PDA

View Full Version : Are campaigner events hard to attend?



Bill_Cross
08-07-2006, 12:49 PM
Joe Smotherman ("Mint Julep") in another thread chastised me for praising the original Burkittsville, saying "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.)
Joe, you must be a lawyer, because the only one in this hobby who splits hairs and finds intent where there isn't better than you is Stiggs. ;-)

I never said Burkittsville was unique! It had a very "relaxed" uniform standard (I believe the Federal jacket requirement read "sack coat"). Other events have had more "complex" ones (the Antietam preservation march hosted by the Potomac Legion had a 100 point "scorecard" for material culture, so I'm not making this up). But your comment (and quote from Mike Murley) is excellent-- it gets right to the heart of most campaigner events: attitude trumps gear anyday.

Then why do we need to keep re-visiting this topic? I'll tell you: someone wrote me off-list that he found the gear requirements for a particular event off-putting: as a LW event, it accepted "reluctantly" a 2-rivet scabbard for Federals. My correspondent asked me why a 2-rivet isn't proper for all periods of the war, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Despite years of me and others saying here that the right attitude is what counts in the field, and if you don't have the gear, chances are you can borrow what you lack, intelligent folks who can read still see campaigner event uniform guidelines with detailed descriptions of what the organizers want them to wear, and worry they'll drive hundreds of miles and be turned away.

Lets KISS (keep it simple, stupid):

1.) The level of mainstream kit has improved enough that anyone who has tried to "do it right" probably has all he needs right now. If you think gear is a problem, write to the POC for the event (Point Of Contact).

2.) Attitude is more important to most campaign/progressive event organizers than a great kit and a ####ty outlook. What is a "good attitude"? The willingness to make the event your own, to participate with the attitude of a period soldier, to leave the modernisms and modern talk in the parking lot, and an eagerness to do your very best.

3.) Uniform guidelines are often just that: guidelines. Looking at one of the more anal-retentive sets ("Payne's Farm," which I picked this afternoon at random), it says "Jacket: New York State “Excelsior” Jacket IS PREFERRED, and Frock Coats are happily accepted: New York Depot or Schuylkill Depot pattern. Fatigue Blouse can be worn ONLY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A NEW YORK JACKET OR FROCK COAT: New York Depot (i.e., the common J.T. Martin contract reproductions) or Schuylkill Arsenal pattern The sponsors request that each participant make an effort to appear at this event in a New York jacket or frock coat—borrow one if you have to." I don't own a frock coat anymore, and have no intention of purchasing a NY State jacket, but I could've gone to PF with no objections. So could you.

The CS guidelines are quite simple for jackets: "1.) Richmond Depot type II jacket. These should be of light gray or gray-brown jean or cassimere. Top-stitching and button holes should be done by hand; 2). Richmond Depot type II made of English imported kersey; 3). Imported “Tait” style jacket." Hmmm, can't think of too many people out there who can't fill that without spending $500.

I'm sure some of the boo birds will make sport of this post because it's going over issues that would seem to have been settled months/years ago. Yet as the private message I received recently attests, there are still people out there who are scared off from campaigner/progressive events because of the gear. Don't be.

dustyswb
08-07-2006, 02:10 PM
Bill,

I'm honored that PF was "anal-retentive" in its search to recreate history.

Anyway, I agree with your accessment on folks trying out events that interest them. We (SWB) loaned things to CS participants for the event also.

You should have mentioned also, that the website and uniform guidelines were posted on 1/5/05, nearly 11 months before the event. Plenty of time to borrow/save up for that item you didn't have.

Bill_Cross
08-07-2006, 02:28 PM
I'm honored that PF was "anal-retentive" in its search to recreate history.
Now, Dusty, just poking a little legitimate fun. I wanted to show that even fussy guidelines for a highly-specific guiding impression still left room for anyone with a decent kit to attend the event. Someone new to progressive events might be scared off by the words, when in fact they'd be just fine.

You should have mentioned also, that the website and uniform guidelines were posted on 1/5/05, nearly 11 months before the event. Plenty of time to borrow/save up for that item you didn't have.
That's another good point, and I'm glad you mentioned it: most progressive events are announced a long time in advance, usually because planning them is hard work. And the vast majority have relatively unthreatening uniform requirements, really the sort of thing that any conscientious reenactor is going to want for a kit. I even told my nervous correspondent that he would serve himself well to have a 7- or 8-rivent scabbard in his closet to go along with his 2-rivet.

But if for some reason you don't have every item, or at least don't have ones that you feel comfortable with, you normally have oodles of time to make a judicious upgrade, or arrange to borrow said item.

Bottom line: I doubt that anyone who truly wants to participate at a campaigner/progressive event will be unable to do so if he only has a good attitude and a willingness to improve.

Even "deal breaker" problems like contact lenses or food allergies can be overcome with enough guidance and planning (period specs are cheap on eBay, and you can often bring special food if needed if you just ask, as long as it's not in modern containers).

The more we talk about this, the more the objections begin to sound like excuses.... ;-)

Pvt_Idaho
08-07-2006, 02:56 PM
The best kit on the planet would not enable me to participate in a Payne's Farm type event. I'd need to save up for a sex change as the rules state that only men are allowed as soldiers. The spouse would be a wee bit unhappy if I did that.

Here's to those events with some flexibility in the rules - there are a few women with fine soldier's impressions out there and it would be nice to feel more welcome.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

Bill_Cross
08-07-2006, 03:22 PM
Here's to those events with some flexibility in the rules - there are a few women with fine soldier's impressions out there and it would be nice to feel more welcome.
The events I have worked on have all taken the position that if your gender is undetectable, then you're welcome. That's actually a pretty high hurdle to clear, as I've seen photos of women who are supposed to have "a good impression," and it's immediately apparent they're not men. Alex Garbeck is an example of a woman who can "pass" for a hairless youth if you don't already know her. In fact, there have been folks who served with her for the weekend and did not know she was female. Alex is smart and knows to keep her mouth shut and is on top of it an excellent bugler.

I have no prejudice against women, and have fought much of my life for gender equality in things like sports and access to education. But equality of opportunity can't come at the expense of quality. My older daughter and son both play ice hockey. For my daughter to play on the same ice as her brother would require a complete transformation of the sport. It's not a question of skill, but of size, strength and aggression. They both play, but not on the same team.

I realize there are events that do not allow women at all. That, to me, is no more historically accurate than forbidding vests in the ranks, an error that perpetuated itself at numerous progressive/campaigner events in the past.

AZReenactor
08-07-2006, 03:54 PM
The best kit on the planet would not enable me to participate in a Payne's Farm type event. I'd need to save up for a sex change as the rules state that only men are allowed as soldiers. The spouse would be a wee bit unhappy if I did that.

Here's to those events with some flexibility in the rules - there are a few women with fine soldier's impressions out there and it would be nice to feel more welcome.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

Audrey,
Authenticity is the guideline here. Seems to me that any female who can disguse herself successfully as a man would be just as welcome as a man. However, if detected she would be treated in an authentic manner and required to leave the army.

The question is if you can pull off for a weekend what some women indeed did for years and keep your true gender completely hidden from comrades and officers.

bizzilizzit
08-07-2006, 04:08 PM
Alex is smart and knows to keep her mouth shut and is on top of it an excellent bugler.

Alex is SO good portraying a soldier, that, even though I've known her for years, on the set of Gods and Generals I passed right by her as she was in a dress and bonnet!

Elizabeth Topping

Pvt_Idaho
08-07-2006, 05:13 PM
Dear All,

My point is that not everyone can be a campaigner soldier. If there are qualifying physical characteristics that one has to have in order to play and not everyone has those characteristics, then not everyone can do it even if they have a great attitude, desire to do it, and adequate kit.

I'll participate where I can and do my best, despite the turkeys loading their pickup trucks in camp during open spectator hours smug when they can pick out the gal-troops.

Funny ice hockey is mentioned. I played ice hockey on the boy's team in high school. There were no teams for girls. I was a good defenseman with one mean hip check. I didn't change the way the game was played one bit. Short hair, helmet, face mask and pads are a great equalizer. Teams didn't know they were playing a team with a girl on it until the game was over and we all got into street clothes.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

bill watson
08-07-2006, 05:22 PM
Well, actually, it turned out after the fact that there was a woman in the ranks at Payne's Farm, unknown to any but her immediate mess. She passed as a man. The only way anyone outside her very small circle ever found out, afterward, was that another woman who hadn't attended because females were barred questioned "her" presence, to which the response was "what 'her?'" And then the cat was out of the bag.

Button Whizzer
08-07-2006, 06:15 PM
I found a 2001 Burkittsville event report.

http://www.columbiarifles.org/AAR/Burkittsville.html

Brandon

FWL
08-07-2006, 06:23 PM
Dear All,

My point is that not everyone can be a campaigner soldier. If there are qualifying physical characteristics that one has to have in order to play and not everyone has those characteristics, then not everyone can do it even if they have a great attitude, desire to do it, and adequate kit.

I'll participate where I can and do my best, despite the turkeys loading their pickup trucks in camp during open spectator hours smug when they can pick out the gal-troops.

Funny ice hockey is mentioned. I played ice hockey on the boy's team in high school. There were no teams for girls. I was a good defenseman with one mean hip check. I didn't change the way the game was played one bit. Short hair, helmet, face mask and pads are a great equalizer. Teams didn't know they were playing a team with a girl on it until the game was over and we all got into street clothes.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan


Good for you Audrey we up here in Mass are a hockey family. My wife, me and my son (he's the only one still playing) and he plays defense. The women that can play up here in D1 HS are rare but its done. Sorry this is supposed to be about the ACW. You have a good attitude.

Frank Lilley
Sore Foot Mess

DLKeyser
08-07-2006, 06:54 PM
The largest hurdle for me to get over to attend better events has been getting the kitchen passes on the right weekends.

Dan Keyser

Regular3
08-07-2006, 07:21 PM
someone wrote me off-list that he found the gear requirements for a particular event off-putting: as a LW event, it accepted "reluctantly" a 2-rivet scabbard for Federals. My correspondent asked me why a 2-rivet isn't proper for all periods of the war, blah, blah, blah, blah.

there are still people out there who are scared off from campaigner/progressive events because of the gear. Don't be.
That someone was me, and blah, blah, blah, blah is all the reply I have received. If an item is correct it's correct, and when I see the word "reluctantly accepted" it reads to me like the sort of half-hearted invitation you used to get to parties when they didn't really want you to come but couldn't come up with a real reason to exclude you. I keep hearing "PEC" blah, blah, blah, blah when it comes to these "progressive" events - but a scabbard that had been in use for five years would be a heckuva lot more "PEC" than one that had been in use for roughly 14 months, wouldn't you agree?

Standards like that don't scare me off, but they do put me off. And so does being publicly ridiculed for asking the question.

Mint Julep
08-07-2006, 09:17 PM
Bill,

Just to clarify my chastising post ...

"I never said Burkittsville was unique!"

What you said was:
"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."

A novelty means something new, unusual or unique. Further, you describe the event as being "novel" in that it didn't require a perfect kit, implying that other events do require a perfect kit. My response to this was to shoot down the theory that you know what you are talking about.

Frankly, B'ville wasn't a bad event, but it doesn't rank up there as one of the best. Raymond I, 1998, was a mainstream event and was better than B'ville. Any number of WIG events far exceed B'ville. But, B'ville was better than the Hodge March. Just my opinion.

"Joe, you must be a lawyer, because the only one in this hobby who splits hairs and finds intent where there isn't better than you is Stiggs."

Nope, worse, I'm a paralegal. My job requires me to read what other people write and find holes in it. I also spend a lot of time telling lawyers what they are doing or have done wrong and how they must fix it. I like my job. My bosses like the level of detail I put into it. The CEO of the corporation told my manager that I am "a rising star" in the company.

And, if Stiggs is my comparison, I enjoy the company.

At least you didn't compare me to Heef.

Minty Fresh

Strawfoot
08-07-2006, 10:51 PM
I think the charge against that stone wall at Burkittsville would've been way cool... I almost went, but I chose instead to do Paul Calloway's Perryville event about three weeks later and ended up freezing my rookie arse off that Friday night.

Joe, I've been in companies you've commanded several times. In fact, I was your 2nd Sgt at McDowell in 2005. But you really need to get you one of those fake German accents that Cross has...

Doug Cooper
08-08-2006, 12:39 AM
Well, actually, it turned out after the fact that there was a woman in the ranks at Payne's Farm, unknown to any but her immediate mess. She passed as a man. The only way anyone outside her very small circle ever found out, afterward, was that another woman who hadn't attended because females were barred questioned "her" presence, to which the response was "what 'her?'" And then the cat was out of the bag.

Uh, sorry Bill - we noticed her immediately on Friday and like good privates (CS in this case) we decided to "don't ask, don't tell." We wondered whether she was sanctioned or snuck in (you go girl!).

tompritchett
08-08-2006, 05:42 AM
And so does being publicly ridiculed for asking the question.

Two comments. First to be publically ridiculed, you must be named, which you were not. More importantly, if you notice the context of the paragraph and the overall post, I do not think that Bill was making fun of anyone with his "blah, blah, blah". Instead, he was using this incident as an example of how individuals become pre-occuppied by specific uniform requirements of an event when making their decisions to attend or not attend. In hind-sight, Bill probably should have used an "etc." instead of the "blah, blah, blah", as my initial reaction was the same as yours - at least until I read the rest of the post.

I must also confess that uniform guidelines have in the past caused me to drop certain, more progressive events off my radar when planning the next years events, something that is no longer the case except for events requiring primarily Federal participation.

bill watson
08-08-2006, 06:52 AM
Doug,

The woman in the federal ranks?

:-)

FWL
08-08-2006, 07:05 AM
Uh, sorry Bill - we noticed her immediately on Friday and like good privates (CS in this case) we decided to "don't ask, don't tell." We wondered whether she was sanctioned or snuck in (you go girl!).


So let me get this straight Doug, you stitch counting, female bashing, anti family, unsafe, unsanitary, button wizzing campaigners noticed a women in the ranks. However you "judged" her impression to be "worthy" and did not turn her in. By Bill's comment it appears the brass did not notice. I can't think of a better example of historically accurate inclusion and flexibility. Whoever that was I give her credit for being able to pull it off especially at an an event like PF.

Regards

Regular3
08-08-2006, 07:37 AM
he was using this incident as an example of how individuals become pre-occuppied by specific uniform requirements of an event when making their decisions to attend or not attend.

I must also confess that uniform guidelines have in the past caused me to drop certain, more progressive events off my radar when planning the next years events, something that is no longer the case except for events requiring primarily Federal participation.

Yeah, if I had kept my mouth shut nobody would have known it was me ...

And I still plan to attend the event in question - my 2-rivet scabbard is acceptable although "reluctantly" :rolleyes: ...

Bill_Cross
08-08-2006, 08:28 AM
Joe,

[deletion]
I don't know whether Burkittsville was better than Raymond, because I didn't attend Raymond. [deletion]

I'm sure there were better events than B'ville, I've attended ones I thought were better. But this shouldn't devolve into your usual "West is Best" baloney, it's a simple statement that cph events aren't as hard to attend as some (Daryl for one) intimate they are. Like many campaigners, you fail to grasp that detailed uniform requirements, sometimes stretching page after soperific page DO deter folks from trying alternate events. What made B'ville, good or bad, unusual, at the time and even now, is the simplicity of its guidelines. I'm not kidding when I say its Federal jacket guideline was "sack coat." That's right, "sack coat." Nothing more. Not "hand-sewn buttonholes," not "properly manufactured according to period techniques," no "Schuylkill Arsenal" lables like "Payne's Farm," just "sack coat." And if you'll CAREFULLY read my post to Daryl below, you'll see I have no problem with uniform guidelines, and am not singling out "Payne's Farm" for dissing, far from it. I tried to look up McDowell's guidelines, but apparently they've taken down the web site. In any case, a good event should have uniform standards; we've had them for every event I've ever worked on.

I like my job. My bosses like the level of detail I put into it. The CEO of the corporation told my manager that I am "a rising star" in the company.
I'm happy for you, Joe, though excuse me if I make sure to look to another company if I ever need legal work in your state. ;-)

At least you didn't compare me to Heef.
Sorry, Joe, I know The Chawls and you're no Charles Heath.

bill watson
08-08-2006, 08:29 AM
"I can't think of a better example of historically accurate inclusion and flexibility. Whoever that was I give her credit for being able to pull it off especially at an an event like PF."

You nailed my thoughts exactly, Frank, although I think they're talking about a Confederate version. I never got close enough to the Confederates to even see Doug over there, let alone a woman; but the one in the federal ranks apparently came as a great surprise to everyone but her pards. It was, as noted, the historically accurate way to pull it off. I walked past "her" several times during the weekend and never noticed anything.

dustyswb
08-08-2006, 08:34 AM
made it through to Payne's and it was the woman in the Federal band, if I recall correctly.

Bill_Cross
08-08-2006, 08:59 AM
You really need to get you one of those fake German accents that Cross has...
Ahem, I take great and overly dramatic umbrage at my western friend's implication that my accent was anything but totally real and authentic.

No wurst for you, Mike, should I do a German impression again. ;-)

Phil
08-08-2006, 11:37 AM
Well yeah - I do wonder how they distinguish between something being "acceptable" with no caveat vs "reluctantly accepted."

