Weaver said. I've been to plenty of cph events where the officers seemed unconcerned about the rank and file and were "off somewhere being officers". I've been to events where I couldn't complete the event or the march or whatever and afterwards heard condescending remarks. I won't give names and dates or events, because if I did, it would start a poo-flinging storm that would crash this forum. Suffice it to say I've never been to an event that didn't have one or more of these officers and at the moment I can't think of a single event I've attended where someone didn't leave early.

Two things, though:
1) Civil War officers were considered to be of a higher class of gentleman than the rank and file, so a proper impression does suppose some distance between the officers and the enlisted men. The Orderly Sergeant is the go between. This does not excuse the bozos that park the column in the sun while they figure out which way is up and who's on first. But a good 1st Sgt. should take the initiative and move HIS company to the shade.

2) If I have to leave, I have to leave. If the heat is killing me, I ain't staying in the heat. If someone wants to bad mouth me later, I don't care. I'm not so testerone driven that I feel compelled to compete with them on that. I don't generally give anyone a hard time for leaving an event early, because I have done it and understand. I do not like to leave events early and doing so usually drives me to try harder next time.

That said, the mainstreamers are no different. People leave events and the officers can't find their butt with both hands, GPS coordinates and a kick. But, they don't come home and get on the internet and gripe about it, though. They wait for the next unit meeting or send something to the unit newsletter. The fellows in the cph world don't generally belong to groups that have meetings or newsletters and so they vent on the forums.

This brings up another major difference between the mainstream world and the cph world: ORGANIZATION.

Most mainstreamers are members of a unit, usually a company structure with officers and NCOs and privates. Those units are members of battalions with more officers, etc. All those officers work their tails off to keep the members involved and interested and not allow opportunities for them to stray from the fold. After all, wandering sheep are wolf bait.

Most cph guys are either members of a mainstream group, but have found their individuality and will, one day, leave that mainstream group (it is inevitable once they taste sweeter fruit), or they are members of some small mess or maybe a member of several messes, going with whichever group best represents their interests per event. Sometimes these messes work out deals to work together as a company for several events. But, generally speaking, each man in the cph world is free to determine his own schedule and pursue his own interests, without being accused of failing to support the unit.

So, when we get together on these forums and discuss such silly topics as these, no conclusion is ever drawn because the basic framework for understanding is not there. The two camps (and they really are two camps, aren't they?) do not function in the same manner and they have different goals for participating in the hobby.

Are we having fun yet?

JS

bob 125th nysvi
07-31-2006, 09:18 PM
I think you've got it matey.

I guess one way to improve access to terrain would be open up your options. For example in Upstate NY Encon manages thousands of acres of really closed in terrain that would do really very well for this type of event.

Virtually no modern distractions at all. Trails winding in and among woods and fields, it would be easy to hold a tactical at anyone of them you could get Encon to agree to. Some of these places are over 4000 acres in one block. Small units could go all day and not bump into each other unless they were both going for the same objective (say a cross road).

I don't know if other states have the same terrain available but it has to be worth looking into.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Rob Weaver
08-01-2006, 05:55 AM
I'd like to raise my head again, if just to explain myself. There are a couple reasons that I resorted to what are, admittedly generalizations when I posted. I realized it at the time of posting. First, I didn't quote chapter and verse on events and individuals simply because of the length of the post. Second, I really didn't want the discussion to degenerate into defensive discussion of this or that particular commander or event. Every event, and every leader, has a moment of questionable wisdom, so things I personally dislike occur even at events at which I had a ball or marching with commanders that I otherwise trust. I volunteered my opinion. I have no intention to paint the entire c/p/h movement, or to justify the entire mainstreamer movement. The question asked my opinion. As succinctly as I felt I could, I gave it.

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

tompritchett
08-01-2006, 08:04 AM
That said, the mainstreamers are no different. People leave events and the officers can't find their butt with both hands, GPS coordinates and a kick. But, they don't come home and get on the internet and gripe about it, though. They wait for the next unit meeting or send something to the unit newsletter. The fellows in the cph world don't generally belong to groups that have meetings or newsletters and so they vent on the forums.

So very true. The commander of my former unit tended to take it personal if members left early or decided months ahead of time that some other commitment had priority than a particular event and then was unwilling to reverse that decision at the last minute because the commander changed his emphasis on the event at the last minute. But those complaints and the counter complaints from the members never hit the internet.

Bill_Cross
08-01-2006, 11:12 AM
I guess one way to improve access to terrain would be open up your options. For example in Upstate NY Encon manages thousands of acres of really closed in terrain that would do really very well for this type of event.
I asked over on the AC Forum if anyone was willing to help find land, and it almost turned into a food fight over "good events" and "hype." Taking myself out of the equation, if people like yourself have contacts with land holders, then I urge them to step forward. Waiting around for others to dream up clever events is a recipe for stagnation. I don't know how much longer I'm going to be doing this, and numerous other organizers I respect have dropped out.

Rob Weaver
08-01-2006, 03:58 PM
Bill: mostly this is just an encouragement to wait it through and not drop out: Way back in 1989, I traveled cross-country to attend the 125th Wilderness/Spotsylvania event, held in the Shenandoah Valley. I camped in my gear 3 days while traveling, for 4 days (I think) at the event, and for 3 days going home. When I was done, I cleaned my musket, hung it on the wall and told my wife "No more this year." It was May! Why? I was worn out! This was in the days when c/p/h was still called "hardcore" or maybe even "authentic" but that was about the closest thing to an "immersion event" that existed at the time. War is a tiring exercise as well as cruel, and I think campaigning is very tiring. The very high expectations and energy of research, training and participating can point you toward burnout pretty quickly, the same way that being deeply involved in your kid's scout troop or ball team can wear you down. I've been reenacting continuously for 30 years and there are seasons in your life. Learn to roll with those seasons. Sometimes you may be invigorated by meeting the challenges of a long march, poor food, weather, whatever. Other times, you may be able to steal 12 hours to fall in with your friends for a day. Don't burn out! There is an expression that Americans "worship their work, work at their play and play at their worship." I'm not here to discuss the theology, but working too hard at your play can lead you, sadly and unnecessarily, to that point where you're selling your gear in the other forum.


Sgt. Rob Weaver
Pine River Boys
Co I, 7th Wisconsin Vlunteers

Bill_Cross
08-01-2006, 04:15 PM
Working too hard at your play can lead you, sadly and unnecessarily, to that point where you're selling your gear in the other forum.
It's crossed my mind lately as good friends have left and the events that are in the works are often few and far between. Red River is too far away for me to take the time, and McDowell is getting a little stale (the RPs will be in gray if plans hold, which will be something of a novelty for me).

bob 125th nysvi
08-01-2006, 08:03 PM
I asked over on the AC Forum if anyone was willing to help find land, and it almost turned into a food fight over "good events" and "hype." Taking myself out of the equation, if people like yourself have contacts with land holders, then I urge them to step forward. Waiting around for others to dream up clever events is a recipe for stagnation. I don't know how much longer I'm going to be doing this, and numerous other organizers I respect have dropped out.

I would not be adverse to helping get an event off the ground to make contacts, etc. but I have no experience in putting together such an event nor am I sure how much interest there would be in an event in upstate NY.

I will take it up at our next association meeting about holding a tactical locally and see what the reaction is.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

Bill_Cross
08-02-2006, 09:48 AM
I would not be adverse to helping get an event off the ground to make contacts, etc. but I have no experience in putting together such an event...
Putting on an event is a team sport: someone gets the land, someone organizes the water, someone else raises the troops. Often the problem with getting the land is convincing a normal, healthy intellect of the wisdom in allowing hundreds or even thousands of yahoos with guns dressed in old-timey clothing to tromp all over his land and bring on a liability ####-fit with his lawyer and insurance agent. That kind of trust usually needs a local boy's ministrations.

The land is the single biggest hurdle to having good campaign-style events.

nor am I sure how much interest there would be in an event in upstate NY.
I suspect there is a market for every event. "Upstate NY" is a very imprecise term, covering all the way from the Catskills through the Adirondacks out to Elmira, at least that's the way New York City people define "upstate."

As I said only partly in jest, you'd attract more Yankees, since they wouldn't have to drive so far. Maybe then we could get proper force ratios!