And as I said in another post, I still plan to attend the event we were discussing - Heck, I might even break down and buy a 7-rivet scabbard for it. ;)

Thus the point of "reluctantly accepted." It means you won't get sent home for what you have already, but you are encouraged to find something else. Looks like it worked in this case.

Why on earth is a detailed list of gear seen as a deterrent? At least you know what is expected of you. If you assemble everything on the list, how could you be turned away? I'd be more concerned about a vague list of guidelines, as they are far more open to interpretation. As for this:


I'm not kidding when I say its Federal jacket guideline was "sack coat." That's right, "sack coat." Nothing more. Not "hand-sewn buttonholes," not "properly manufactured according to period techniques," no "Schuylkill Arsenal" lables like "Payne's Farm," just "sack coat."

How is that helpful at all? The term "sack coat" could be applied to infinite variations of styles and colors that existed from the 1840's on. Did the "sack coat" even need to be blue? What if it were gray jeancloth or pinstriped? What would you say to someone who showed up with a garment that resembled nothing that a Federal soldier serving in the 1861-65 era wore, but fit the description of a "sack coat"?

Having relaxed guidelines does not necessitate being vague. Just let people know specifically what is allowed, and what isn't. Also, instead of dumbing down the required gear list, why not try to help improve those who are attending? Put the list of required gear out well in advance to allow people to save up, make the impression something that can be used again after this event, and make it clear that even limited amounts of loaner gear are available.

bill watson
08-08-2006, 11:54 AM
"reluctantly accepted" means exactly that. It is recognition that sometimes it is just not possible for folks to get the perfect gear no matter how much they'd like to. And the distinctions between "preferred," "acceptable" and "reluctantly accepted" are simply this: Try to find a replacement for "reluctantly accepted" items as the priority over "acceptable." They're just pointing folks at the details they think matter most for the particular visual/operation impression deemed necessary for the event. It doesn't mean people are going to frown at you or point at the gear for the entire event.

Regular3
08-08-2006, 11:55 AM
Why on earth is a detailed list of gear seen as a deterrent? At least you know what is expected of you. If you assemble everything on the list, how could you be turned away? I'd be more concerned about a vague list of guidelines, as they are far more open to interpretation.
Despite my questioning how something gets pegged as "reluctantly accepted" vs simply "acceptable", I'm with you - the more detailed the standards are, the better - it leaves no doubt as to whether (a) I could apply to attend with what I've got or (b) I would need to buy or borrow something I don't have. I don't see how anyone could argue with that, unless they just can't stand the idea of (b).

And for the record, it's not material standards that have thus far kept me from attending a more progressive event, but rather real life intruding on my reenacting time.

Bill_Cross
08-08-2006, 12:18 PM
Why on earth is a detailed list of gear seen as a deterrent? At least you know what is expected of you. If you assemble everything on the list, how could you be turned away? I'd be more concerned about a vague list of guidelines, as they are far more open to interpretation.
In theory, this sounds reasonable. But having been attending CPH events for some time now, I have noticed that ELABORATE, OVERLY-DETAILED gear requirements are often exercises in counting the number of angels that can dance on a pinhead (and I refer to no member of this hobby in using that term ;-)). What's more, they leave the impression that we're trying to limit participation to those who are within the charmed inner circle.

Having relaxed guidelines does not necessitate being vague.
Agreed. And I'm not suggesting that the B'ville model become the norm. Thanks in part to Joe "Mint Julep" S., we've expended a lot of bandwidth arguing about B'ville, whether it was or was not better than Raymond, whether its Federal uniform guidelines were or were not a good thing, when my point originally was simply to say that uniform guidelines are WAAAAAAY overestimated as doing anything useful for the hobby. They should be guidelines as to what's expected, not exercises in mental masturbation.

Also, instead of dumbing down the required gear list, why not try to help improve those who are attending?
Here's where we really part company, Phil: I don't see a simple and clear set of attainable guidelines as "dumbing down" anything. It's just plain insulting in the first place. And for an event to say "we prefer" to have Schuylkill Arsenal sack coats (for example) is just plain ridiculous, mostly because so few vendors offer them. A Google search only turned up Myrtle Avenue Clothiers and they want $340 for one; an excellent Sekela Gale coat (coincidentally distributed through the SA) costs $215. You do the math and tell me how many of us will add a second sack coat to our inventory that has small, cosmetic differences from the J.T, Martin standard? We're not talking about the difference between a Columbus Depot and a Richmond Depot CSA garment.

And why is it the event's job to "improve" those who are attending? I have a superb kit, with impressions for a Federal enlisted man and officer, a CS private and a civilian. I don't feel I need an event to "improve" me by asking me to purchase some odd-ball item. I "scored" a 97 on the Antietam Preservation March's gear test, what does that get me?

Put the list of required gear out well in advance to allow people to save up, make the impression something that can be used again after this event, and make it clear that even limited amounts of loaner gear are available.
Now you're talking sense.

Pvt_Idaho
08-08-2006, 12:59 PM
Bil Watson wrote "Well, actually, it turned out after the fact that there was a woman in the ranks at Payne's Farm, unknown to any but her immediate mess. She passed as a man. The only way anyone outside her very small circle ever found out, afterward, was that another woman who hadn't attended because females were barred questioned "her" presence, to which the response was "what 'her?'" And then the cat was out of the bag."

My complements to "him" for pulling off Payne's Farm. With today's trained eye and reenactor troops made up of men who are on average older than the boys of '61-'65 to be compared with, this presents a very high hurdle indeed.

In the 1860's soldiers did not expect to have women in their ranks and were not looking for them.

Col. Orlando Metcalf Poe, who in 1862 commanded the 2nd MI Inf. had as his orderly Pvt. Frank Thompson A.K.A. Sarah Emma Edmonds. He wrote about his orderly following the war and the revelation of her true gender:

"As a soldier, Frank Thompson was effeminate looking, and for that reason was detailed as mail carrier....a single glance at her in proper character caused me to wonder how I ever could have mistaken her for a man, and readily recall many things which ought to have betrayed her, except no one thought of finding a woman in soldier's dress."

Going back to the initial question on this post by Mr. Watson - yes campaigning is VERY difficult if you are a woman trying to pass as a soldier.

Dear Mr. Lilley, thanks for the kudos (-;.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

Pvt_Idaho
08-08-2006, 01:26 PM
Wambaugh, White and Co. sell SA Sack Coats for $250; $440 handsewn.
They also sell a kit to sew your own for $130. This last option is how I managed to have a fine looking handsewn SA blouse. Dan Wambaugh was extremely helpful with his advice (he must of been glad when I finished the project) and sent more thread when my itty-bitty back stitches used up more thread than planned.

Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

Phil
08-08-2006, 05:50 PM
Bill,

A "simple and clear set of attainable guidelines" also does not have to be the same thing as the lowest common denomonator. Instead of lowering the event standards to meet the participants, why not have the participants whose kit is below the event standards work to improve it?

If the impression you have fits the event guidelines, why worry? A preference is just a preference. It's not necessary for participation. If you don't want to make or purchase the item in question, and don't need to, why would you care?

Phil
TGH
Big Fat Farb

Bill_Cross
08-09-2006, 10:39 AM
Instead of lowering the event standards to meet the participants, why not have the participants whose kit is below the event standards work to improve it?
Again, this is one of those "when did you stop beating your wife?" straw man issues. No one has suggested that CPH events "lower" their standards. What I am arguing against is quite simple:

1.) Overly-elaborate, precious, arcane uniform requirements. When we get to the point where CPH events are attracting 1,000+ rifles on BOTH sides, then we can start looking for SA blouses, zouave hats for LW events, oddball arsenal trousers, etc. I recall one event wanting participants to have mounted trousers. That, to my thinking, is a plan for shooting your event in the foot. It perhaps says something that these precious uniform guidelines seem to be more common for certain Eastern Federal events, but that's grist for another mill.

2.) Looking-down-my-nose-at-you snobbery about kit. As has been pointed out by others, it's tempting to exult in a brand spanking new kit of super-authentic duds and leathers, and to think one has "arrived" at authentic nirvana. Numerous posts here keep talking about "dumbing down" standards, which is just a crock. The fact that you keep raising it seems to prove my point.

If the impression you have fits the event guidelines, why worry? A preference is just a preference. It's not necessary for participation. If you don't want to make or purchase the item in question, and don't need to, why would you care?
I don't care, but I've been doing the alternative event thing for years now, not as long as some, but long enough that I know my kit will have everything I would need for 90%+ of the CPH events. I sold my CD jacket, so I can't do western CS unless they take a civilian sack coat, and I don't have a commutation jacket, though I could modify my RD II with some black wool tape. I'm comfortable with my overall impression, largely because I've got a wide variety of items purchased during that first blush of excitement after coming over to the Dark Side.

Yet there are plenty of guys out there who are looking for alternatives, and the goal should be to encourage them with "vanilla" guiding impressions and guidelines that are, as you said in another post, clear, precise and not requiring anything they can't use at the next CPH event and the one after that. The fruit of that wisdom will be events that actually look like portions of real CW battles, that allow us to implement the brigade formations we study in the off-season, and which more closely replicate the history we profess to preserve, interpret and experience.

flattop32355
08-09-2006, 03:37 PM
"reluctantly accepted" means exactly that. It is recognition that sometimes it is just not possible for folks to get the perfect gear no matter how much they'd like to....It doesn't mean people are going to frown at you or point at the gear for the entire event.

When I see "reluctantly accepted", I tend to conjure up a more negative idea than if it said, simply, "allowed". The former indicates to me, "The item in question is wrong, but if it's all ya got, well then, I guess we'll let you come anyway". The latter leans (to me, anyway) more towards "What you have works, but there are other/better alternatives you might want to consider in the future".

That said, in all probability it is simply a matter of semantics. Each can be taken somewhat differently according to your position; as the one setting the standards, the one who knows he meets (or exceeds) the standards, or one hoping and wondering if he can achieve the standards.

hanktrent
08-09-2006, 03:59 PM
The former indicates to me, "The item in question is wrong, but if it's all ya got, well then, I guess we'll let you come anyway".

But that's a good thing, right? It's like saying, "we really want you to come, and we don't want your gear to stand in the way, so we'll compromise on the gear if you can get it close enough."

If somebody is wanting to take offense at something, they can always do it if they try hard enough.

On a separate issue, what if the historic record indicates about 90 percent wore coat A and 10 percent wore coat B? How do you write that into the guidelines? Seems like saying coat A is preferred and coat B is reluctantly accepted would be one way to do the job, indicating that everyone who can beg, buy or borrow coat A should do so, leaving only the rest in coat B. It avoids some sort of complex lottery where everyone's assigned a coat and some who already own coat A have to purchase coat B and vice versa.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

theknapsack
08-09-2006, 04:10 PM
I know I am going to get shot down for saying this.
In regards to women, I do not understand how they can be allowed, regardless if no one knows or not, if the unit the event or person is portraying is not documented to have a woman soldier (which, BTW, is a VAST majority of units). There were so little women in the ranks compared to the amount of men that seeing a woman in the ranks, whether detectible or undetectible would be extremely rare.
However, if the event is portraying a unit and/or company that had a woman in the ranks, and the woman portraying that woman can be concealed, then it should be fine.

bill watson
08-09-2006, 04:44 PM
"There were so little women in the ranks compared to the amount of men that seeing a woman in the ranks, whether detectible or undetectible would be extremely rare."

You wanna take another whack at that sentence? An undetectable woman seen as a woman?

Phil
08-09-2006, 05:18 PM
"There were so little women in the ranks compared to the amount of men that seeing a woman in the ranks, whether detectible or undetectible would be extremely rare."

You wanna take another whack at that sentence? An undetectable woman seen as a woman?

He is referring to a modern woman reenactor present in the ranks with male reenactors, whether her gender is readily apparent or not.

Phil
08-09-2006, 05:58 PM
What I am arguing against is quite simple:

1.) Overly-elaborate, precious, arcane uniform requirements. When we get to the point where CPH events are attracting 1,000+ rifles on BOTH sides, then we can start looking for SA blouses, zouave hats for LW events, oddball arsenal trousers, etc. I recall one event wanting participants to have mounted trousers. That, to my thinking, is a plan for shooting your event in the foot. It perhaps says something that these precious uniform guidelines seem to be more common for certain Eastern Federal events, but that's grist for another mill.

Once again, it's a suggestion, not a requirement. It's much more helpful for those who are still building their impression, and those like an earlier poster who's adding on to his existing impression to make it more versatile. What do you think is better for a person who needs a Federal kit to ask a vendor? "I need a sack coat for this event. No, I don't know what kind, what's the cheapest?" Or, "I'm going to an event next March, so I need a JT Martin or SA lined blouse."


2.) Looking-down-my-nose-at-you snobbery about kit. As has been pointed out by others, it's tempting to exult in a brand spanking new kit of super-authentic duds and leathers, and to think one has "arrived" at authentic nirvana. Numerous posts here keep talking about "dumbing down" standards, which is just a crock. The fact that you keep raising it seems to prove my point.

I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here. It looks like you're suggesting that I think my kit is cooler than yours. If so, I have no clue where you got that from. What I keep raising is the question of why events should not sacrifice quality for quantity when quality is the goal. I'm not quite sure what your point is, other than perhaps calling me a snob. You've already called me fat, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

What I mean by "dumbing down" standards is that for an event whose impression would best be served by a SA blouse, the guidelines simply state "Federal sack coat" instead of having the first priority be a SA blouse, with the second being a JT Martin blouse, and so forth. Both will not exclude someone from participating for lack of a SA blouse, but the second actually gives suggestions as to what is correct, and does exclude junk. Virtually anything goes in the first set.


Yet there are plenty of guys out there who are looking for alternatives, and the goal should be to encourage them with "vanilla" guiding impressions and guidelines that are, as you said in another post, clear, precise and not requiring anything they can't use at the next CPH event and the one after that. The fruit of that wisdom will be events that actually look like portions of real CW battles, that allow us to implement the brigade formations we study in the off-season, and which more closely replicate the history we profess to preserve, interpret and experience.

The part where I do agree with you at least in part is that events that absolutely require some oddball and expensive piece of gear that will never be used again is quite self-defeating. However, I still do appreciate event guidelines that use detailed and prioritized lists of reusable items that I can check against my existing gear. For those of us with more than one of each piece of gear, they also tell us which piece best fits the event. As mentioned above, it also helps those who are missing what's required in the guidelines to make an educated purchase.

I'm not surprised you're using the "authenticity in numbers" approach, based on the theme of your postings. I do understand that view and its subscribers, but cannot count myself as one in all situations. Most of the time I would rather be in a less heavily attended event where the participants are able to meet high standards, than an event where the organizers lowered the standards to simply allow more people to come.

Doug Cooper
08-09-2006, 06:45 PM
"I can't think of a better example of historically accurate inclusion and flexibility. Whoever that was I give her credit for being able to pull it off especially at an an event like PF."

You nailed my thoughts exactly, Frank, although I think they're talking about a Confederate version. I never got close enough to the Confederates to even see Doug over there, let alone a woman; but the one in the federal ranks apparently came as a great surprise to everyone but her pards. It was, as noted, the historically accurate way to pull it off. I walked past "her" several times during the weekend and never noticed anything.

Bill it was in the registration area on Friday - she was in federal uniform and we noted her presence with a wry smile and went about our business. This sounds funny but it was the back of her neck (hairline) that gave her away.

It's good to be a private and not an organizer.

The girl we caught at Corinth was good too - we grilled her and her Capt for a good 15 minutes in first person at the Provost tent and she stood her ground, kept her head down and acted like a soldier. We made the Capt sign an oath that she was not a woman soldier (note the false enlistment loophole you could drive a wagon through). Everyone was happy.

In both cases there was no big announcement or request for an exception - the gal showed up and soldiered. Just like for real.

Nighthawk
08-09-2006, 07:33 PM
I've seen plenty of very ambitious standards. I thought the standards that were posted for Payne's Farm were extremely well done. That being said, the devil is in the enforcement of the standards. Looking at pictures from the Payne's Farm event, I saw some pretty crappy CS impressions, such as early war jackets. I also spoke with some of the participants who verified this. The point is, the standards can be above reproach, but it is the willingness of the participants to support them that is what makes or breaks the event.

theknapsack
08-09-2006, 07:56 PM
"There were so little women in the ranks compared to the amount of men that seeing a woman in the ranks, whether detectible or undetectible would be extremely rare."

You wanna take another whack at that sentence? An undetectable woman seen as a woman?

Bill,
Sorry for the confusion, it's been a long summer. What I meant to say is that during the time period we portray, seeing a woman in the ranks, whether the person who sees her can tell if she is a woman or not, would have been extremely rare.
Or, the ratio of women to men (three-hundred to roughly three and a half million at the end of the war) in the ranks during the Civil War is so diminutive that representing women in the ranks probably deserves little recognition as a method in which to authentically reenact the Civil War.
Like I said however, if the unit being portrayed had a woman soldier and there is one to perform the role of that woman soldier, then it should be there, rather than not at all.

Pvt Schnapps
08-10-2006, 07:41 AM
Bill,
Sorry for the confusion, it's been a long summer. What I meant to say is that during the time period we portray, seeing a woman in the ranks, whether the person who sees her can tell if she is a woman or not, would have been extremely rare.
Or, the ratio of women to men (three-hundred to roughly three and a half million at the end of the war) in the ranks during the Civil War is so diminutive that representing women in the ranks probably deserves little recognition as a method in which to authentically reenact the Civil War.
Like I said however, if the unit being portrayed had a woman soldier and there is one to perform the role of that woman soldier, then it should be there, rather than not at all.