Dunno, somebody ask Dusty or someone from the Stonewall Brigade if they'd drive as far north as most of their Yankee opponents drive south to attend events in VA.

Stiggs
08-02-2006, 03:14 PM
"Red River is too far away for me to take the time... "

Flying to an event that far away saves alot of time. I know some folks are trepidatious, but I've done it twice & it was seamless. Only real hitch is rounds & caps, the airlines don't allow them. Both times I've flown to events, I arrangedf to ship rounds & caps to a second party, someone who would be in the same Co'y as I at the event and no problemo. Just sayin'.

And yopu need a locking gun case, they run a couple hundred or slightly less and they can hold two muskets, maybe three. They're handy. I can recommend a supplier if anyone is interested.

KJAir
08-02-2006, 04:01 PM
"I remember the original "Burkittsville" ........one folks look back on now and wonder why there aren't more events like it."

I can give you some insights on that, Bill. It has to do with some pretty serious acts of duplicity, deception, character assassination, and various other indicators of serious social maladjustment.

Call if you want details.

Kevin Air

Bill_Cross
08-02-2006, 04:35 PM
I can give you some insights on that, Bill. It has to do with some pretty serious acts of duplicity, deception, character assassination, and various other indicators of serious social maladjustment. Call if you want details.
I got a private email from someone else who got dumped from the original Burkittsville organizing committee who castigated me for "not telling the whole story" (I will omit his rather childish actions after he was bounced from the committee). I concede that you both were both treated badly. Certain individuals behaved as they typically do-- only more so-- and this is part of the reason why campaigner events have dwindled. I've already lamented here and on the AC forum how some of the best and the brightest have left because of infighting (some of the malefactors have left or are leaving, too, but that doesn't off-set the "brain drain").

But your personal travails don't change the fact that the first Burkittsville was among the best progressive events of the past few years, due mostly to its creativity and variety, but partly to the fact that its novelty: a progressive event that didn't require a perfect kit or any campaigner experience. Whatever happened behind the scenes, the results for the rank & file were:

1.) marching over pristine ground (not THE march route, but conceivably very much like the original);

2.) a lovely setting that time has passed by (the village of Burkittsville and many of the buildings in the outlying country);

3.) a battle (too short for many, but historical) on the original ground, scripted to come out the way it did in the history books;

4.) no blowing of "Taps" and all getting up and shaking hands, but the dead and wounded carried off the field on litters (unusual at the time).

5.) authentic civilians who put on a hospital scenario that brought tears to the eyes of some observers because of its realism (impressions and "acting," not blood and guts);

6.) a prisoner scenario that, despite some wrinkles, has not been recreated to my knowledge.

It had warts, too (camping under a street light Saturday evening, and essentially nothing happening Sunday morning, leading to a gradual bleeding off of most of the participants).

Does a superior event justify you and your colleague being mistreated? No. But I live in the corporate world, and sometimes bad things happen to good people, with a result that's better overall.

And you and I both should recognize that event organizing isn't always a pretty sight. We both worked on "Into the Wilderness," and I saw many of the event's warts up-close and personal. In fact, I don't think I am speaking out-of-turn to say that most of the senior Federal officers came away angry and disillusioned, both with the way that the CS forces operated, and with the way the CWLHI ran the event. We expressed our concerns to you privately for the most part, and it looks like from recent communications I've seen that we won't be repeating our participation at any high level in the next Recon.

But our dissatisfaction was not shared by the Federal rank & file, who came away from the event happy and feeling they'd gotten their money's worth. So on a certain level, it doesn't matter that you were misused at Burkittsville, or that I feel the CWLHI made serious mistakes in the way it organized ITW. The participants of both events had a great time, and that's probably what counts.

It's tough to think of the "greater good" when you're having a lousy time, but that's probably unavoidable with organizing a good event, and probably why so many of us quit after awhile.

FWL
08-02-2006, 04:56 PM
We both worked on "Into the Wilderness," and I saw many of the event's warts up-close and personal.

But our dissatisfaction was not shared by the Federal rank & file, who came away from the event happy and feeling they'd gotten their money's worth. or that I feel the CWLHI made serious mistakes in the way it organized ITW. The participants of both events had a great time, and that's probably what counts.

Ah yes ITW despite getting our collective arses kicked I loved it. I was wet hungry and tired and loved being on original ground. Best parts were

1) being from China, ME
2) construction of the most worthless shebang ever (it attracted rain)
3) on Sunday am in our battle line having our Captain saying if those f*******confederates come across that stream and break scenario again fix bayonets and hold your ground they did'nt and we did'nt but our hands were on them. Kind of makes the RM issues safety issues seem minor. Did'nt know if you knew about that one.

Regards

Frank Lilley
aka Hiram Walker, 7th ME China that is

Pvt Schnapps
08-03-2006, 07:58 AM
Ah yes ITW despite getting our collective arses kicked I loved it. I was wet hungry and tired and loved being on original ground. Best parts were

1) being from China, ME
2) construction of the most worthless shebang ever (it attracted rain)
3) on Sunday am in our battle line having our Captain saying if those f*******confederates come across that stream and break scenario again fix bayonets and hold your ground they did'nt and we did'nt but our hands were on them. Kind of makes the RM issues safety issues seem minor. Did'nt know if you knew about that one.

Regards

Frank Lilley
aka Hiram Walker, 7th ME China that is

Hey Frank, me again <g>

I think it was at ITW that your other friend from China started calling me Red Karl. My AAR actually referred to the bayonets, desertion, and a few other things, but it was one of the other things that created the controversy at the time. But I don't take issue with you.

It occurs to me -- and I'm wondering what some of you others think -- that the whole premise of this thread is a little off. I mean, why ask how we make "Campaigner" numbers rise? What's a "campaigner" anyway? Where do you go for your merit badge and who hands them out? I really want to know, because they need to make writing with a dip pen part of the final authenticity exam.

These labels have some utility for describing events, though the event standards themselves are a better indicator. It's when we start applying labels to individuals that we wander, sooner or later, into the realm of cliquishness, back-biting, insult, and recrimination.

So maybe the question ought to be, how do we increase the number of "campaign" events, and the number of people attending them?

That's a little more interesting. If you live where I do, in the DC area, there are more attractive events than you can reasonably attend in a season. Some are more authentic than others, but there's a goodly number across the spectrum.

How do we get more people to the more authentic ones? I think there are two issues. The first is the greater problem afflicting the hobby -- the changing distribution of income in this country and erosion of the middle class can't help but affect the number of men with the money and vacation time necessary to portray a civil war soldier. The number of men who want to is probably also affected by the fact that we have a real war going on.

The second issue is openness and, dare I say, friendliness. I believe that both you and I got to Rich Mountain via "Company I," Bedford Village and various LR events, and the willingness of more advanced reenactors to not just tolerate but cheerfully welcome us. There's a lot to be said for that. As long as the number of folks who call themselves campaigners are substantially outnumbered by those who don't, units like that, and events like Burkittsville '01 and ITW, have an important place in the hobby.

BTW, Bill -- while the senior Federal officers at ITW may not support future CWLHI events, the administrative staff will be pleased to soldier on with them. ;-)

For the record -- just in case anyone wondered -- I am not now nor have I ever been a "campaigner." I have stated before and will repeat again that I am a Midstream Regressive Complainer.

Those who know me know exactly what I mean.

Anders
08-03-2006, 09:05 AM
Having been involved in most if not all the events listed, I can say it is not always an easy ride, mistakes get made, I made some, others did too, but it is recognizing them and moving past that truly matters.

BTW- off topic- Campaigner Numbers are growing, by leaps and bounds, and the CVG is working hard to be "freindly" campaigners and welcome those who are looking to "give it a try"

At Shenadoah 62 we had about 19 with us, and we hope to have a large turnout both for the Sharpshooter Camp of Instruction at Pamplin in September and then at Perryville in October. One blue, one gray.

One thing I have enjoyed in the hobby, is seeing the "light bulb" come on, and work with folks along their authenticity journey. In fact that is one of my favorite parts of the hobby. During my time in the LR we had a great track record of that, and we have dedicated oursleves to that with the CVG.

Yes there are those who do nothing but tear down people, units and events, but there are far more into building and helping others. And there are far more progressive events to come than ever before.

Keep the faith and move out!