This is by no means directed at you personally, Mr. Ewing, because I understand the concern raised by women with poor impressions. But I'm more concerned with poor impressions generally, and aspects of the civil war that nearly everyone seems to ignore. Given the latter, I think it's unfair and pointless to ban women with good impressions.

It happened to one woman who tried to register for Payne's Farm. That another woman got through with no harm done to what by all accounts was a splendid event, ought to be seen as a vindication of female campaigners and a profound rebuke to those who would deny them a place at events.

As for the actual war, we can't really say there were only 300 women who served as soldiers. We will, in fact, never know how many women passed as men during the war, because they passed.

It's important to remember that the Regulations not only banned women, but men with vision and hearing problems, those who didn't speak English, and enlistees over 35 (in some states 45). Naturally, people lied in every one of these cases and got in. Medical examinations weren't always thorough, and sometimes didn't happen at all. A man in my home unit recently found at auction a copy of an enlistment paper with a blank medical certification -- there's no evidence the recruit was ever examined.

Soldiers in the civil war also primarily fell into a certain height and weight range. It would greatly simplify the work of historic clothiers today if they didn't have to cater to jumbo-sized reenactors (who are by no means rare among the ranks of the self-proclaimed authentics). From what I've seen, I know at least two female soldiers who look considerably more like an actual male soldier of the 1860's than most of the p/c/h men who portray civil war soldiers.

Some months ago I posted a "defense of distaff soldiers" that went on for three pages on this subject. I guess it disappeared in one of the periodic crashes that have affected this forum. I don't want to inflict the full length on everyone again, so I'll just add to what I've already said that there are a lot more important things to focus on than whether you have a woman alongside you in the ranks.

Here are a few that really concern me:

*Do you know the difference between clothing, camp and garrison equipage, and ordnance? Most soldiers would have, because it makes a big difference on pay day.

*Does your unit keep a duty roster, covering at least guard and fatigue? This would have been a matter of daily concern to the soldier.

*Do you know what a sick book looks like and how it's used?

*Can you at least sign your name in cursive with a dip pen? Even in the Confederate army, three-quarters or more of the soldiers could do at least that.

And that's just the beginning. If I had any reason to believe that the majority of reenactors had even these simple basics down, then I'd find it easier to listen to concerns about female soldiers.

theknapsack
08-10-2006, 01:07 PM
Mr. Schnapps,

I never said ban them, I said document them. True enough, we cannot say how many women did fight during the Civil War, but because we cannot does not allow us to use the excuse "just because we don't know how many fought," or "we don't know if this regiment or company had a woman, but they could have!"
Excuses don't work. If one can't document it, then it shouldn't be there (it's sort of like saying "if they had it they would have used it," but they didn't always have "it.") However, if the woman can pass as a man and play the part of a good soldier, then I probably wouldn't object either way. Just try and prevent it from happening if the regiment or company being portrayed did not have a woman.
That being said, I do agree with you that there is more important things that everyone should know, like what you stated, along with many others. How come , then, do you think reenactors neglect to learn these things?

flattop32355
08-10-2006, 01:34 PM
But that's a good thing, right? It's like saying, "we really want you to come, and we don't want your gear to stand in the way, so we'll compromise on the gear if you can get it close enough."

As I said, it all depends upon how it is meant and how it is received. While it can, indeed, be intended as you state above, that's not always how such things come across to the one reading it.


If somebody is wanting to take offense at something, they can always do it if they try hard enough.

Sometimes it doesn't take that much effort, or being predisposed to taking offense. We just recently had a thread on this forum that required very little effort to take offense; in that particular case, the intent was easy to detect, as was the intended audience. But similar, if less obvious, tensions always exist on these fora, and it can be difficult to tell sometimes when your chain is being pulled or someone has placed you in the crosshairs. It goes much beyond the mainstreamer/cph debates we tend to key on. It's an unfortunate thing, but definitely an existant one.


On a separate issue, what if the historic record indicates about 90 percent wore coat A and 10 percent wore coat B? How do you write that into the guidelines? Seems like saying coat A is preferred and coat B is reluctantly accepted would be one way to do the job, indicating that everyone who can beg, buy or borrow coat A should do so, leaving only the rest in coat B. It avoids some sort of complex lottery where everyone's assigned a coat and some who already own coat A have to purchase coat B and vice versa.

Rather than coat B being reluctantly acceptable, why not say A is preferred and B is acceptable but is limited to X number/percent of participants, first to register get preference on which to wear? After all, both are correct.

This seems different than what we have been discussing: This is between two perfectly acceptable coats in all aspects except frequency of appearance. The main discussion before was about whether two items of differing quality, or two items one of which was not historically available at the time, are equally desired.

Stiggs
08-10-2006, 03:21 PM
"I never said ban them, I said document them."

If I understood Mr. Schnapps' argument, it is that if we're going to insist upon documenting women in the ranks for a specific unit portrayal, we might want first to document that there were old, fat and unknowledgable guys in that same unit. That women with decent impressions, knowledge, and field craft skills aren't as egregious a problem as old fat guys, especially ones who aren't as familiar with the various forms of paper work that Mr. Schnapps believes we all should be.

I'm not saying that I agree with him, I'm just saying.

Rob
08-10-2006, 03:51 PM
Schnapps et al.,

Ha - I use a dip pen with a traveling inkwell every day at work. It keeps me in practice, makes an interesting converation piece, and - best of all - I never, ever, am asked by anyone to loan them a pen.

:D

Pvt_Idaho
08-10-2006, 06:23 PM
Dear All,

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine has a medical exemption for a fellow who tried to enlist in the Union Army but was denied on the basis of his hair loss. Hair loss was believed to indicate ill-balanced humors and a person prone to sickness which was undesirable in the army. This would remove many fine reenactors from doing an enlisted Union impression if this belief was adhered to today in the name of "authenticity". Thank goodness it isn't. The Federals would be completely overrun by the Confederate troops (-;


Regards,

Audrey Scanlan

bill watson
08-10-2006, 06:37 PM
Riley, the only difficulty I foresee is that requiring documentation for something done on the sly seems ... I'm looking for just the right word here, but the only one I can think of is 'disingenuous.' You are requiring proof of a condition that those involved in 186x went to some trouble to keep unprovable.

I'm also hard put to figure out how, if nobody knows there's a woman present, anyone is affected. I dunno; were you at Payne's Farm? If you had been, had a good time, and found out later that there had been a woman in the ranks the whole time, would that diminish your experience? I'm trying to understand this, not argue about it.

Phil
08-10-2006, 07:26 PM
This is by no means directed at you personally, Mr. Ewing, because I understand the concern raised by women with poor impressions. But I'm more concerned with poor impressions generally, and aspects of the civil war that nearly everyone seems to ignore. Given the latter, I think it's unfair and pointless to ban women with good impressions.

Yes! That's the attitude to have! Until everyone is authentic, we might as well let anything go.

This is just another version of the old "until you have dysentery and are shooting real bullets, don't talk to me about authenticity" argument.

If no one can tell she's a woman, then there shouldn't be a problem. Otherwise, it's at least as bad as an old fat man who knows nothing about 1860's army life.

bulletsponge
08-10-2006, 10:42 PM
Yes! That's the attitude to have! Until everyone is authentic, we might as well let anything go.

I believe Schnapp's admonition against finding fault with a particular element is not at all equivalent to carte blanche for general farbiness. Instead, it is more like the biblical quote (Matthew 7.3) "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" In other words, since we all come up short when it comes to true emulation, we should work on those failures before we go out crusading against some pet peeve or another.

theknapsack
08-10-2006, 11:42 PM
Riley, the only difficulty I foresee is that requiring documentation for something done on the sly seems ... I'm looking for just the right word here, but the only one I can think of is 'disingenuous.' You are requiring proof of a condition that those involved in 186x went to some trouble to keep unprovable.

I'm also hard put to figure out how, if nobody knows there's a woman present, anyone is affected. I dunno; were you at Payne's Farm? If you had been, had a good time, and found out later that there had been a woman in the ranks the whole time, would that diminish your experience? I'm trying to understand this, not argue about it.

Good point, Mr. Watson. Seeing all these posts has made me think... perhaps I am too quick to say something that I really don't have much experience with. I must have misread Mr. Schaffner's post then, as well. Well I hope that no one was offended by my words.
If she is undetectible, then so be it. That is all I will say, so I can avoid further mistakes with my own choice of words.


I believe Schnapp's admonition against finding fault with a particular element is not at all equivalent to carte blanche for general farbiness. Instead, it is more like the biblical quote (Matthew 7.3) "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" In other words, since we all come up short when it comes to true emulation, we should work on those failures before we go out crusading against some pet peeve or another.
That's a bully point!

Bill_Cross
08-11-2006, 07:22 PM
What do you think is better for a person who needs a Federal kit to ask a vendor? "I need a sack coat for this event. No, I don't know what kind, what's the cheapest?" Or, "I'm going to an event next March, so I need a JT Martin or SA lined blouse."
I suppose I'm too old and cranky to be a ventriloquist's dummy, so putting words in my mouth isn't going to do. ;-)

There are so many ways that someone can find out what items to purchase, I hardly think that events need to jump into the business. If someone asked me, I would always suggest a JT Martin sack coat first, followed by Deering britches and a Type 1 cap. That's a pretty good general kit. Telling someone to get a Schuylkill arsenal jacket first? It probably doesn't matter.

What I keep raising is the question of why events should not sacrifice quality for quantity when quality is the goal.
My point is simple: clear, general uniform guidelines that avoid excessive detail and complexity are the direction I advocate. It is NOT dumbing anything down to say "a Federal sack coat made in by a reputable vendor or from an authentic pattern with authentically-made fabrics. Ask if unsure."

What I mean by "dumbing down" standards is that for an event whose impression would best be served by a SA blouse, the guidelines simply state "Federal sack coat" instead of having the first priority be a SA blouse, with the second being a JT Martin blouse, and so forth.
As you wish. I would avoid an impression that calls for an SA blouse. I suspect without any evidence that you could find a unit in the battle that had a generic kit.

Most of the time I would rather be in a less heavily attended event where the participants are able to meet high standards, than an event where the organizers lowered the standards to simply allow more people to come.
This is a false issue, one you refuse to let go of, and which indicates you don't understand my thesis at all. If 1,000 Federal reenactors showed up at an event in Sekela, Daley or other vendor sacks, with lids by reputable vendors and leathers to boot, how is that lowering anything? I can only believe that you wish to continue a false distinction here that makes your "small" events superior to events who look to have high standards in many areas (not just gear) without overly-elaborate standards.

TeamsterPhil
08-11-2006, 07:55 PM
I thought we had gotten "beyond the gear" a few years ago.

As much as we argue about gear and standards for the material culture, the true cutting edge of events is in the fieldcraft of the individual soldier and the utilization of properly (or close to properly) sized units. Has anyone noticed that many of the events purported to be the "best" have moved away from the practice of several clusters of four or five guys huddled around a small campfire cooking in a canteen half to fairly well equipped company messes serving the men properly prepared rations? That's a symptom of progress.

Phil Campbell

Phil
08-11-2006, 08:29 PM
I suppose I'm too old and cranky to be a ventriloquist's dummy, so putting words in my mouth isn't going to do. ;-)

And I haven't done so. You quoted the example I gave. Nowhere did I say you had anything to do with it.


There are so many ways that someone can find out what items to purchase, I hardly think that events need to jump into the business.

What I meant was a guideline of what to purchase that would be best for that event.


My point is simple: clear, general uniform guidelines that avoid excessive detail and complexity are the direction I advocate. It is NOT dumbing anything down to say "a Federal sack coat made in by a reputable vendor or from an authentic pattern with authentically-made fabrics. Ask if unsure."

I agree, that would work fine for many events. For others, especially with CS impressions, there are certain time and geographical limits for many or most of the garments. A detailed list would come in handy here. Also, how is a brief list of 4 or so choices so terrible?


This is a false issue, one you refuse to let go of, and which indicates you don't understand my thesis at all. If 1,000 Federal reenactors showed up at an event in Sekela, Daley or other vendor sacks, with lids by reputable vendors and leathers to boot, how is that lowering anything? I can only believe that you wish to continue a false distinction here that makes your "small" events superior to events who look to have high standards in many areas (not just gear) without overly-elaborate standards.

I don't understand how you can falsely claim I put words in your mouth and then proceed to do exactly to me. I stated a theoretical preference. No superiority or inferiority was assigned to either, outside of my own desire of participation. I also never said large numbers automatically lowered authenticity.

Are you sure it's not you who doesn't understand me at all?

Phil
08-11-2006, 08:51 PM
I believe Schnapp's admonition against finding fault with a particular element is not at all equivalent to carte blanche for general farbiness. Instead, it is more like the biblical quote (Matthew 7.3) "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" In other words, since we all come up short when it comes to true emulation, we should work on those failures before we go out crusading against some pet peeve or another.

I am familiar with the scripture, though I disagree with the application here. As I am not too old, and physically fit enough to keep up with the events I attend, and I do fit into the standard issue sizes of clothing. Yes, losing a few pounds wouldn't hurt. Of course, I can do that, but a woman will still be a woman.

The problem is that one person's "pet peeve" is another's cooler, cot, fire grate, etc. If these fit into your events, that's fine, that's what you enjoy and I'm all for that. But, if you're trying to say your event is as close as safety and insurmountable other limitations will allow, then these "pet peeves" as well as women in the ranks who obviously look like women probably shouldn't be there.

Bill_Cross
08-11-2006, 10:54 PM
Are you sure it's not you who doesn't understand me at all?
I guess it's me, you talk about event standards being watered down if simplified, then say that isn't your meaning. This "discussion" makes my head hurt, so I will allow you to make what theoretical distinctions you wish, to take things to a conclusion no one intends (e.g., that there are many other problems even with the most rigorously-equipped "authentics" than we admit to, such as girth and age), and in general draw meanings that are not intended (that I'm somehow willing to sacrafice authenticity for numbers). You don't know my position, have clearly not been to the events I've worked on, and presumably are spending too much time listening to the folks on the OTB, who all profess to know what I stand for and believe I'm some sort of threat to the hobby. ;-)

Phil
08-12-2006, 08:59 AM
No, Bill. I had a problem with oversimplifying the standards to allow for darn near anything, or just too vague. I don't believe I changed my opinion throughout this thread, but you seemed to after initially praising the apparently very vague guidelines of some eastern event. You're right, I don't go to eastern events, they're too far off. And no, I haven't seen you around here, either.

Strawfoot
08-12-2006, 09:29 AM
"until you have dysentery and are shooting real bullets, don't talk to me about authenticity"


That should be framed and put in some mom and pop bar. Phil, what the **** are you doing over here???

tompritchett
08-12-2006, 09:36 AM
Let's let things cool down now as I sense that people seem to be talking past each other, rather than reading carefully what each is saying, and people are starting to get frustrated as a result. This can only feed continued hard feelings and further hamper the exchange of ideas. Thank you.

Strawfoot
08-12-2006, 10:56 AM
Tom,

Please don't slap the cuffs on yet... My post wasn't meant to be spiteful, just having a little laugh.

bulletsponge
08-12-2006, 09:11 PM
But, if you're trying to say your event is as close as safety and insurmountable other limitations will allow, then these "pet peeves" as well as women in the ranks who obviously look like women probably shouldn't be there.

I said no such thing. If you believe your impression is as good as it will get, and have nothing else to add to it, then congratulations. Personally, I am concentrating on improving my own impression to the best of my abilities.

MStuart
08-12-2006, 10:57 PM
I've read this thread as it developed, and a couple of questions come to mind.

Being a "mainstreamer" all my reenacting "career", it seems to me that the c/p/h wing of the hobby has done somewhat of a "180" in the past year or so. I can recall for my first couple of years, the "hardcores" didn't really seem give a hoot in Hades if any number of 'streamers attended their events or not. Sure, there were the "give it a try" invites on this fine forum, but my perception was that "they" were tired of the (then) current state of affairs, and wished to have their own events, far from the mainstream crowd, for them, by them. Thus was born EFUBU, or EBUFU (whichever one is correct).

Now, we seem to be getting threads decrying the attendance of these same events (i.e. this particular thread, and a few others), and, which seem to be inviting the very audience that c/p/h's wanted to get away from back then.

What gives? Is the c/p/h wing of the hobby getting smaller? Or, are c/p/h events getting fewer and farther between? Why, now, the threads touting the ease of the c/p/h events when, a few years back, it was "we don't need no stinkin' streamers"? It could be just a few guys on the board thinking out loud, but hinking out loud sometimes has a basis in fact.

Those are pretty much rhetorical questions, and my perceptions could be dead wrong, but I'll bet there's more than just me who are wondering the same thing/s.

Mark

ewtaylor
08-13-2006, 08:16 AM
I've read this thread as it developed, and a couple of questions come to mind.

Being a "mainstreamer" all my reenacting "career", it seems to me that the c/p/h wing of the hobby has done somewhat of a "180" in the past year or so. I can recall for my first couple of years, the "hardcores" didn't really seem give a hoot in Hades if any number of 'streamers attended their events or not. Sure, there were the "give it a try" invites on this fine forum, but my perception was that "they" were tired of the (then) current state of affairs, and wished to have their own events, far from the mainstream crowd, for them, by them. Thus was born EFUBU, or EBUFU (whichever one is correct).