Pards,

YankRI
08-03-2006, 09:51 AM
The second issue is openness and, dare I say, friendliness. I believe that both you and I got to Rich Mountain via "Company I," Bedford Village and various LR events, and the willingness of more advanced reenactors to not just tolerate but cheerfully welcome us. There's a lot to be said for that. As long as the number of folks who call themselves campaigners are substantially outnumbered by those who don't, units like that, and events like Burkittsville '01 and ITW, have an important place in the hobby.

This is an interesting point and I wonder how much of it is a perception over reality thing. I suspect that there are anecdotes illustrating both the mean hardcores and the cheerfully welcoming ones but that by and large the reality is that those who prefer the c/p/h way of doing things are in the latter camp. I know I am. Perhaps that's because I was welcomed with open arms when I joined the Columbia Rifles. I didn't know a soul in the group but the CR leadership made me feel at home. There was some vetting of course but mostly with respect to positive attitude and willingness to learn.

To give my own anecdote, earlier this year I was approached through these fora by a long-time mainstreamer who was looking to try a c/p/h event, namely, Rich Mountain. He told me of the upgrades to his kit and his study of the triad (material culture, methods, man). It was also evident that he had a positive attitude about trying something new. I knew he'd be a good fit and would have a bully time with us and told him so. In fact, I told him he'd probably be surprised at how much fun he'd have.

In Co. B at RM we had guys made up Potomac Legion units (like the CR and Company I) plus numerous guests from as far away as Colorado and Minnesota. The best way to describe them is that they take reenacting seriously but not themselves. It makes for a great combination where newcomers with good attitudes fit right in and quickly realize that the big bad hardcore preconception just doesn't hold up -- at least with these guys.

This new guy at Rich Mountain had a great time and was a great addition to our company. I hope he joins us again. I'm sure there are many other guys who want to give c/p/h side a try but not sure how to go about it. All it takes is an email and an introduction. With the right attitude, I've found that c/p/h'ers are more than happy to give a newbie a chance to experience it.

I know others have expressed these same sentiments before but sometimes they bear repeating. Now, back to work I go!

Receptively,

FWL
08-03-2006, 10:38 AM
Hey Frank, me again <g>

I think it was at ITW that your other friend from China started calling me Red Karl. My AAR actually referred to the bayonets, desertion, and a few other things, but it was one of the other things that created the controversy at the time. But I don't take issue with you.

It occurs to me -- and I'm wondering what some of you others think -- that the whole premise of this thread is a little off. I mean, why ask how we make "Campaigner" numbers rise? What's a "campaigner" anyway? Where do you go for your merit badge and who hands them out? I really want to know, because they need to make writing with a dip pen part of the final authenticity exam.

For the record -- just in case anyone wondered -- I am not now nor have I ever been a "campaigner." I have stated before and will repeat again that I am a Midstream Regressive Complainer.

Those who know me know exactly what I mean.

Dr. Schnapps I presume. I'm sure your AAR on ITW was excellent. I had a very good time at that event. My memories of Ned Smith cooking sweet potatos in molassas in the rain will stay with me a long time.

I have a bit of a different take on the numbers. I actually hope they don't rise. I would be very happy if the biggest event numbers wise was equal to RM. I don't know what the numbers were for ITW but they may have been similar. As far as what a campaigner is, its the question with no answer. Its the discussion that counts. In grad school we biologists would debate whether or not a virus was a living thing. That almost lead to fist fights (hint again no right answer)

See you at Bull Run 2

Regards

Frank Lilley
Sore Foot Mess
Detached Again

tompritchett
08-03-2006, 10:46 AM
In grad school we biologists would debate whether or not a virus was a living thing.

What about prions?

FWL
08-03-2006, 01:35 PM
What about prions?


Not living no metabolism, but then this is a civil war forum, so I'm not supposed to know they exist.

regards

Frank Lilley

Bill_Cross
08-03-2006, 01:38 PM
Hey, enough of the jokes, this is a serious hobby where people threaten each other, sabotage events, back-bite and assassinate characters. No having fun allowed!

VaTrooper
08-03-2006, 01:44 PM
Is a tomato a fruit or vegetable?