Now, we seem to be getting threads decrying the attendance of these same events (i.e. this particular thread, and a few others), and, which seem to be inviting the very audience that c/p/h's wanted to get away from back then.

What gives? Is the c/p/h wing of the hobby getting smaller? Or, are c/p/h events getting fewer and farther between? Why, now, the threads touting the ease of the c/p/h events when, a few years back, it was "we don't need no stinkin' streamers"? It could be just a few guys on the board thinking out loud, but hinking out loud sometimes has a basis in fact.

Those are pretty much rhetorical questions, and my perceptions could be dead wrong, but I'll bet there's more than just me who are wondering the same thing/s.

Mark
There are still some events where it is "hardcore only". But with a great deal of streamers getting quality stuff, learning drill, picket/guard duties, etc. they are being encouraged to attend quality events. To me its almost like a recruiting tool. Some will like it and want to attend more such events and some will go back to the "shows". You can't really go by what you "hear" on this forum as its usually the same people posting and arguing on here.
ew taylor

bill watson
08-13-2006, 09:29 AM
"""
it seems to me that the c/p/h wing of the hobby has done somewhat of a "180" in the past year or so. ...What gives? Is the c/p/h wing of the hobby getting smaller? Or, are c/p/h events getting fewer and farther between? Why, now, the threads touting the ease of the c/p/h events when, a few years back, it was "we don't need no stinkin' streamers"? ..... I'll bet there's more than just me who are wondering the same thing/s.
"""
--Mark

It's probably a mistake to think of any arbitrarily labeled group in Civil War reenacting as monolithic, consistent and goal-oriented. There is no "c/p/h" entity as such, merely groups and individuals unhappy about a variety of things in other models of reenacting. This gives them, superficially at least, some common ground around which to stage more satisfactory events. But it turns out "depicting history more accurately" is not necessarily the overriding concern, even among c/p/h folks. The agendas vary, leader popularity varies, circumstances change, and, if you are trying to keep all this tracked just through internet forums, it's difficult sometimes to distinguish between those who can dominate a forum debate and those who can actually get something accomplished in the field or the real world.

There have always been c/p/h guys who want more folks to join them. There have always been c/p/h guys who have not wanted that. There have always been c/p/h guys who tolerate imperfection; there have always been those who are tyrannical and Puritanical in their approach. Who can explain why? Who would want to even try? Fortunately you can pretty much tell how these things shake out in the event regulations. And if it isn't clear, one can always ask around and find out just what has taken place at events put on by folks with a track record. Subject, of course, to the dissonance of those deploying their own disruptive technologies in order to advance their own agendas. :)

MStuart
08-13-2006, 09:36 AM
"""
The agendas vary, leader popularity varies, circumstances change, and, if you are trying to keep all this tracked just through internet forums, it's difficult sometimes to distinguish between those who can dominate a forum debate and those who can actually get something accomplished in the field or the real world.

I should have given more thought to that

Mark

tompritchett
08-13-2006, 09:49 AM
Being a "mainstreamer" all my reenacting "career", it seems to me that the c/p/h wing of the hobby has done somewhat of a "180" in the past year or so. I can recall for my first couple of years, the "hardcores" didn't really seem give a hoot in Hades if any number of 'streamers attended their events or not. Sure, there were the "give it a try" invites on this fine forum, but my perception was that "they" were tired of the (then) current state of affairs, and wished to have their own events, far from the mainstream crowd, for them, by them. Thus was born EFUBU, or EBUFU (whichever one is correct).

And then there are those that now label the cross-over, EBUFU events such as McDowell and Shenandoah 62, as "Mainstream" events.

RJSamp
08-13-2006, 03:01 PM
And then there are those that now label the cross-over, EBUFU events such as McDowell and Shenandoah 62, as "Mainstream" events.

Don't think either of those events qualify as EBUFU Tom....

They're mainstream (or more to the point Progressive) in the sense that they aren't farby.....no Women/family camped on military streets, no coolers stowed away in A tents, no wall tents for privates.

They definitely aren't A140 or Cedar Creek farby.....or PF, I600, RM EBUFU.

bill watson
08-13-2006, 04:20 PM
RJ, McDowell and Shenandoah 62 were events put on by reenactors, for reenactors. That is the essence of events by us, for us. Reenactors are on the point of the spear; reenactors conceived of the event, lined up land and logistics, worked with local historic preservation groups and made it happen. That particular form of branding, EBUFU, has nothing to do with where the event fits on the "we care/don't care this much/that much about getting the history right" scale. The term originated to designate events "we" put on as opposed to the for-profit commercial events that dominated East Coast Civil War reenacting back when the last big Gettysburg and then the Sharpsburg carnival showed that model to be threadbare and unsatisfactory. A lot of folks started yelling "well, you're so smart, do it yourself." And so some did.
And everyone lived happily ever after. No, wait, we didn't get there yet. OK, then, change cultures: "L’shana ha’ba-ah b’Yerushalayim."

RJSamp
08-13-2006, 05:43 PM
I thought that EBUFU events had no spectators.....

PMB1861
08-13-2006, 05:52 PM
"""
The agendas vary, leader popularity varies, circumstances change, and, if you are trying to keep all this tracked just through internet forums, it's difficult sometimes to distinguish between those who can dominate a forum debate and those who can actually get something accomplished in the field or the real world.

Hello all!

This is my first post ever on this forum. However, Bill Watson's words above are the truestest words I have heard in all my time on the internet.

I hope to get to know all of you better over time.

Semper Fidelis,

Pete Berezuk
Pvt, A Co 79th NYV

tompritchett
08-14-2006, 12:18 AM
I thought that EBUFU events had no spectators.....

Sometimes it is possible for spectators to watch portions of an EBUFU event, depending upon the scenario (example - the Cross Keys portion of Shenadoah 62) but, IMHO, the key is that the event is not specifically designed to provide entertainment for paying spectators but is solely designed to provide an experience for the reenacting participants.

RJSamp
08-14-2006, 12:24 AM
Hence the FU of EBUFU.....

McDowell has a sham battle on Saturday......I suppose you can argue that it's not for the spectators....but they're there....it's not historical/authentic, etc and to me that's not EBUFU.

Anyway.....IMHFO EBUFU means no spectators (For Us).....

greyhound37
08-14-2006, 07:24 AM
Did I miss a major shift in the reenacting world. When did McDowell become an EBUFU event? Must be an east of the big scaries thing, dunno.

- Pat Price

Anders
08-14-2006, 08:01 AM
Gents,

Remember this- McDowell is the great grandadddy of EBUFU/Campaigner/Progressive Events. Period. When it was concieved we were still in the HC firper in the IA mode ( Hard core first person in the interprative area) or carpe eventums.

Do we have more, well, hardcore, events today? Yup. But none that can duplicate the success of McD, in attendance or preservation. Dave, Bob and all the 37th Boys have worked hard and long to make McDowell the bedrock of EBUFU events, and have created a solid foundation for such.

As to the spectator portion of EBUFU- It does not matter if there are spectators, but rather that the event is created by progressives with the enjoyment of the participants being the primary goal, rather than grand stand tickets sold.

To me it speaks more to vision than whether or not the participants are isolated from the public. At WOTJ we had public for a very brief period, some folks didn't even realize it, as they were so focussed on the battle, and the same for Shen 62. But both were clearly EBUFU. As were Recons, and there were no plubic at any of them.

Public or no public has nothing to do with it. It has to do with Who and Why.

At least to me.

Pards,

Altecfive
08-14-2006, 08:37 AM
Chris is right, it is like the 140th Franklin. The people who were campaigning, moved out Friday night to the trenches, slept there. Then Saturday morning a couple of battles that flowed into one giant battle lasted from 6 am til almost 12. There was no spectators at this, and the people who were in the stag camp missed some of the morning battle. This was a great time and experience for the re-enactors. We then marched off and had a Battle late in the day on Saturday where spectators watched. Granted it sucked on the march cause we marched on part of a highway and they actually had polived escort us on this part of the march, so that kind of killed the mood. But, I think more and more events should go to a mix. Let most of the event be for the re-enactors, and then allow 1 spectator battle where they are non-intrusive and out of the way or development of the battle. The rest allow for the re-enactors. This could help offset the cost or eliminate it all together the cost to the re-enactors. Also, as much as I love experiencing the event without spectators, without having at least one spectator battle we are going to loose fresh blood. The reason I joined was a couple of guys from my army unit went to Gettysburg and watched the re-enactment. We loved it and decided to join. that was back in 98 and thanks to Bill Magargle and how nice he was to me and welcomed me into the Mifflin Guard I would have never stayed into the Hobby. So, I am all about re-enactor only events, I just think we need to forget that us showing for the public is one of the main ways we get more people in our hobby.

Bill_Cross
08-14-2006, 08:42 AM
Tom,

Please don't slap the cuffs on yet... My post wasn't meant to be spiteful, just having a little laugh.
I consider Mike a friend, have served with him at at least two Eastern events if not mistaken, and consider him to have a fine mind and a balanced outlook. Unlike many Westerners who come on here to complain about Eastern this and that, Mike at least has the bona fides to have a real opinion, since he's been back East.

Which is why I avoid commenting on Western events.... hint, hint.

bill watson
08-14-2006, 09:53 AM
"Anyway.....IMHFO EBUFU means no spectators (For Us)....." RJ


Surprisingly, I guess, it never occurred to me that "for us" means "no spectators." It's my mindset, I guess. "For us" to me means "for our purposes," whatever those might be. As contrasted to the commercial event, organized by a third-party speculator interested in making money. "Our purposes," in my mind, might mean just "our own experience" as apparently many people interpret it to be, but might also mean "to raise preservation money," "to show folks (spectators) accurate history," etc. To me the key point was always that we were serving our own reenacting agenda.

Pvt_Idaho
08-14-2006, 09:55 AM
Courtney Abel wrote "I think more and more events should go to a mix. Let most of the event be for the re-enactors, and then allow 1 spectator battle where they are non-intrusive and out of the way or development of the battle....as much as I love experiencing the event without spectators, without having at least one spectator battle we are going to loose fresh blood. The reason I joined was a couple of guys from my army unit went to Gettysburg and watched the re-enactment. We loved it and decided to join. that was back in 98 and thanks to Bill Magargle and how nice he was to me and welcomed me into the Mifflin Guard I would have never stayed into the Hobby. So, I am all about re-enactor only events, I just think we need to forget that us showing for the public is one of the main ways we get more people in our hobby."

Mr. Abel, I could not agree more. I started reenacting because I was a spectator at CW reenactments. I had the chance to go out in loaner gear at the 140th Cedar Creek with the Signal Corps, Department of West Virginia, and was hooked.

I enjoyed meeting you this past weekend and am looking forward to seeing you at Hope's Campaign. Wishing you a very blessed marriage -- may the honeymoon never end!

"Pvt" Audrey Scanlan

Bill_Cross
08-14-2006, 10:10 AM
I think, once again, we're getting overly precious about definitions of what is or is not an EBUFU event. The term grew out of outrage over events put on by commercial interests, and reflects a desire to see the money raised from CW activities go straight to good causes, and not lining the pockets of those who put on the thing.

Many EBUFU events, including several fine examples of both authenticity and campaigning, included spectator battles. In the case of "Pickett's Mill 2001," the event was mostly in the deep woods of GA north of Atlanta-- except for a short time when the Union forces attacked the CS positions. We could see some taters up on the heights, but the heat and incline of the ground (as well as the racket from rebels with double- and triple-loaded smoothbores) meant few of us were concentrating on anything but the period). Why a spectator battle? Because the event was helping the park.

As to those who want to characterize McDowell as "not-EBUFU," then I'm stumped. The event raises money DIRECTLY for the preservation of Highland Co. Civil War properties. The sham battle on Saturday's has always been because the original ground was 1.) unavailable until 2005; and 2.) still nearly impossible for spectators to get to, as Sittlington Hill is a wicked climb without, to my knowledge, access roads. The sham battle brought in paying customers, which helped raise money for Highland Co. But on Sundays prior to 2005, we had our own event up in Possum Holler. How is that not EBUFU?

The truth is, EBUFU is like most terms, including deconfliction: it gets hijacked by those who want to say "West is best," "hardcore is best," "let's not 'water down' the event by letting mainstreamers come" (even if their kit, attitude and everything is good), etc. The same individuals who want to control the definitions, often never having attended events they put down. The kewl crowd has decided that McDowell is a mainstream event, too, effectively stigmatizing it to anyone looking for alternative events.

If the event is organized and run by "us," then it's EBUFU. And has been pointed out, the lion's share of the work is done by reenactors at events like McDowell, "War on the James," the Recons, "Berkeley 100," "The Advance Guard," "The Immortal 600" (which has spectators AND docents wandering around while we were trying to remain in firper).

Again, I think we're veering off into silliness here. Anyone seen John Cleese on this thread? ;-)

tompritchett
08-14-2006, 11:33 AM
I consider Mike a friend, have served with him at at least two Eastern events if not mistaken, and consider him to have a fine mind and a balanced outlook. Unlike many Westerners who come on here to complain about Eastern this and that, Mike at least has the bona fides to have a real opinion, since he's been back East.

Which is why I avoid commenting on Western events.... hint, hint.

For the record, I had sent Mike a PM telling him that his post had nothing to do with my earlier warning. If you are using the linear mode to view this thread, briefly switch over to either threaded or hybrid views and you will see which set of posts I was actually reacting to.

flattop32355
08-14-2006, 10:01 PM
Don't think either of those events (editor's note: referring to McDowell and Shenandoah 1862) qualify as EBUFU Tom....
They're mainstream (or more to the point Progressive) in the sense that they aren't farby.....no Women/family camped on military streets, no coolers stowed away in A tents, no wall tents for privates.
They definitely aren't A140 or Cedar Creek farby.....or PF, I600, RM EBUFU.

For the sake of some good debate, I'll bite on the obvious next question:

Without passing judgement on any of these events, what, if anything, separates PF, I600, and RM from McDowell and Shen '62? Beyond the lack/presence of spectators, what makes them different?

I've attended both of the latter and none of the former. I'd assume all five were events of good quality. But is there something either tangible or (for lack of a better term) spiritual that is present in the one group and not in the other?

I attended my first "upper level"/Columbia Rifles sponsored/Charles Heath approved event this past weekend; the 2nd Manassas LH. I'm busy sorting out just how I perceived and experienced it compared to other events I've enjoyed that are said to be of a "lesser" nature by some, and I'm curious where and how other folk draw the lines between events.

tompritchett
08-14-2006, 10:33 PM
McDowell has a sham battle on Saturday

I am curious, have you ever attended a McDowell ir is your "sham" comment based upon something that you read or heard?

tompritchett
08-14-2006, 10:41 PM
They're mainstream (or more to the point Progressive) in the sense that they aren't farby.....no Women/family camped on military streets, no coolers stowed away in A tents, no wall tents for privates.

I have not attended a McDowell yet but I was at Shenadoah 62. I am curious about your comment about tents because I never saw a single one with the Confederates I was with. What is your source of information about such military streets and tentage? Also, are you implying that a events that portray battles at which one or more sides actually did tent before the battle, that having military tentage and camps at the reenactment automatically disqualifies the event from being an EBUFU event even though it is historically correct or are you just automatically assuming that because the event is held in the East it must be inferior to similar events held West of the scary old mountains?

Doug Cooper
08-15-2006, 01:47 AM
For the sake of some good debate, I'll bite on the obvious next question:

Without passing judgement on any of these events, what, if anything, separates PF, I600, and RM from McDowell and Shen '62? Beyond the lack/presence of spectators, what makes them different?

I've attended both of the latter and none of the former. I'd assume all five were events of good quality. But is there something either tangible or (for lack of a better term) spiritual that is present in the one group and not in the other?

I attended my first "upper level"/Columbia Rifles sponsored/Charles Heath approved event this past weekend; the 2nd Manassas LH. I'm busy sorting out just how I perceived and experienced it compared to other events I've enjoyed that are said to be of a "lesser" nature by some, and I'm curious where and how other folk draw the lines between events.

Bernard - I would decide now to attend next year's Banks Grand Retreat event in Louisiana March 14-18, 2007. It will be a true example of authentic soldiering - see the thread on the AC.

If you can make it to either Shiloh in April or I600 in early March, that would also be a good. The fidelity to the real deal will be high, just as you saw last weekend, though I600, BGR and Shiloh are very different type events - one an NPS LH, one a 5 day campaign event and the other a garrison (prison) type event. They all share a committment to authenticity by all hands. The difference between these events and the one's you describe is real - but you need to go see for yourself.

Pvt Schnapps
08-15-2006, 07:09 AM
I am curious, have you ever attended a McDowell ir is your "sham" comment based upon something that you read or heard?

I think "sham battle" is an old term for a war game, and not pejorative.

On the other topic, all this discussion about "EBUFU" and what it ideally means reminds me of Rule #93 in Schnapps's "100 Rules of Authentic Reenacting"*:

"There is a subtle, yet distinct line between 'EBUFU' and 'EBU – FU!'”

It is, of course, a line we cross all the time. :)




(*No, I'm not an expert. Just here.)

tompritchett
08-15-2006, 08:24 AM
I think "sham battle" is an old term for a war game, and not pejorative.


Thank you for your answer, but I am very interested in RJ's response since he has been expounding so much on the McDowells and Shenadoah 62 - one of which I am almost certain he did not attend and the other, which others involved with the events' organization have indicated privately via alerts and PMs, he may not have attended.

Bill_Cross
08-15-2006, 09:14 AM
For the sake of some good debate, I'll bite on the obvious next question: Without passing judgement on any of these events, what, if anything, separates PF, I600, and RM from McDowell and Shen '62? Beyond the lack/presence of spectators, what makes them different?
I have attended "The Immortal 600" and McDowell, but not the others. What makes them different?

Not lack of spectators. I600 is held inside Ft. Pulaski. During business hours, spectators are led around by docents in period clothing to explain what's going on. Maintaining firper during those times is not easy, and requires a real committment to the project, something we all shared when I attended in 2002 (?? not sure of the date now). The goal is to remain in first person during this entire event.

McDowell has spectators wandering through the town during the entire weekend, but are most intensively present during the Saturday battle. The event is not intended to be immersive, though some groups do treat it that way. The last two McDowells, I commanded German companies, and we worked very hard to remain in character for the entire weekend, with probably about the same success ratio. But overall McDowell is not intended to be an immersion experience. At this most-recent McDowell, participants were finally able to reenact the battle on the original ground, something that had not been possible in prior years.

While some here would draw a qualitative difference between events, I would say the difference is more one of goals. 90% of those who attended I600 with me several years ago (it also depends on which iteration you attend) were committed to having an intensive experience, and worked hard to maintain their characters, even in the face of flourescent lighting in the johns, a power plant cooling tower and car traffic on a nearby viaduct. I mention those distractions, because McDowell is often pilloried because of things like the Stonewall Grocery in the middle of town, an unfortunate magnet to reenactors weary of salt pork and in search of alcohol (a period urge in many ways). It was a wonderful event for me, though at least one close friend who attended rated it among the lowest he'd attended. I could sit here and list farby circumstances for most of the "hard core" events I've attended, but that would obscure the discussion.

They all share a committment to authenticity by all hands.
This is an example of the kind of elitist thinking that troubles me. I have not seen anyone on the Federal side of McDowell, for example, looking to compromise authenticity; indeed, the long negotiations to open up the original battlefield for last time's Sunday action is only one example of the efforts by the organizers to improve constantly on what's done (was it McDowell 1999 where the Federals were trucked up to Possum Holler?). While the participants of the "elite" events listed certainly are in some cases further along the path to having a more-authentic kit, and are often more experienced with firper and campaigning, I think this kind of "we're kewler than you" stuff just inflames passions unnecessarily. Comparing Banks Grand Retreat even to I600 is misleading in the extreme, unless the goal is to put a stamp of kewl pedigree on certain annointed events. The first is an intensive, moving march event, while the other is inside a fort.

If we're going to grow campaigner numbers, we need to do a better job of articulating what ACTUALLY HAPPENS at our events, and not the smirking, condescending attitude that says "just come, you'll be happy." Banks Retreat will be physically demanding in ways that no garrison event can be (other than sleep deprivation from standing guard with too few Federals was for me at I600). While I applaud the dedication and efforts to improve authenticity of the organizers of ALL cph events, I am utterly disgusted with the continuing efforts of some to imply that "our" events are better. We've seen it plenty on this thread, and it's no wonder that good people are fed up with some so-called "leaders" of the cph wing.

bill watson
08-15-2006, 09:17 AM
... RJ wasn't at Shenandoah 62, but he was lead bugler at McDowell last time out.

We mostly had Sibleys and various haphazard arrangements of canvas at the last McDowell on the federal side, with both wedge tents and shelter halves. Probably the shelter halves are suspect in terms of authenticity, since we're talking spring 1862 and they'd just started to be issued. That was one of those "reluctantly accepted" things, and yes, I suspect a better phrase will shortly come about. It's possible there may even be an explanation of what elements the overall impression should reflect, leaving it to folks own good sense to figure it out. The goal is really to communicate useful information about the event without either projecting or inducing attitude.

The suspect nature of shelter halves was again a problem at Shenandoah 62 -- it's an extension of the campaign that began at McDowell -- and again,the desire to not have them was articulated. So we had almost no canvas and, by invoking the spirit of Patton's chaplain, no rain, during Shenandoah 62. The site of a fairly large group of federals camped around a field without tents was balm to the soul.

One difference between mainstream and these other events is scheduling. Mainstream events have a printed schedule, or the day's timeline is outlined at an officer's meeting. These cph events often operate in real time, with activities announced by bugle call. Thus at Payne's Farm when the bugle sounded, heads were raised and activity resulted, even if folks had to ask exactly what that call was -- I've not been able to convince anyone at work or around the house to announce meals, deadlines, formations or school with the bugle, so some of that stuff has to be relearned every event. I'm sure I'm not alone.

At Shenandoah 62, where quite a few folks were trying out a more rigorous model of event, we had one insightful incident. One company kept asking when things were going to happen and I gave them what I expected the time line to be. Then it changed; we added a formation Sunday for the non-period purpose of extracting more money for historic preservation. And then we'd move out. So we sounded The General, and most companies began packing up; attention and to the colors would follow as soon as we saw the camps squared away. One company continued lolling about, and didn't twig to the fact that something was going on. I finally drifted over to see if a mutiny was under way and found the very competent and very respected officers of that company utterly surprised that anything was expected of them; it wasn't on "the schedule." They weren't used to operating by the bugle and didn't understand that's what we were doing; it wasn't done at most events they attended.
That was a learning experience for me, and, I hope now, for anyone else. It speaks both to expectations and to differences among events.

RJSamp
08-15-2006, 10:02 AM
I am curious, have you ever attended a McDowell ir is your "sham" comment based upon something that you read or heard?

A sham battle is a period, contemporary, authentic, original, documented, in the period books TERM for a blank cartridge firing demonstration of period tactics with opposing sides. There were even a few Snowball fight sham battles during the American Civil War. It's not a reenactment, 'cuz it's not recreating an actual battle. You don't have to attend an event to know whether the battle was attempting to reenact the original or it's simply a make believe/hypothetical/tactical/no basis on historical events shoot 'em up.

I was Bill Watson's Chief Bugler at McDowell 2005. We had a sham battle on Saturday. We had a reenactment battle on Sunday. A superb event, one that I'm looking forward to in 2007. Original ground, out in the boonies, superb ration issue, great reenactors, and the Shenandoah Valley....don't know if if gets any better than that.

RJSamp
08-15-2006, 10:23 AM
I have not attended a McDowell yet but I was at Shenadoah 62. I am curious about your comment about tents because I never saw a single one with the Confederates I was with. What is your source of information about such military streets and tentage? Also, are you implying that a events that portray battles at which one or more sides actually did tent before the battle, that having military tentage and camps at the reenactment automatically disqualifies the event from being an EBUFU event even though it is historically correct or are you just automatically assuming that because the event is held in the East it must be inferior to similar events held West of the scary old mountains?

You don't need to put words in my mouth, am quite capable and have aptly demonstrated that a few thousands times. I attend events in the East, Midwest, and NSA (KY, TN, GA, MS so far) sponsored.

Reenactments that have families and/or women camped on a military street are not mainstream events. They are farb fests. That would be an opinion.

We had tents at The Return of the 2nd Wisconsin May 1999, shelter halves for the entire First Federal Division at the ChickADusty, no tents at Outpost 2000, no tents at Raymond 2001, Recon 2 we had a few shelter halves and rubber blankets (for 10 people), I bring a fly to NSA events where musician's stow there gear and hang out/sleep over in wet weather, Fort Delaware had no tentage and WWII army cots, etc.

I made no judgements about EBUFU versus tentage......have always been a strong advocate of mules pulling supply and ammo wagons, mounted field grade officer's, 99% of reenacting rifleman need to know how to take care of a horse including picking hooves and saddleing them up, 90% need to know how to ride, rifle muskets should be over 90% the same model in a single regiment, officer's must know the bugle calls, if there were no sutlers at the original battle they shouldn't be at the reenactment, and a campaign/authentic campaigner event should involving marching more than a couple of miles or a static camp.

i don't assume nothing about Eastern or Western events.....got burned bad at A140.....still disappointed by the Saturday Night cancellation of Recon 2..... and mounted cavalry doing pistol merry go round charges at the Chick A Dusty and Franklin still bother the heck out of me.

cavman
08-15-2006, 12:48 PM
"99% of reenactor riflemen need to know how to take care of a horse including picking out hooves and saddleing them up"

"90% need to know how to ride"

RJ Samp,

I am curious as to what could possibly have made you come to this conclusion. Surely you are not suggesting that 99% percent of CW soldiers knew these things and that 90% knew how to ride a horse.

Patrick McAllister
Critters

flattop32355
08-15-2006, 02:34 PM
Bernard - I would decide now to attend next year's Banks Grand Retreat event in Louisiana March 14-18, 2007. It will be a true example of authentic soldiering - see the thread on the AC...
...The difference between these events and the one's you describe is real - but you need to go see for yourself.

While I appreciate the advice that I should go to these events and see for myself, it does not progress the discussion on the question posed. Not everyone will be able to go, but all can see and/or enter into the discussion here.

You are an experienced reenactor who has been to any number of different type and level events. You, and those like you, can give an idea of what occurs at these events, the feel of them, the exceptional happenings that take place, that do not occur at the others, to those of us who haven't been there yet.

If those who regularly attend such events have difficulty in verbally describing the added experiences and sensations they encounter at them, it can make those of us who are simply told, "You have to go yourself to see" wonder if there really is any substantial difference to be had. I doubt that I'm alone in such wonderings among the great, unwashed masses of mainstreamer/crossover reenactors.

What it boils down to in the end is, is it worth moving "up" to these more "accurate/authentic" events, with tangible benefits to my reenacting experience, or is it minimal gain for a relatively greater investment. While agreeing that there's no teacher like experience, there's much to be said for hearing the tales of those who have gone on before.

hanktrent
08-15-2006, 04:07 PM
If those who regularly attend such events have difficulty in verbally describing the added experiences and sensations they encounter at them, it can make those of us who are simply told, "You have to go yourself to see" wonder if there really is any substantial difference to be had.

Every one of "those events" results in plenty of AARs on the Authentic Campaigner forum and the OTB. I don't think there's much that can be said in an additional post or two, that can't be discerned from the AARs.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

AZReenactor
08-15-2006, 04:55 PM
What it boils down to in the end is, is it worth moving "up" to these more "accurate/authentic" events, with tangible benefits to my reenacting experience, or is it minimal gain for a relatively greater investment. While agreeing that there's no teacher like experience, there's much to be said for hearing the tales of those who have gone on before.
Bernard,
While I could share a list of reenacting experiences (from a wide variety of types of events) that were meaningful to me personally, the real question boils down to what you hope to get out of your reenacting. The advantages of campaigner reenacting is one of those things where it really only makes a difference to the initiated.

If you have to be convinced that a more authentic reenacting experience is worthwhile and beneficial you probably won't profit from the experience. However, if you are looking for ways to better experience and understand the lives of the soldiers we depict than there is a very real probability that the Campaigner movement will be quite profitable for you.

When I read diaries, letters, and journals I want to understand more fully what the authors actually experienced. When I read an account of soldier life I don't think how lucky I am not to have lived back then but rather how would I respond in similar circumstances? And just as most reenacting is a social activity and better with others so is the pursuit of a more authentic experience.

Well you asked for examples of what is different, here is one.

For years I tried putting the experiences I read about into practice with mixed results. I would go to mainstream and farby events with period rations and try to cook at the same fires where others in the unit were preparing waffles, chili, or Dinty Moore, or whatever else struck their fancy. I tried to nestle my little tin can in amongst their cast Iron and blue speckle ware. Then in the end I tried to enjoy the authentic meal I had prepared while listening to comments on how unappetizing my salt pork and rice was compared to the beans and weenies they were eating or how less appealing was hardtack compared to the Doritos and BBQ chips the ladies of the camp had set out for everyone to enjoy. Folks just couldn't understand how I'd want to "suffer" through period rations when "good" food was readily available.

The experience of campaigning with others who've been issued the same rations and are faced with preparing them from the same meager resources using their own limited mess gear was quite different. Suddenly everyone was in the same boat just as the soldiers were in 1861 trying to figure out what to do with the food handed to them. Instead of hardtack being an unpalatable shingle it becomes a stuff of wonder that can be made into a myriad of wonderful dishes. A simple wild onion or tin of condensed milk becomes an item of great value to be wagered for, fought over, and guarded jealously. The communal experience of eating was totally different. When things go well, the whole mess profits, if the dish fails we share our collective disappointment. Questions of "how can you eat that slop" became questions of how did you make such a tasty dish out of such basic fare. No longer was I sharing meals with folks trying to decide if it was better to leave camp and head for cracker barrel because the ice in their cooler melted and the macaroni salad spoiled, rather I was dining with comrades heartily interested in sharing in the experience of the men we've spent so much time learning about.

bill watson
08-15-2006, 05:42 PM
Surely no one will object, then, if Bernie attempts to empirically list the differences he perceives as he makes the circuit? Because that's what he's saying is lacking. All the AARs in the world don't provide that analytic differentiation between the various types of experiences. And the AARs today are just as prone to subjectivity and spin as the AARs you find in the Official Records. Read them and see if you can tell which side lost the battle. D'oh.

I'll offer one observation: If you didn't go to an event, don't describe it or characterize it. I'm seeing people referring to events with inaccurate characterizations of what took place, and a check with registration lists indicates the person didn't attend. My suspicion is the characterizations are based on stereotypes. That's a human tendency it's tough to curb. And it may very well be that someone opted not to attend an event based on a faulty, stereotyped misperception ahead of time. They don't get to make their error the reality.
I'm personally also suspicious of AARs written by people who trash an event ahead of time, then attend the event, then post affirming their negative assessment. They attended why, exactly? To get forum fodder.

Anders
08-15-2006, 06:04 PM
Brother Bill,

"I'm personally also suspicious of AARs written by people who trash an event ahead of time, then attend the event, then post affirming their negative assessment. They attended why, exactly? To get forum fodder."

The reason folks do this is because the internet forum bantering is their hobby.

Why else would they "waste" a perfectly good weekend?

Pards,

hanktrent
08-15-2006, 06:09 PM
[QUOTE=bill watson]And the AARs today are just as prone to subjectivity and spin as the AARs you find in the Official Records.[quote]

Well, that's the problem with any post or AAR, whether it describes only the event, or compares and contrasts it with others. It's all relative and subjective. Which is why people are suggesting that Bernie attend the events himself to see what they're like.

For example, I agree with Troy that one significant difference is that I'd rather be at an event where people are helping me be more accurate rather than hindering me. But it's all relative, and it also depends on exactly where one happens to be during an event. I've been to some EBUFU events where I've felt more hindered than helped (compared to other EBUFU events), while other participants at the same event have reported they've been more helped than hindered. Maybe they got lucky and were in a different situation. Maybe they're comparing it to different events. Maybe they're just looking at it in a different way.

Overall, though, one can see a pattern emerge from AARs, and one can also look for facts rather than opinions. For example, even though I didn't attend Rich Mountain, from reading the AARs alone, I can be pretty certain that packs were left behind during the event with only some vague hints it was going to happen. That's not typical of mainstream events, but similar challenging history-based surprises are typical of EBUFU events. The point is not what those writing the AARs thought about it, good or bad. The point is, would Bernie (or I, or you) have enjoyed that as a neat surprise, or would we have felt deceived, put at unnecessary risk, etc.?

The answer to that question (and many similar others) is one way for someone like Bernie to decide if he'd like the different focus of EBUFU events, regardless of the positive or negative opinions of those attending.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

flattop32355
08-15-2006, 07:21 PM
...which is not how PF, PM, BGR, etc. compare to events that are considered farby, run-of-the-mill, or otherwise unremarkable, but how they compare to events such as McDowell, Summer of '62, Shenandoah 1862, etc.

Yeah, there are those amongst us who say the two groups don't compare. So tell me how they don't. 'Splain it to me, and to all those others of us who want to hear how it's better "over there". Tell us the difference between very good and really, really good, if that's what we're talking about.

The "farbs" were few and far between, if present at all, at any of the above listed events. The usual, blatant inaccuracies were not present at any of them. In fact, they are actively discouraged by all of them.

The question is not how to compare apples to oranges, but how to compare varieties of apples. Granted, there are those in the hobby who firmly and honestly believe that if it ain't a Winesap (for example), it just isn't worth eating. More power to them, and I hope they are happy and have an endless supply of Winesaps.

But there's a goodly number of folk who also like the taste of Jonathans, and Red Delicious, and Granny Smiths. They are all very tasty, and from time to time, I like them all.

What I'm looking for is reasons from "that end" of the hobby as to why I should only eat Winesaps. What do they offer me that the others don't? If all I eat are Winesaps, am I going to burn out on them in a few years and to try WW2's version of the banana?

To be honest, just saying "You have to try it for yourself" doesn't mean much to a lot of people if you can't even say why it means so much. The difference can't be that well hidden as to defy discription.

We have some very articulate folk in the c/p/h wing of the hobby. So I challenge you: Articulate....

Phil
08-15-2006, 09:15 PM
Bernard,

Think of your apple analogy again. No one can tell you which kind you prefer. Doug's handing you a Gala, and letting you know that a lot of people like them, and there's a good chance you will, too. It's not a guarantee, and no one can really explain why you should like it more than a Red Delicious without stating that their personal preferences and those of others lean the same way.