BobSullivanPress
08-03-2006, 02:05 PM
What is progressive today will be farb tomorrow. The reenacting movement is like a large blob moving along a path. There is a leading edge, and a trailing part. But eventually, the entire blob moves along.

I started reenacting 32 years ago. I was considered in the absolute forefront of authenticity. Were I to show my pictures of those days, they would now be considered the height of 21st century farbdom.

There will always be the latest thing, the latest uniform, the latest equipment, the latest research. The leading edge embraces new things as much for their newness as for their authenticity. Because if I am a young reenactor, full of fire, I certainly don't want things that the "old guys" have. I want the newest, the latest.

So will the campaigner numbers ever rise? Sure they will. If you take a picture of campaigner taken in, say, 1997, and compare that look with the folks you see today, there's a heck of a lot more people looking like that in 2006 then there were in 1997. But would that 1997 "look" still be considered the "campaigner look" in 2006? That's the question.

tompritchett
08-03-2006, 02:05 PM
Is a tomato a fruit or vegetable?

Fruit, it carries seeds.

tompritchett
08-03-2006, 02:09 PM
Not living no metabolism, but then this is a civil war forum, so I'm not supposed to know they exist.

regards

Frank Lilley

Back then the closest concept/theory/hypothesis they had to bacteria and viruses as causes of disease were "vapors". :)

Linda Trent
08-03-2006, 02:30 PM
If you take a picture of campaigner taken in, say, 1997, and compare that look with the folks you see today, there's a heck of a lot more people looking like that in 2006 then there were in 1997. But would that 1997 "look" still be considered the "campaigner look" in 2006? That's the question.

Of course the greater question is, should we be striving to look like other reenactors who live in the 20th/21st century or like the people we're trying to represent who lived in the 19th century? That's where progression differs in many respects. Progression is the movement away from looking like other reenactors and events, and more toward looking like the past. :)

Linda.

BobSullivanPress
08-04-2006, 09:19 AM
Of course the greater question is, should we be striving to look like other reenactors who live in the 20th/21st century or like the people we're trying to represent who lived in the 19th century? That's where progression differs in many respects. Progression is the movement away from looking like other reenactors and events, and more toward looking like the past. :)

Linda.

I think we should always be striving to look as people did in the 19th century. My thoughts were that attaining that look has become easier and easier over the reenacting years. While wool has always been attainable back to Genesis, the right wools and dyes have disappeared and been rediscovered. I can remember the following looks in my reenacting years.

In the early 70s (when I started), the look was pretty darn good, since everyone was wearing original leathers and equipment, carrying original weapons, and some of us were wearing original uniforms. Then people began offering money for these items, and the entire era of reproductions started.

In the late 70s, the "look" included brown thread because all original garments had brown thread. Further research turned up the facts that logwood dyes are not all that colorfast, so now we match the thread with the material.

In the early 80s, the Confederate "look" was butternut, because just about every uniform hanging in a museum was butternut.

In the mid-80s, Charile Childs introduced jean cloth to reenacting, and the look became different, since you now had a choice of wool or jean.

In the late 80s, Les Jensen introduced his pioneering research on Confederate uniforms, and terms such as RDII, Tait, and other terms for jackets have become common use.

In the early 90s (I think) Navy Arms finally agreed to reproduce a musket other than the 1863 Springfield (making the 1861 model), allowing reenactors to take onto the field a reproduction of a musket that was actually used in quantity.

In the mid 90s people like Tom Czesanski (sp?), Butch Meyers, and others began producing leather items that actually looked like original leather items, allowing people to wear decent looking leather gear.

There have been others. There's even a guy that started making reproductions of books, documents and forms in the early 90s so that people could carry around and use paperwork that looked like originals. :)

I've seen and owned tintypes of reenactors from the 1970s that look darned good, and can fool most people as far as originals are concerned. Heck, I believe that there are some floating around on eBay now, pictures of us in the 70s.

So it's not the greater question, it's the permanent question. And the answer keeps changing.

Tom Scoufalos
08-04-2006, 11:11 AM
In the early 90s (I think) Navy Arms finally agreed to reproduce a musket other than the 1863 Springfield (making the 1861 model), allowing reenactors to take onto the field a reproduction of a musket that was actually used in quantity.