There appears to be some confusion over why some events are labeled as "better" or "higher quality" than others. I believe this is partly based on the poster's opinion, and partly in plain truth. Not every reenactor has the same goals and expectations. For some, sleeping on the ground in cold weather in the rain is too miserable to enjoy. So, an event where this is the experience would not be a "good" one to them. For another reenactor, the miserable experience is much preferred to sleeping next to row after row of tents at a reenactment of a battle where the army portrayed did not have tentage. To him, the greater historical accuracy outweighs the comfort factor, and considers the event "good".

The truthful part of the labels comes from the fact that more is expected of participants at the events that are being called "good", "better" or "high quality." As Joe Smotherman is fond of saying, "I can campaign at your mainstream event, but you can't mainstream at my campaign event." In these cases, the quality terminology refers to the fact that the event gives the participants an experience closer to historical fact than others. For some, historical accuracy is not as important as being with their friends, sleeping in a tent, having their family nearby, etc. There is nothing at all wrong with this. Some people like golf, some like poker, others have completely different hobbies altogether. There is nothing wrong with any of these preferences.

It also appears there is some confusion about the term EBUFU. I had always understood it referred to events that the CPH crowd held for its own members and had nothing to do with spectators or professional event planners.

To address some earlier posts: No, I am not stopped improving my impression as I do not find it perfect. I never said I did. What I said was that I can improve my impression, but a woman will always be a woman. I also believe I said that if a woman can pass as a man the entire event, she shouldn't have a problem, so this is a non-issue. I like Mike as well, or at least I used to, until I saw that Bill Cross likes Mike. If this is indeed true, then I can no longer like Mike because Bill does.

flattop32355
08-15-2006, 10:10 PM
Bernard,
Think of your apple analogy again. No one can tell you which kind you prefer. Doug's handing you a Gala, and letting you know that a lot of people like them, and there's a good chance you will, too. It's not a guarantee, and no one can really explain why you should like it more than a Red Delicious without stating that their personal preferences and those of others lean the same way.

True enough, but he CAN discribe to me how the texture differs, whether it is softer or crisper or fleshier or sweeter/more sour, from the ones I'm used to. And that is what I seek to hear spoken.

We're not here to convince others to change preferences on what we like or dislike. But we can discuss the differences and perceptions among good to "quality" events, and how a given individual views them, and what exactly it is that would make someone give thought to giving it a shot.

That's one of the reasons why I chose to go to the Manassas LH (much against my wife's wishes). There were a number of questions I wanted answered, or at least to get hints at the answers.

To list just a few: Could I personally cut it, set amongst a group of known campaigners? Would I somehow be transported into Reenactor Nirvana? Would I see or do things I'd never seen or done before? Would I stand out like a sore thumb? Do these people know something I don't? Will I see things done that I don't think should be done at such a lofty event? Are Charles Heath and Kevin O'Beirne real people, or just figments of reenactor imagination? Many, many more questions....

I'm still mulling over the experience and what effects it may have on me in the future as a reenactor. I learned some things. But it was only one such event; do I need to do others of similar ilk to get a more broad based perspective? Lots to think about...

Phil
08-15-2006, 11:58 PM
As for your questions, there seems to be a theme of apprehension on how you'd be received. Do not let this bother you. Everyone who attends CPH events had a first time out. Unless you completely refuse to comply with the event rules and guidelines, no one should have a problem with you or anything you do.

Will you experience a reenactor state of nirvana? Maybe, maybe not. That depends on the event and what you bring to it, as well as the people around you. I don't know your past experiences, so I don't know if you'll see stuff you haven't seen before. Will you see things that don't meet your expectations? Probably, it still happens, even in "good" events.

ley74
08-16-2006, 03:02 AM
Hello, my name is Ley and I was a farby/mainstream reenactor for seven years. These years were spent in one of the large reenacting umbrella groups in the east, exclusively as a Confederate.

When I entered the hobby in January 1998, our schedule was New Market, Gettysburg, Cedar Creek, mixed in with some smaller events. In my polyester/wool uniform I thought I was hot stuff. Bought my stuff where I was directed by unit leadership. My initial kit, and the later replacement of this first kit, has been to date the most expensive part of this hobby.

Over the next three years I settled into attending mostly the same old events. The politics became outlandish, when our Captain at the time (you know who you are) was called to be on the General's Staff more frequently. Long story short, it was a cluster.

In the interim, a small group of us formed a mess and attempted to become more authentic. We would take only what was on our backs into events. We also tried innovation in the camp life through shedding of tents and researched unit quartermaster records to upgrade out kits. While our old unit nearly encouraged us to pursue becoming "progressive", it seemed to threaten some in the company and regimental leadership.

We wanted to try more challenging events, maintain a more military demeanor and drill. Every event seemed exactly like the last. Acres of tentage at battles, lots of drunks, and a schedule for the weekend based upon the sponsors making money by pleasing the spectators and, no ability to recognize historical content in what we were doing.

The beginning of the end started in May 2001 at McDowell. Our mess encouraged some members of our unit to give this event a try. We had a great time. It became our bi-annual respite in the sea of canvas.

In 2005, one of our messmates attended the Reoccupation of Ft. Sumter. They came back to Virginia emphatically stating that the "hardcore" guys were encouraging and friendly.

In October we all attended Payne's Farm. It was over. Our mess mates quit, left or were kicked out of our mainstream unit. Since then, we have fallen in with the Columbia Rifles and Potomac Legion. We are not members yet but, we pull our weight and have great attitudes because we love what we are doing.

A few points:

We were all ready to leave the hobby in 2004. Mainstreamers were tired of us and we were surely tired of their attitudes regarding how we wanted our hobby to work. Some of the names we have been called, for failing to be lemmings, has been pretty tough. I have never been treated poorly at an event with the Columbia Rifles. Much to the contrary, they give sound advice, help you along and provide many opportunities to grow. Remember I stated we are not members.

Each event we have attended has been very different. Reocc, Paynes Farm,Winter of '64, Camp of Instruction, Rich Mountain and Second Bull Run LH. The amount of planning and detail that goes into these events is way beyond the typical mainstream event. At PF and RM, the events were in near real-time, ration issues were part of the event and the books were open. W'64 was taxing and is planned to go four days in '08. The lesson is, if you did not attend these events, AARs hold little relevance. You just will not get it, sorry.

Rank inflation and/or whoring are other mainstream issues I do not see in the CR. Kevin O'Beirne, Dave Greives, Nic Ellis, Dave Townsend all flop back and forth as privates, NCOs and field officers. In our old umbrella unit this would constitute heresy. Only the current Captain would take a step down if needed. Most try to obtain or hold onto those stripes, stars and gold braid as if it truly gives them meaning in life. It is really sad.

Small details are another general difference. In seven years of mainstream reenacting I had guard duty once, for 30 minutes. Our relief was late by 30 minutes and the entire thing was embarrassing since no one had been drilled on the proper method to mount a guard. At our recent events, NCOs assign fatigue and guard duty, tracking the work as well as the men who performed it. We are also given the opportunity to research and read about not only the battle, but the tactics employed, the thought process behind the posturing and the men that carried out the orders.

We have had opportunities to add quality federal impressions to our closet at little cost through the purchase of used high end equipment. You are encouraged to research the material culture and build a kit that has flexibility of impression. Are you required to do this all at once? Nope. Make the effort, borrow needed gear and return it in excellent shape.

All this being said, not one spec of the above may make a kumquat of difference to your reenacting experience. Ultimately you are responsible for that. My personal experience has been that reenacting with a history heavy group is infinitely more rewarding than sitting around drinking, looking at gal troop tattoos (or other items) coming home feeling like I just attended a weekend of wool wearing shoot-em-up.

The “cost verses reward” between the two hobbies has very little to do with the money spent on kit. The real cost is allowing yourself to suspend disbelief in order to dig deeper into the experience of a common soldier, experiencing what they felt. Some call this suffering. I call this living the life.

You have had a taste and now it is up to you. No one is going to beg you or promise you rank to do high quality events. One thing I have learned is if you do not want to be here, we do not want you to show up. Attitude is 110% of what this is all about.

As Grumpy would say, other’s mileage may vary.

tompritchett
08-16-2006, 05:49 AM
You don't need to put words in my mouth, am quite capable and have aptly demonstrated that a few thousands times. I attend events in the East, Midwest, and NSA (KY, TN, GA, MS so far) sponsored.

Reenactments that have families and/or women camped on a military street are not mainstream events. They are farb fests. That would be an opinion.

We had tents at The Return of the 2nd Wisconsin May 1999, shelter halves for the entire First Federal Division at the ChickADusty, no tents at Outpost 2000, no tents at Raymond 2001, Recon 2 we had a few shelter halves and rubber blankets (for 10 people), I bring a fly to NSA events where musician's stow there gear and hang out/sleep over in wet weather, Fort Delaware had no tentage and WWII army cots, etc.

I made no judgements about EBUFU versus tentage......have always been a strong advocate of mules pulling supply and ammo wagons, mounted field grade officer's, 99% of reenacting rifleman need to know how to take care of a horse including picking hooves and saddleing them up, 90% need to know how to ride, rifle muskets should be over 90% the same model in a single regiment, officer's must know the bugle calls, if there were no sutlers at the original battle they shouldn't be at the reenactment, and a campaign/authentic campaigner event should involving marching more than a couple of miles or a static camp.

i don't assume nothing about Eastern or Western events.....got burned bad at A140.....still disappointed by the Saturday Night cancellation of Recon 2..... and mounted cavalry doing pistol merry go round charges at the Chick A Dusty and Franklin still bother the heck out of me.
__________________
RJ Samp

And going back to the original issue, you stated that Shenadoah 62 was not a EBUFU event and then you cited tents and military streets. Therefore I asked what was your source about the tents and military streets since I did not see a single tent, except for the sutlers at the registration point, with the main Confederate forces. You never did answer that question.

Rob Weaver
08-16-2006, 06:46 AM
Somewhere earlier, perhaps in another thread, someone recommended a unit schedule different sizes and types of events in its annual schedule to avoid staleness. If you do the same thing every time, even if you enjoy it, it will get stale. I only did large national events for several years. That style has some advantages that space constrains me from enumerating. However, it got old. Then my unit also added small events, more or less campaign-like as the circumstances fell out, to give variety to the experience.
I resonate with the guy who fried up his fatback at a mainstream event, alongside those cookin' up waffles. On the one hand, you just have to develop a selective blindness and not let things you can't effect bother you. Make your repast as yummy as possible and enjoy yourself. OTOH, the "I wouldn't eat that slop" slam is hard to take. Again, ask yourself, "what do I seek to get out of this event?"

Pvt Schnapps
08-16-2006, 06:46 AM
Mr. Schnapps,
...
That being said, I do agree with you that there is more important things that everyone should know, like what you stated, along with many others. How come , then, do you think reenactors neglect to learn these things?

I apologize, Mr. Ewing, that in all the subsequent back and forth I overlooked your question, which is an excellent one.

One of the biggest challenges in the hobby seems to be re-enacting the actual war, rather than enacting a personal fantasy of it. Fantasy enacting occurs across the whole spectrum of the hobby, from lost-causers who will never galvanize, to self-described "campaigners" for whom discomfort is the only true measure of authenticity.

Nobody likes paperwork. Even I don't like paperwork. I love to read about it, but doing it in the field is not my idea of fun. Still, the truth is that every civil war soldier was also a government employee, with well-defined responsibilities for looking after several distinct types of government property.

This should be a huge part of everyone's understanding of their first person background, even if a given event provides no opportunity or call for filling out forms. But bureaucracy isn't cool or heroic and -- as one look at the forms in the Regs or Kautz's Company Clerk will show -- it's not simple, either.

It actually requires some application of time and mental effort to understand how a 19th century army operated, which most of us would rather spend sharing our sage opinions on-line. That's why I think most folks don't study more. Imagining history is easier than learning about it.

I could go on, but yesterday I actually printed out QM General Montgomery Meigs' FY65 annual report (273 pages, including the 117 attachments), and I can't wait to get started...:)

See you in the field!

Pvt Schnapps
08-16-2006, 07:35 AM
...
I'm still mulling over the experience and what effects it may have on me in the future as a reenactor. I learned some things. But it was only one such event; do I need to do others of similar ilk to get a more broad based perspective? Lots to think about...

Bernard, it was good to see you again at Second Bull Run.

I suspect you know the answer to your question. The differences between some of the "right" and "wrong" events are far less than the promoters would have you believe. As I've said elsewhere today, when it comes to labeling events, there's often more high school than history involved. ;)

FWL
08-16-2006, 08:27 AM
To list just a few: Could I personally cut it, set amongst a group of known campaigners? Would I somehow be transported into Reenactor Nirvana? Would I see or do things I'd never seen or done before? Would I stand out like a sore thumb? Do these people know something I don't? Will I see things done that I don't think should be done at such a lofty event? Are Charles Heath and Kevin O'Beirne real people, or just figments of reenactor imagination? Many, many more questions....

I'm still mulling over the experience and what effects it may have on me in the future as a reenactor. I learned some things. But it was only one such event; do I need to do others of similar ilk to get a more broad based perspective? Lots to think about...

Greetings Bernie. Speaking of Manassas did you try the smoked oysters? They affected me. Oh I should be quiet about that lest the other hobby think we're getting soft. That was the best period food (or for that matter any food at any reenactment modern or otherwise). In the words of one participant "oh how we suffered". However that period food display was far from typical in the c/p/h wing.

IMHO I don't spend much time analyzing the differences (or worrying about the labels people put on them) between events like the McDowells, Manassas LH 2006, Shen62, GTW, Summer62, Antietam LH 2003, GettysLH2003, RM, Recon III, ect. I just go and try to have fun and learn something new about history at every event. I find comrades at these events with like minded intentions. If I go to an event and do not learn something new about history or living the life as a soldier in the field, then watch out I won't be back. Also its very important to me that the event is held on original ground or at least in the neighborhood (Boonsboro events). For me Manassas LH 2006 was an 9 on a scale of 10 (I've never given out a 10). As far as history goes I'm already re-reading about the portions of the 2nd Manassas in three separate books. They have new meaning to me. Thats what I do this for.

Hope you enjoyed it.

TheQM
08-16-2006, 08:35 AM
The First Battalion, ANV actively encourages folks to participate in the more authentic events, either as individuals or as members of our "Campaigner Company". I can truly say there aren't many guys in the unit who haven't been to at least one of the more authentic events.

Some of us enjoy a weekend away from the tents, cots, and coolers. (In my case, a weekend away from the big knife!) :) Others pretty much feel the authentic events are an exercise in suffering and want no part of them.

What constitutes the "right" or "wrong" event is purely in the eye of the beholder. The only really important thing to determine is if the event is going to be "right" for you, the participant. Who cares what other's think of your choices? After all, it's your weekend!

If you want to give a CPH event a try, it's easy. As has already been mentioned, if you go with the right attitude, you'll be welcomed with open arms. The CPH'ers only eat each other's young! They treat newcomers with care and consideration.

Bill_Cross
08-16-2006, 10:02 AM
I don't expect this thread will slow down now even at 11 pages unless the Provost locks it and makes us start anew, but....

The discussion has broken down into several sub-topics:

1. My event is better than your event. There are variations ("West is best," "I600 vs. McDowell," etc.), but the gist of it is that events I attend are better than events you attend, even if I never attended your event. This kind of bickering is, as Schnapps pointed out, worthy of a high school lunchroom and not people who claim to be amateur historians. Of course, those of you who don't give a **** about history and are just out having fun, this doesn't apply to you. ;-)

2. What is EBUFU? The term means "events by us, for us," and not "events by us and #### you" (again, thanks, Schnapps). While some of these events have no spectators, most of them do, so let's not get hung up in terminology. The important point is these are events put on by reenactors where authenticity, history and often preservation are more important than numbers, family camping, and certainly making money for capitalist roaders.

3. How can I find out what a campaigner event is like/ are they hard to attend?" This was the thrust of the original question that started the thread, and the answers have not always been clear.

a.)Stating that they're "not like mainstream events" doesn't tell anyone very much.

b.) Saying they involve marching is a gross over-generalization: the only marching we did at I600 was marching the filthy Reb traitors from the parking lot into the stockade.

c.) Saying "try it, and see for yourself" isn't very effective, either. Ask yourself how many new products you'd buy if the justification was "you won't know what it's like until you try it for yourself."

d.) Saying that "until you experience our events, you can't 'get it'' is also baloney. It sets up vague and unrealistic expectations about campaigner events that may not pay off. Standing guard duty for hours in the freezing cold is authentic, but it's also exhausting. If you're looking for that kind of authenticity in your CW experience, then it's marvelous. But it's also quite easy to explain the ways that CPH events differ from mainstream ones without getting religious and gooey.

What concrete things CAN we say about MOST campaigner/progressive events?

a.) They often operate in "real 186X time.: This means that once the event "goes live," there is no more modern talk, you will likely be subject to military requirements (fatigue duty, water duty, ration issue, guard mount), and may move at any time. MOST CPH events don't do very much Friday nights, because the real world often keeps some boys from arriving until after dark. But be prepared to rise and shine Saturday AM and move out.

b.) They have little or no "down time." In order to promote better kit, CPH events will have sutlers present prior to the event going live. After that, the sutlers pack up and leave, knowing they won't get any more business until after the event ends on Sunday. You won't be hanging around the campfire shooting the #### with your pards, either, since you'll either be on the move, standing guard, cooking your rations or sleeping off last night's guard mount.

c.) The officers aren't figureheads. One of the most-shocking experiences I've had in the hobby was at Ft. Delaware some years back when the officers took up most of the morning meeting to figure out what they planned to do for the day. At the CPH events I've helped organize, we usually have email listservers for the attendees and a separate one for officers (Steve "Boomer" Pannier was one of the innovators of this idea). This way, the officers show up Friday PM knowing their roles, knowing what's expected of them, etc.

d.) Let's not forget authentic civilians. Many of the better events I've been to or worked on have authentic civilians, who are often more "hardcore" than the hardest hardcores. They like total immersion experiences, and add an element of realism to events. They sleep on the ground or in period structures, remain in firper the entire weekend, and can either help the troops or make mischief for them.

I'm sure some of our more-articulate members can add some CONCRETE examples of what happens at CPH events. Whether these events are right for you is something each one of us must decide.

Mint Julep
08-17-2006, 12:08 AM
Jeez you guys talk circles around nothing and get nowhere.

The first time I heard anyone say anything close to "Events by us, for us" was Al Gatlin when he was forming the North South Alliance to host events in the western theater. It was a formally organized extension of prior western events that were being run by reenacting groups in reaction to the large eastern events being run by and into the ground by Napoleanic Tactics, Inc. The first of these events was Shiloh in 1987, hosted by the 52nd Tenn, two years prior to the NSA being created at Franklin in 1989. Plain and simple, Al G. did not want to see the Warlicks and LeBouefs of the world get a foothold in the west and realized that reenactors had to organize and seize the initiative.

But before that, there were always events run by reenactors for the benefit of reenactors. I attended many during the late 1970's.

The opposite of EBUFU is any event run by a professional organizer, a town committee looking to expand its Oktoberfest, or an event put together by a historic site that has no reenactor group working with it. And, McDowell does not fit into the EBUFU mold because it is an event that is run by the local historical group, even though some reenactors help them with it.

So now you guys are confusing EBUFU, campaigner and progressive definitions. No wonder no one understands what any of you are talking about!!!

Bill X, in one post, about 3 or 4 pages back, you plainly stated that you were not talking about western events. On the next page or so, you listed several events and one of them was The Advanced Guard. Make up your mind or admit your hypocrisy. And, for future reference, since YOU DID NOT ATTEND THIS EVENT, please refrain from including it in future posts. That is one of those things you harp about: people talking about events they did not attend and had no intention of attending. You don't have a clue what happened at this event.

On the other hand, I have attended the first Burkittsville event and the last McDowell, plus a few other eastern events over the years.

For the record, I haven't used that "West is Best" line in the last 3 years as much as you have in this thread alone. Thanks for the regional pimping. But, as I may point out, you don't hear anyone questioning what types of events are being held in the western theater, do you? Why? Because, we've got a good handle on things here. We know which events are mainstream, which are progressive and which have elements of both. But then, you and Anders don't organize events out here, so there is nothing to muddy the waters. It is only the poor easterners that are confused.

Bernard, don't allow anyone to tell you that cph events have strict deep immersion. I've never seen an event yet that did not have a breakdown at least once an hour. The 2BR event you just attended did not pretend to be such an immersion event, so it is not a good comparison. It was a good event, however, because it was on original ground, it was well-planned and executed, and the participants had the right attitude.

I think you could do the BGR event, if you can handle the physical end of it. You've got the kit and the attitude and skill set. After about a day, the men will stop talking as they march because of exhaustion. The actions will become mechanical by Day 3 and comfortable by Day 4 and then you won't want to leave. Immersion won't be an issue. It is the return to the modern world that will leave you unbalanced.

Anytime you want to attend a western cph event, let me know. We'll get you fixed up.

Frank L., thanks for sharing those oysters with me. Did you know it was me? hahaha

Joe

FWL
08-17-2006, 07:37 AM
Frank L., thanks for sharing those oysters with me. Did you know it was me? hahaha

Joe

Was that you Joe, my you are a sneaky one. Was that a feast or what. The only thing missing were manservants. Glad you made it out here. I'm happy I now have a new battle to analyze. I hope Bernie does not think that was a typical CPH event on the food side of things. Wow. Was that a frenzy at the sutler wagon?

regards

Frank Lilley
Sore Foot Mess

flattop32355
08-17-2006, 09:20 AM
I hope Bernie does not think that was a typical CPH event on the food side of things. Wow. Was that a frenzy at the sutler wagon?
Frank Lilley

I sorta figured that, this being a LH, we probably ate a bit better than the usual. The fact that the salt pork actually had meat associated with it was a tip off.

I didn't try the oysters; they are not high on my list of desired edibles. I do wish I'd have gotten at some of the pie, though.

Trimmings
08-17-2006, 10:22 AM
The fact that the salt pork actually had meat associated with it was a tip off.

Realizing salt pork had a number of different grades, actual salt pork should have meat in it. Where did you buy your salt pork?

Ray Prosten

Pvt Schnapps
08-17-2006, 10:45 AM
Realizing salt pork had a number of different grades, actual salt pork should have meat in it. Where did you buy your salt pork?

Ray Prosten

Uncle Sam give it to us. Man who brought the barrel looked a lot like Erasmus Hopkins, though.

Seriously, the salt pork was mostly meat, with no more fat and gristle than one would expect from a real pig. With dessicated potatoes it made an outstanding hash Sunday morning.

I kept a little from my ration and cooked it up in a stir-fry Tuesday evening. I don't think you actually can buy salt pork of that quality, but if you could my wife would send me to the market for more.

Tom Scoufalos
08-17-2006, 11:54 AM
Realizing salt pork had a number of different grades, actual salt pork should have meat in it. Where did you buy your salt pork?

Ray Prosten

A local discount grocery-store ("PriceRite") sells Hormel salt pork in 3/4 lb portions...fortuitously, the prescribed daily ration. It is packaged rather like lunch meat, and I admit I pick and choose through the available packages to get the ones with the most lean.

I can also get honest-to-goodness salt pork from my local "Giant" grocery-store that I think is from Oscar-Meyer (not sure)...the amount is more variable per package, but again it is packaged such that I can find one with a fairly large amount of lean, sometimes so much so that it is significantly leaner than most modern cuts of bacon. The same store also offers dried salt cod which I avail myself of for both CW and Rev War events, from time to time.

Schnapps- speaking of the merits of salt pork, I recently took a package of the Hormel product with me while modern-camping with my fiancee's family for a weekend in Sea Isle City, NJ (I often try to sharpen my limited fieldcraft and campaign cooking skills while on such trips so as to make less of a Jonah of myself when "event-ing"). I fried it up on my tin plate over the fire with some thinly cut potato, and quite by accident made THE BEST potato chips I, or we, ever had. Probably not an experience necessarily unique to me, but it was funny seeing her family partake with relish what they only minutes formerly had viewed with abject disgust!

hanktrent
08-17-2006, 03:01 PM
Salt pork is extraordinarily easy to make at home. Take any cut of pork, put it in a container, rub it well with pickling salt, pour in some extra pickling salt for good measure, cover it with water, put it in the refrigerator, turn it every few days, and it'll be ready in two or three weeks. There are exact formulas for how much salt if you're worried about not adding enough, but the basic rule is you can't add too much.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

flattop32355
08-17-2006, 05:18 PM
Realizing salt pork had a number of different grades, actual salt pork should have meat in it. Where did you buy your salt pork?
Ray Prosten

Rations were included in the fees for 2nd Manassas LH. It is my understanding that Mr. Heath, et.al., were responsible for making it up. It arrived in medium sized wooden barrels.

It did, indeed have enough salt content to survive three years, as I understand the regs to be, and required copious boiling to rid it of enough salt to not pucker your....well, you get the picture. Once made palatable, it was indeed tasty, and served us well in a variety of dishes or eaten alone.

Even before the sutler wagon arrived with its cornucopia of delicacies, we would not have starved. The only item I added to the mix all weekend was some rice.

Mint Julep
08-17-2006, 07:01 PM
The stuff Hormel sells is closer to what we call "fatback" and is used for seasoning beans. I don't know about the Oscar Meyer version, but I'm betting it is the same thing. I think they market it as "salt pork" because "fatback" carries negative connotations. In fact, the local market here sells a locally produced version that is labeled "seasoning pork".

This post would be a diversion from the topic, if it didn't carry the common theme of mis-labeling and package advertising and truth-in-advertising.

JS

Bill_Cross
08-18-2006, 09:02 AM
Bill X, in one post, about 3 or 4 pages back, you plainly stated that you were not talking about western events. On the next page or so, you listed several events and one of them was The Advanced Guard. Make up your mind or admit your hypocrisy.
Joe, I listed TAG as an example of EBUFU, nothing more.

That is one of those things you harp about: people talking about events they did not attend and had no intention of attending. You don't have a clue what happened at this event.
And I never said I did. Never said anything about whether it's a good event or bad, simply that it's EBUFU. You were one of the organizers, so unless you have something to confess, Joe....


For the record, I haven't used that "West is Best" line in the last 3 years as much as you have in this thread alone.
No, and no one said you did. But several others have, including Pat Price on this thread.

But, as I may point out, you don't hear anyone questioning what types of events are being held in the western theater, do you? Why? Because, we've got a good handle on things here. We know which events are mainstream, which are progressive and which have elements of both. But then, you and Anders don't organize events out here, so there is nothing to muddy the waters. It is only the poor easterners that are confused.
You make my case for me, counselor. You Western boys found the cure for cancer, too, I hear....

Bernard, I think you could do the BGR event, if you can handle the physical end of it. You've got the kit and the attitude and skill set. After about a day, the men will stop talking as they march because of exhaustion. The actions will become mechanical by Day 3 and comfortable by Day 4 and then you won't want to leave. Immersion won't be an issue. It is the return to the modern world that will leave you unbalanced.
Joe, once you get past rabel-rousing, you have a solid mind that's good with details. This is a spot-on observation, one that I wish I'd made myself. Many is the time when returning home from an immersion event my wife has yelled at me for being difficult and distracted. Re-integrating into the modern world IS hard after spending 36+ hours even in the 19th Century.

Of course, she yells at me for other things, but that's another story. ;-)

tompritchett
08-18-2006, 02:50 PM
This post would be a diversion from the topic, if it didn't carry the common theme of mis-labeling and package advertising and truth-in-advertising.

Meow!! :)

MStuart
08-18-2006, 03:25 PM
Could this be the return of "Pogue Mahone"?

Mark

Bill_Cross
08-18-2006, 03:27 PM
Could this be the return of "Pogue Mahone"?
We can only hope, as this forum hasn't had a good food fight in some time.

Mint Julep
08-18-2006, 06:42 PM
Mark,

Same guy, just thought I'd use something different this time. There are people in this hobby who do not know my real name, but know PM.

MJ actually has historical precedence for a nom de plume. Capt. Todd Carter of the 20th Tenn. Inf. used the name to pen articles, sometimes critical of the command of the Army of Tenn., for the Chattanooga Daily Rebel newspaper. For those of you unfamiliar with Carter's name, think: Franklin: Carter House. Todd was a Carter son, had already received a discharge from the CS army, but travelled with it (serving as a volunteer aide de camp) as they invaded Middle Tennessee and found himself barred from his home by the Federal army. He received multiple wounds leading a charge of the 20th TN on a US position located in his family's garden behind the house. He was found on the field by the family and carried into the same room he was born in and laid in the bed he was born in, to die the next day. As many times as I've told that, read it, heard it, my eyes still well up when I think of it.

Bill, if you want an internet argument, join the OTB. We disagree with each other just for the fun of it. Somebody has to bet on the other horse to make the race interesting. Of course, Bill, you wouldn't last but a few minutes over there. We generally dogpile guys like you.

OTBer's reading this forum are right now laughing out loud, some snorting a drink thru their nose, others just snorting. Heef probably laughed so hard he ripped one off.

JS

TeamsterPhil
08-18-2006, 08:06 PM
Between this thread, the threads about the Chris #1 and Chris #2 on the OTB I get my daily dose of laughter.

http://p221.ezboard.com/bofftopicboys

The OTB accepts ALL applicants. We have very few rules - the prime one being you must make a couple or three posts before you have unlimited viewing priveleges.

Phil Campbell
OTB Mod Squad

Frenchie
08-18-2006, 09:19 PM
The secret to the OTB is to not take yourself, or anyone else, or anything else, seriously. It has all the subtle dynamics and profound intellectuality of a kindergarten recess. :p

Bill_Cross
08-19-2006, 12:21 PM
Bill, if you want an internet argument, join the OTB. We disagree with each other just for the fun of it. Somebody has to bet on the other horse to make the race interesting. Of course, Bill, you wouldn't last but a few minutes over there. We generally dogpile guys like you.
If I wanted an argument, Joe, I'd ask for one.

You're a smart guy, we just see things differently. I don't mind that, I just don't like having my words twisted and distorted. There's plenty I legitimately stand for that will trigger objections in some folks-- my recent rant against overly-detailed impression guidelines. Those who feel the need to have a JT Martin AND a Schuylkill Arsenal sack coat were not amused.

As to the OTB, I would rather watch Howard Stern if I wanted 5th grade humor. At least his porn-star guests are better-looking than you guys are. ;-)

Tom Scoufalos
08-19-2006, 05:09 PM
The stuff Hormel sells is closer to what we call "fatback" and is used for seasoning beans. I don't know about the Oscar Meyer version, but I'm betting it is the same thing. I think they market it as "salt pork" because "fatback" carries negative connotations. In fact, the local market here sells a locally produced version that is labeled "seasoning pork".

This post would be a diversion from the topic, if it didn't carry the common theme of mis-labeling and package advertising and truth-in-advertising.

JS

That's probably true enough, altho' I just noticed the other day that what I think is the Oscar Meyer product has separately labelled fatback next to their salt pork that is...well...entirely fat, basically what amounts to the fat and rind with no lean at all, looking for all the world like a chunk of soap. Yuk.

MStuart
08-19-2006, 06:01 PM
That's probably true enough, altho' I just noticed the other day that what I think is the Oscar Meyer product has separately labelled fatback next to their salt pork that is...well...entirely fat, basically what amounts to the fat and rind with no lean at all, looking for all the world like a chunk of soap. Yuk.

Throw some of that sliced into a pot of modern beans with some rice (and maybe a hamhock or two) and you've got yourself a little bit of heaven, though!!!!

Mark

Learned that from a S.C. girl I know

Strawfoot
08-20-2006, 11:27 AM
The secret to the OTB is to not take yourself, or anyone else, or anything else, seriously. It has all the subtle dynamics and profound intellectuality of a kindergarten recess. :p


Actually, the true secret of the OTB is don't feel you need a gimmick, or some crazy take to post there. Some folks think they need to act like a clown, but most do fine just being themselves.

Of course, there are the deviants. Right Anders?

Rob Weaver
08-20-2006, 03:31 PM
I've had the pleasure of finding several of those "Hormel" salt pork packages with a generous amount of lean on them and they do cook up nicely. I've noticed, though, that without a certain amount of fat, you don't get enough grease and it sticks to the pan pretty badly. And you don't have a decent piece of fat to greae your rifle.

Tom Scoufalos
08-21-2006, 06:47 AM
Throw some of that sliced into a pot of modern beans with some rice (and maybe a hamhock or two) and you've got yourself a little bit of heaven, though!!!!

Mark

Learned that from a S.C. girl I know


Yeah, I can believe that; I am kind of a bean afficianado. Kind of surprised my wife-to-be hasn't been driven off by the after effects.

"I've had the pleasure of finding several of those "Hormel" salt pork packages with a generous amount of lean on them and they do cook up nicely. I've noticed, though, that without a certain amount of fat, you don't get enough grease and it sticks to the pan pretty badly. And you don't have a decent piece of fat to greae your rifle."

That's true also; I try and prevent sticking by moving it around a lot but inevitably it does burn and stick. There is a lot more "margin for error" with a lot of fat. Not to mention a lot more grease to fry hard-tack in, another "guilty pleasure" and, as much as my heart probably wants to go on strike over it, a favorite of my campaign larder...

greyhound37
08-21-2006, 08:21 AM
I don't mind that, I just don't like having my words twisted and distorted.

Hmmm.



For the record, I haven't used that "West is Best" line in the last 3 years as much as you have in this thread alone.
No, and no one said you did. But several others have, including Pat Price on this thread.


Did I miss a major shift in the reenacting world. When did McDowell become an EBUFU event? Must be an east of the big scaries thing, dunno.

I see what you mean.

Bill_Cross
08-21-2006, 09:11 AM
Originally Posted by greyhound37
Did I miss a major shift in the reenacting world. When did McDowell become an EBUFU event? Must be an east of the big scaries thing, dunno.
And I did ask you if you'd ever attended McDowell, and your answer was????

McDowell is put on by reenactors with the help of the Highland County Historical Society. The HCHS provides the infrastructure, while Dave Pridgeon, Bob Denton and others whose names I don't recall do the organizing. Sounds quite like the structure of the recent RM from what I understand, but maybe I'm missing something. Perhaps someone could pop over to the OTB forum and download the latest interpretation of my meaning? ;-)

Someone behind the scenes provided me with some interesting information that I pass along so that those who are unencumbered by their own personal prejudices can judge. As I have said before, I was not at Rich Mountain (though registered and asked to be a minor officer) because of a personal conflict.