Pretty darn close; DGW put out a Japanese made '61 in 1988- it was my first repro firearm, which I still use most often. Incidentally, it is spot-on in terms of favorably matching my origional '61 in terms of weight, stock, etc. compaired to the few Euro. repops I have used.

-Tom

roundshot
08-04-2006, 05:06 PM
Yep, I've still got my old Dixie Gun Works Miroku 1861 Springfield. It is light and a real shooter. Great weapon. The road kill chicken stamped on the lock plate leaves a bit to be desired though!

Bob Williams
1st NC Arty

Mint Julep
08-05-2006, 08:53 PM
Well, since I most often post on the OTB, getting this thread back on-topic will be a real stretch for me, but ...

Tomatoes are in a larval stage of something else. I am convinced God is not finished tinkering with it.

I, too, went thru most of the stages of reenacting Bob describes and I will say that now is the best of times in terms of authenticity. Today's worst farbs look like we did in the late '70's. The mainstream guys look like the hardcore guys did circa '95 or so. The last 5 or 6 years has seen quantum leaps in quality and accessibility to good gear, making it easier to get it. But, it never ceases to amaze me when I see a guy wearing the best made coat in the hobby and he still looks like a farb in it because he has on modern glasses and is smoking a cigarette.

Organizing events sucks the life out of you. If you do enough of them, it will suck the life out of your marriage and job, too.

I agree with Anders, God help me and watch the lightening bolts, but I think campaigner numbers are increasing. Part of that relates to my comment earlier about the accessibility of good gear, and the other part relates to the fact that a mainstream guy with good gear may also be a campaigner. Remember, the "campaigner" category falls between mainstream and progressive. So, as mainstream guys get better gear and start experimenting with kinky events and progressives backslide to events with lower standards just to have something to do, the campaigner category grows.

Ba-doomp-chink.

Bill X, I find your comments about B'ville most interesting. I've never attended a progressive event where everyone had a perfect kit, but apparently I'm missing something, because you think B'ville was unique for not requiring perfect kits. Can you tell me which events have required perfection? The message I usually hear is "attitude is the most important thing" and "don't let a piece of gear keep you from attending this event". I've said it before, I'd rather march with a guy in a Jarnie coat that has a good attitude, carries his weight and isn't a jerk, than with a prima donna in a coat sewn by Jesus Himself. (My RR2 company comrades are rolling on the floor with laughter right now, as that is an inside joke and a quote from Murley.)

To a certain degree, Bill, you are doing exactly what folks have complained about - you are intimating on an open forum that the standards of the progressive events are unattainable by the mainstream guy that might be interested. It just isn't true! I guarantee that if a mainstream guy called up one of the organizers or one of the "raisins" and said, "I want to attend, but I don't think my gear will pass, can you help me figure out what to do?", the answer would be "Register and we'll use what you got that will pass and borrow the rest." Gee, right there in one exchange would be the real relationship between the progressive and the mainstream. "I need help." "I can help." No judgement, no deragotary responses, just an offer to help an interested party. It happens all the time.

Frankly, this whole thread concept bothers me because of the gloom and doom aspect of the question. "Are the dinosaurs going to die?"

Let's move on to a better topic: "How can we make the farb numbers decrease?"

bwahahahaha,

Minty

Doug Cooper
08-05-2006, 10:47 PM
Well, since I most often post on the OTB, getting this thread back on-topic will be a real stretch for me, but ...

Tomatoes are in a larval stage of something else. I am convinced God is not finished tinkering with it.

I, too, went thru most of the stages of reenacting Bob describes and I will say that now is the best of times in terms of authenticity. Today's worst farbs look like we did in the late '70's. The mainstream guys look like the hardcore guys did circa '95 or so. The last 5 or 6 years has seen quantum leaps in quality and accessibility to good gear, making it easier to get it. But, it never ceases to amaze me when I see a guy wearing the best made coat in the hobby and he still looks like a farb in it because he has on modern glasses and is smoking a cigarette.

Organizing events sucks the life out of you. If you do enough of them, it will suck the life out of your marriage and job, too.

I agree with Anders, God help me and watch the lightening bolts, but I think campaigner numbers are increasing. Part of that relates to my comment earlier about the accessibility of good gear, and the other part relates to the fact that a mainstream guy with good gear may also be a campaigner. Remember, the "campaigner" category falls between mainstream and progressive. So, as mainstream guys get better gear and start experimenting with kinky events and progressives backslide to events with lower standards just to have something to do, the campaigner category grows.

Ba-doomp-chink.

Bill X, I find your comments about B'ville most interesting. I've never attended a progressive event where everyone had a perfect kit, but apparently I'm missing something, because you think B'ville was unique for not requiring perfect kits. Can you tell me which events have required perfection? The message I usually hear is "attitude is the most important thing" and "don't let a piece of gear keep you from attending this event". I've said it before, I'd rather march with a guy in a Jarnie coat that has a good attitude, carries his weight and isn't a jerk, than with a prima donna in a coat sewn by Jesus Himself. (My RR2 company comrades are rolling on the floor with laughter right now, as that is an inside joke and a quote from Murley.)

To a certain degree, Bill, you are doing exactly what folks have complained about - you are intimating on an open forum that the standards of the progressive events are unattainable by the mainstream guy that might be interested. It just isn't true! I guarantee that if a mainstream guy called up one of the organizers or one of the "raisins" and said, "I want to attend, but I don't think my gear will pass, can you help me figure out what to do?", the answer would be "Register and we'll use what you got that will pass and borrow the rest." Gee, right there in one exchange would be the real relationship between the progressive and the mainstream. "I need help." "I can help." No judgement, no deragotary responses, just an offer to help an interested party. It happens all the time.

Frankly, this whole thread concept bothers me because of the gloom and doom aspect of the question. "Are the dinosaurs going to die?"

Let's move on to a better topic: "How can we make the farb numbers decrease?"

bwahahahaha,

Minty

Agree 100%. The number of campaigners is increasing. And Dinosaurs lived for approximately 180 million years, still the most successful life form on the planet 'cept maybe cockroaches. The campaigners will prevail...or at least keep growing.

This statement is genius: "So, as mainstream guys get better gear and start experimenting with kinky events and progressives backslide to events with lower standards just to have something to do, the campaigner category grows."

The net effect of all this though is that in the big event world, there is no learning curve in a macro sense - the big events, with few exceptions, have not really improved in 20 years. The reasons are:

1. The Campaigners have moved far right, away from big events
2. The Mainstreamers are moving to the right to smaller progressive events
3. The Farbs are still around and they attend the biggest events, which are no longer very big (see #1 and 2), but worse than ever

15-20 years ago we all attended the same events. Now we have 3 separate classes of events - fest, progressive, campaigner. 15-20 years ago all of us would be at the big 125th or even 130th events, today, none or very few of the campaigners go to them and fewer mainstreamers care to go. I call it the "Remembrance Day Syndrome."

So the overall average level of authenticity is increasing, but you can not measure that based on the big events, as you could 20 years ago.

Agree 100% on the event planning effect on one's life, marriage and job. Working that hard for no renumeration only to get kicked in the teeth by a vocal minority at day's end is no fun - comes with the job, but normally one gets paid for a job. I know exactly what young Mr Tipton meant when he said at the end of Rich Mountain - "ok, its somebody else's turn."

Agree 100% on moving on. Am still waiting on someone to find a person who counts stitches at events...or whizzes on buttons...or slams anyone when their attitude is great but kit is catching up...or who designs event guidelines without a range of acceptable choices. Never seen that before from a real campaigner or campaigner event planner.

Tonight I got an e-mail from a guy just as Minty describes: "I want to go to Banks Grand Retreat (RR3) but don't have the kit - can you help me find a unit and give me some guidance on what to bring?"

My kinda guy :-)

Strawfoot
08-06-2006, 12:03 PM
Here we are talking more about gear, and less about drill and military discipline...

Mint Julep
08-06-2006, 12:11 PM
You know, despite the aura and prestige of the '99 Red River 2 event, it was a mainstream event attended by both the mainstream and the progressive. Our company was a mix of both, but everyone had the right attitude towards the event. That was why it was a success for us.

JS

Provost
08-06-2006, 10:27 PM
I think this one's about run it's course and it's getting pretty far down the chain of levels.
Please continue the discussion in a new thread. You can quote from this thread if you need to do so.

Provost