"Here's the Rich Mountain website. http://www.richmountain.org/index.htm
Here's the McDowell website. http://www.battleofmcdowell.org/general/gwhullhouse.html
Both have reenactments. McDowell's is sponsored by the Highland County Histoprical Association. Rich Mountain's is sponsored by the Rich Mountain Battlefield Foundation. Neither are "owned" by reenactors. Both intimately involve reenactors. Rich Mountain has a string of mainstream local events stretching back a few years. McDowell has been basically owned by the cph wing since 1997 when Bob Denton and Dave Pridgeon approached the HCHA and asked for management rights for the event."

My source goes on to say that much of the animosity towards McDowell has nothing to do with the event, but the personalities of those in the hobby who he says "have been able to recruit a bunch of followers with no independent information sources and no independent thought skills to pile on to McDowell and at the same time to lift up Rich Mountain. Otherwise, they are exactly the same, except...McDowell is bigger and has been around longer and doesn't include 'the right crowd.'"

BobWerner
08-21-2006, 10:09 AM
Yep, after reading this thread, I can't for the life of me understand why anyone wouldn't want to rush right out and make every effort to attend a campaigner event :-)

Here's your sign.

Bill_Cross
08-21-2006, 10:21 AM
Yep, after reading this thread, I can't for the life of me understand why anyone wouldn't want to rush right out and make every effort to attend a campaigner event :-) Here's your sign.
I'm a big Bill Engvall fan. Thanks, we needed that. ;-) Ouch.

It's a shame, too, because campaigner EVENTS are loads of fun, and most attendees come home happy, tired and satisfied.

It's just a small faction of Internet boo birds who end up spotting the cars in the parking lot afterward. Lots of speculation on the psycho-social profile for this type of person, but I won't bore you with the symptoms.

BobWerner
08-21-2006, 10:48 AM
I'm a big Bill Engvall fan. Thanks, we needed that. ;-) Ouch.

My pleasure, Bill :-) Any time.


. . .because campaigner EVENTS are loads of fun, and most attendees come home happy, tired and satisfied.

Ahhh, now you've got it, by Jove!!!

Perhaps one of you management/marketing/sales types would care to post a Features + Benefits accounting of campaigner events and perhaps include some of the typical standards and definitions that would help the uninitiated to better understand what REALLY constitutes a "campaigner" event. A good many of the mainstream reenactors are being lead to the wrong impressions by folks in various camps who can't seem to approach a topic without trashing someone or something or without thumping their own chests. That sort of garbage is getting real old and we see enough of it on the nightly news. How about a different approach? Huh? Please?

I have no doubt that if more folks would make a half-decent effort to actually communicate, "campaigner" events would prove appealing to a much greater number than is the present case.

Respectfully,

Bill_Cross
08-21-2006, 11:12 AM
Perhaps one of you management/marketing/sales types would care to post a Features + Benefits accounting of campaigner events and perhaps include some of the typical standards and definitions that would help the uninitiated to better understand what REALLY constitutes a "campaigner" event. A good many of the mainstream reenactors are being lead to the wrong impressions by folks in various camps who can't seem to approach a topic without trashing someone or something or without thumping their own chests. That sort of garbage is getting real old and we see enough of it on the nightly news. How about a different approach? Huh? Please?
Well, I work for a marketing firm, so let me try:

1.) What is a campaigner event? A campaigner event attempts to portray the historical event with a minimum of compromises. Events vary in terms of their historical accuracy based on a variety of factors, including modern development of the site, whether the event is meant to be non-immersion, semi-immersion or total immersion. Some events like McDowell take place in a town that has modern distractions; others like the original Burkittsville or "War on the James" take place in relatively pristine settings with few or no modern distractions. I believe it was Bill Watson who said the evaluation shouldn't be on what is unavoidable, but what can be avoided. Fort Delaware or Fort Pulaski, for example, are both excellent sites for events, but have modern lighting and historical items from later periods.

2.) What is immersion? Why should I care? Can I do it? Immersion means "trying to get back into 186X." At a minimum, it forbids modern talk (about Internet sites, politics, hobby fetishes, "kewl" gear). Many first-time attendees get nervous about this, fearing they won't be able to get into 19th Century time. If you can just keep your mouth shut about modernisms, you'll do fine. Remember, the goal is to act like Civil War soldiers.

3.) What typically happens at a campaigner event? You live in 19th Century time. Simply put, you'll likely be doing fatigue duty, standing guard, marching and otherwise being busy. Sometimes it means you're up early on the move to find and engage the enemy. At the Immoral 600, it also meant a period game of base ball with a period-correct bat and mushy ball. Attendees typically do not have time to kill, since they are either working, sleeping, preparing food, marching, cleaning their weapons, sleeping, and doing other period tasks. Did I mention sleeping?

4.) What is the value to me of attending a campaigner/progressive event? That depends on you. Those who like to "thump their chest" about "their" event or way of doing things obscure the fact that campaigner/progressive events aren't for everyone. They tend to be more physically-demanding. Not usually excessively so (this isn't "iron man triathlete reenacting"), but if you're used to driving up to your campsite, offloading your gear, and never walking any further than to dress parade and the battle, you'll be in for a bit of a shock. With a few exceptions, you're expected to "hump in" your gear for the weekend. That's liberating for some of us, since it means you go in with just what you need and leave the same way. Others will find fulfillment in "doing it like THEY did." Still others like the prospect of "time travel," of experiencing a simulacrum of life in the 19th Century. And then there's Bill Rodman, who just likes impersonating his Internet moniker "bad private" for the weekend. I'm always glad when Bill the Other is in the ranks with me, as it gives Amos someone else to punish with fatigue duty. ;-)

It is ridiculous the way some people here trumpet THEIR particular campaigner event as some nirvana. I have attended CPH events that were excellent and others that were mediocre. It just depends. And even the mediocre events had their champions and glowing AARs. The key here is to ask yourself what you want from the experience:

-- to test yourself--
-- to experience the 19th Century a little more intensively--
-- to be able to say "I'm a hardcore and you're not--
-- to learn more about the life of the average soldier then--
-- to get away from modern life--
-- to get closer to the way soldiers back then lived-- (minus the unsafe aspects like minie balls and dysentery)

I don't know if that's a start, or not. Maybe some of the others on this thread could step back from their personal agendas and describe what happens at CPH events?

greyhound37
08-21-2006, 12:26 PM
And I did ask you if you'd ever attended McDowell, and your answer was????


Bill,
Sorry - I never saw your original question. I don't frequent the internet forums nearly as much as I used to, and the mulit-threaded discussions tend to distract sometimes. The answer to that question would be no, I have not been to McDowell, though I'm not sure how that's pertinent to whether it's an event by us and for us. Nor does it speak to you putting words in my mouth. I've never attempted to stir up and East vs West controversy and would be surprised if anyone could misinterpret my comments so drastically. Let's just chalk that up to the lack of enough emoticons to accurately display emotion in a textual environment, eh? If there's one thing I've learned in my years of internet usage and reenacting, it sure doesn't measure up to the experiences on the field. I had tons of fun at Ft. Duffield and Ft. Granger so far this year. I'm sure Shaker Village will be a great time too.

I could not compare McDowell to Rich Mountain either. I have not attended an event in either location. All I have to go by is the word of friends who've been there and the endless internet guru's AARs. Most of my chums described McDowell as having some good impressions in the middle of the sea but the overall impression of the event was in terms other than those EBUFU events they'd been to. Perhaps they were incorrect, or just comparing it to a different yardstick?

In answer to the original question, "are campaigner events hard to attend"? No, not at all. Campaigner events usually incorporate the loss of things, rather than the need to go out get more or do more things. While some campaign events may strive for more background work to be done - that varies wildly from event to event and some garrison events far outstrip them.


Bob - not sure why you'd be put off by campaign events. Like I said above, in many ways, they're much easier to attend than other types of events in many aspects. I wish I could take full advantage of them. But, if you've tried them and you're really put off by them, I've got a garrison event I'm working up for next year you might find interesting. Check it out in the Events section.

- Pat Price

Doug Cooper
08-21-2006, 01:10 PM
While I appreciate the advice that I should go to these events and see for myself, it does not progress the discussion on the question posed. Not everyone will be able to go, but all can see and/or enter into the discussion here.

You are an experienced reenactor who has been to any number of different type and level events. You, and those like you, can give an idea of what occurs at these events, the feel of them, the exceptional happenings that take place, that do not occur at the others, to those of us who haven't been there yet.

If those who regularly attend such events have difficulty in verbally describing the added experiences and sensations they encounter at them, it can make those of us who are simply told, "You have to go yourself to see" wonder if there really is any substantial difference to be had. I doubt that I'm alone in such wonderings among the great, unwashed masses of mainstreamer/crossover reenactors.

What it boils down to in the end is, is it worth moving "up" to these more "accurate/authentic" events, with tangible benefits to my reenacting experience, or is it minimal gain for a relatively greater investment. While agreeing that there's no teacher like experience, there's much to be said for hearing the tales of those who have gone on before.

Sorry Bernard, was out of town on vacation...from the internet as well as work. It was wonderful!

I grade events simply on their ability to reduce my experience to one simple word - soldier. Its like the X vs non-X theory. If you want to reach X eliminate anything non-X that you do. The far upper end of events in the hobby (X) are immersion - first person, non-spectator, no 21st century distractions events. You are simply a solder for 1-4 days. Descending from there every event adds non-X items until many of us will no longer attend. The list of non-X items is huge, and most everyone knows what they are, yet they are still part and parcel of most events...all compromising with the historical record.

Pogue's description of BGR is exactly right. At these events first person is not forced, it just is. Nobody stays up all night talking about guns, girls and past events. The troops get into an Army routine that for most of us, is exactly where we want to be for the duration. It is just as easy to do in a place like Ft Pulaski as it is in the woods somewhere. Garrison, Campaign, whatever - the army can be accurately portrayed no matter where you are.

Nobody needs to tell you or anyone else what an authentic event looks like - just imagine the Army (X), with no or as little non-army characteristics (non-X) as possible, and you are there. Just do it - its easy...really.

tompritchett
08-21-2006, 01:55 PM
Bob - not sure why you'd be put off by campaign events.

I believe he already answered your question.


A good many of the mainstream reenactors are being lead to the wrong impressions by folks in various camps who can't seem to approach a topic without trashing someone or something or without thumping their own chests. That sort of garbage is getting real old and we see enough of it on the nightly news. How about a different approach? Huh? Please?

I have no doubt that if more folks would make a half-decent effort to actually communicate, "campaigner" events would prove appealing to a much greater number than is the present case.

If someone does not personally like an individual or his events, then choose not to attend the events he or she is involved with. But, please, lets stop this constant, and almost automatic, trashing of events well before the fact because of those feelings. It does no constructive good and merely continues to fuel hard feelings, to turn potential converts off, and generally to give the hooby as bad a reputation as do our worst farbs.

tompritchett
08-21-2006, 02:00 PM
And then there's Bill Rodman, who just likes impersonating his Internet moniker "bad private" for the weekend.

Just for the record, Bill Rodman also does his "bad private" routine at mainstreamer events when it is just his company and not his battalion attending. It is getting to the point that we all need a score card to know what rank he will be on any given weekend and, sometimes, on each day of the weekend.

FWL
08-21-2006, 03:38 PM
Just for the record, Bill Rodman also does his "bad private" routine at mainstreamer events when it is just his company and not his battalion attending. It is getting to the point that we all need a score card to know what rank he will be on any given weekend and, sometimes, on each day of the weekend.


Not only that but will he be blue or gray, another shifty straggler that bears watching.

Regards

Frank Lilley
Sore Foot Mess

BobWerner
08-21-2006, 03:44 PM
Bob - not sure why you'd be put off by campaign events. Like I said above, in many ways, they're much easier to attend than other types of events in many aspects. I wish I could take full advantage of them. But, if you've tried them and you're really put off by them, I've got a garrison event I'm working up for next year you might find interesting. Check it out in the Events section.

- Pat Price

Pat, I didn't mean to imply that I, personally, was put off. I was trying to make a point about the tone of many of the posts that have been attached to this thread and also elsewhere in the wonderful world of the fora. It's easy enough to see how others could be put off.

Respectfully,

Mint Julep
08-21-2006, 07:18 PM
I still stand by my assertion that the words "campaigner" and "progressive" are being used incorrectly and interchangeably in this thread and it is and will lead to greater confusion for the uninformed, misinformed, uninitiated and otherwise confused non-participant of campaigner and progressive events.

A campaigner event suggests movement from point A to point B. You are on campaign. Moving. Marching. I have attended campaign events in both the mainstream world and the progressive world. In fact, I have attended more mainstream campaigner events than progressive campaigner events. The NSA used to hold tactical type events every other year or so, they held the Raymond event in '98 where both armies moved over the weekend, and both prior incarnations of the Red River events were hosted, organized and attended heavily by the mainstream.

A progressive event can be a campaign event or a static garrison event or a living history at a battlefield. What makes it progressive is the level of organization, the impression guidelines, the enforcement of said guidelines and the execution of the event. At most progressive events, the attitude of the participant is the most important piece of gear requested. The use of the word "progressive" implies forward-thinking and moving ahead in terms of authenticity and research. For those that are not interested in portraying history, but prefer the BBB events, these type of events are of little interest.

There is no sliding scale to measure events, despite claims to the contrary here. It becomes evident to the participant where the emphasis of the organizer is when he attends the event. If there are massive numbers of participants and there is no enforcement of the rules, it is mainstream. The emphasis is on numbers (and usually, indirectly, the rank of the commanding officer). If the organizer insists on quality, enforcing rules that might exclude those that don't put any effort into their impressions whatsoever, over quantity, the numbers are lower, but the event is still quite satisfying to the participant.

I've been to both McD and RM. McDowell is a nice little town with a decent mainstream event. I would return if there wasn't a better event on the schedule that year. Rich Mountain was not designed to be anything like McD. The comparison ends at the webpage. RM was a good event, but unlikely to be repeated. The primary difference I can point to between the two events? McD was put on as entertainment for the public. RM was put on as entertainment for the participant.

Now, before anyone starts pointing fingers or harumphing, let me tell you a little secret. Back in the golden days of the NSA (the 1989-96 period), when all those great events were being put on in Franklin, Murfreesboro and Spring Hill, the organizers always put the participants first. What could we do to attract participants? What could we do to make sure they had a good time at the event? What could we do to make sure they came to the next event based on this event? The last people we took into consideration was the spectators. They got shafted in many ways. They didn't know any better and had a great time anyway.

And, for once, I agree with Bill X. As soon as some people stop promoting their events as "reenacting nirvana", we can all step back and get down to the business of pursuing our hobbies. Being a marketing person, he should be able to appreciate the efforts of many to correct misinformation as quickly as possible so that the consumer (that'd be you, the participant) can make a reasonable decision. I'm a huge advocate of Truth-in-Advertising, especially for events.

But, then, I've been told by more than one person that I am "brutally honest".

JS

flattop32355
08-21-2006, 11:03 PM
The primary difference I can point to between the two events? McD was put on as entertainment for the public. RM was put on as entertainment for the participant.

I'll agree with you in total about RM being dedicated solely to the participants.

However, concerning McDowell, at least in its 2005 incarnation, I'd be inclined to say that it depended upon what part of the event you were talking about.

Surely, the battalion drill and subsequent sham battle on Saturday were designed with a goodly portion of Spectator Satisfaction involved. Not that it was designed solely for them, but it had them in mind.

However, the Sunday battle was solely for the troops involved. Also, the smaller "vignettes" of the weekend, such as our foraging party that got ambushed Saturday afternoon, had nothing to do with spectators. They weren't even in the neighborhood.

If anything, it may show that both spectators and reenactors can be catered to, just not necessarily at the exact same moment, but over the course of an event. Being involved on the reenactor side, I obviously would like to see us get the lion's share of the attention from the event sponsors, especially since many of the spectators will go away happy with anything that looks reasonably well done.

I also like the opportunity to dispense a little knowledge, or at least some interaction, with the public. While not all do it well, and some probably shouldn't even try, for those of us who are well grounded and articulate enough to pull it off, it can be a benefit to both the hobby and the public. And most folks are appreciative when we approach them, rather than standing off expecting them to approach us.

As a side note: I want credit for the "Reenacting Nirvana" thing; Bill Cross just ran with it after I came up with it. ;)

tompritchett
08-22-2006, 06:45 AM
Joe or another long-term reenactor, might I suggest a new thread that redefines the c/p/h, m/f/a terms as they were originally intended. What were once crisp definitions have now blurred and become intermingled probably because newer reenactors have had to guess their meanings from usage rather than seeing the original definitions. I know that has been the case for me and, consequently, I have been one of those who, as you described, have been using the wrong terms to describe events. It would also be a good thread to revisit the definition of EBUFU, another term whose application to events has been debated here. This thread is already too large and convoluted to continue such a discussion here. Besides, I am expecting the Provost to close it any day and ask as to carry on the discussions in new threads.

tompritchett
08-22-2006, 06:47 AM
Bernard, you raised an interesting point that should be pursued in a new thread - how do you label events that change their focus but not standards from one day to the next?

AZReenactor
09-05-2006, 11:04 AM
Nice write up of a campaigner experience.

http://members.aol.com/CoG10thTx/Bummer/bummer.htm