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eben
08-08-2006, 09:46 PM
I'm really interested in joing up with a confederate Cavalry Unit but cannot seem to find one. I live in east central new jersey and I really am hoping to find one in Pa, MD or even possibly northern Virginia to join. Though i have been advised to try and do mounted Cavalry it seems a little too costly and unless the unit can provide the horse and tack I think I should go with dismounted any unit that uses both dismounted and mounted would be a great oppurtunity. In particular i am interested in any 35th Va batln. reenactment unit. I really want to do a good amount of battle reenactments. Is anyone looking for another member?

MStuart
08-08-2006, 10:46 PM
Sent you a message on the ProBoard forum P-M regarding the 35th Va. Battalion.
Also, if you use the Recruiting Office, and view all of the threads (you have to fiddle with the Display Options to view the whole year's worth of threads) you'll find some mounted and dismounted units.

Every unit listed is open to new members.

Mark

RebelCapt
08-10-2006, 09:28 PM
We are looking for dismounted troopers.
Please visit our website for more information

Mstuart commands our dismounted battalion at most events. We work often with the 35th mounted.

pws.cablespeed.com/~2mdcav/home

VaTrooper
08-15-2006, 03:34 PM
Frank,
We were in NY with the 1st this weekend. They are a decent group of guys to deal with. Dougs (Waynes son) the Capt and may be the better man to talk to. Im not at home to check the mail but I'll let you know.

VaTrooper
08-15-2006, 06:20 PM
Ive heard your name in the hobby but I cant say we've met. IMHO you can put a basic main stream cavalryman up against the best looking dismounted person out there and 95 out of 100 people are gonna say the mounted man is the better looking cavalry soldier. And as far as my group goes there are a handful of us with kits good enough for AC events and thoose who dont are working on it.

MStuart
08-15-2006, 06:30 PM
Gents:

Why don't we call this a "draw"......before we get into "My kit is better than yours" and "my dad can beat up your dad".....not to mention just getting p-o'd at each other over something we all like to do, and in our own ways.

Ain't no use in it.......none of us is going to disappear off the planet.

A man wanting info on reenacting has choices to make....his own. The mounted/dismounted debate does little but inflame both sides.

Shall we go back to our regularly scheduled programing?

Mark

RebelCapt
08-21-2006, 09:00 PM
Rather than get into the "how authentic is dismount" debate I'd like to offer this - Mark's unit as well as mine serve right along side mounted troops. My personal goal in our unit is two fold - 1. To try and improve the bad reputation of dismounted reenactors by improving authenticity, and 2. To assist our mounted friends.
I believe no one will argue that cavalry "got off the horse" to fight. The mounted fellas spend a considerable amount of time, money and effort to bring their mounts. Many of those gentlemen (and ladies portraying men) want to ride and display thier fine horsemanship. Sure, many are willing to dismount and demonstrate that portion of the tactics - but for those that don't, they have us. Our stance is every boot I put on the field equals one more butt in the saddle that wishes to stay there.
And - excuse the **** outta me if I'm having a **** good time doing it.

RebelCapt
08-22-2006, 06:07 AM
sorry - did not realize the slightly harsh words I used were a no-no.
I'll use better choices in the future.

Provost
08-23-2006, 09:01 PM
Good idea.

RebelCapt
08-23-2006, 09:06 PM
Great Post.

MDRebCAv
08-24-2006, 01:07 AM
You're welcome, Chris....

But it looks like my post has been deleted--I must have stepped over the line without realizing it. All I was doing was trying to set the record straight...didn't use any harsh words (at least I thought not)...just tried to present the facts.

RebelCapt
08-24-2006, 06:09 AM
the whole thread is missing posts -- they may be weary of the bickering

tompritchett
08-24-2006, 09:10 AM
the whole thread is missing posts -- they may be weary of the bickering

You are correct. That section of the thread was pruned by the Provost after an alert from me. Once Mr. Kutrick got fed up and posted his counter-attack (yes it was merely stating the facts but was an attack because he specifically named the individual whose performance he found to be substandard) it became time to take appropriate steps to rein in the thread.
In fairness though, I do not hold Mr. Kutrick at fault in this but I am now watching more closely the individual who initiated the flame war and continued it even after Mark Stewart's post above to which the Provost responded.

MStuart
08-24-2006, 10:08 AM
You are correct. That section of the thread was pruned by the Provost after an alert from me. Once Mr. Kutrick got fed up and posted his counter-attack (yes it was merely stating the facts but was an attack because he specifically named the individual whose performance he found to be substandard) it became time to take appropriate steps to rein in the thread.
In fairness though, I do not hold Mr. Kutrick at fault in this but I am now watching more closely the individual who initiated the flame war and continued it even after Mark Stewart's post above to which the Provost responded.

Well, there's gonna be even more trouble around here if Tom doesn't stop trying to make me an Englishman by spelling Stuart the wrong way (Stewart) and starts recognizing my royal Scottish heritage!!!!!!!!! :-)

Freedom!!!

Mark Lets get back to the WBS Mess

tompritchett
08-24-2006, 10:45 AM
Sorry about that Mark; I just was not paying attention.

God forbid that I try to turn a honest Scottsman into an dastardly Englishman!!!! :)

MStuart
08-24-2006, 10:51 AM
Sorry about that Mark; I just was not paying attention.

God forbid that I try to turn a honest Scottsman into an dastardly Englishman!!!! :)

Now there's a thread!! Fortunately, not for here.

Mark

MDRebCAv
08-24-2006, 01:59 PM
Tom,

My apologies, Sir. I shall endeavor to watch more closely how I post in the future. I thank you for your statement though about not faulting me.

Hey, I held my tongue for quite awhile though--just ask Mark and Chris how great a feat that is...LOL

BTW...I am a memebr of the Clan Guthrie and we rallied to the Stuart banner at every call.

tompritchett
08-24-2006, 05:27 PM
BTW...I am a memebr of the Clan Guthrie and we rallied to the Stuart banner at every call.

As apparently, you did once again. :)

Scottish Songbird
08-24-2006, 10:40 PM
Did someone mention Scotssman?!?;) If any of you are single, come over and visit us on the singles thread, ok??:p ;)

MDRebCAv
08-26-2006, 08:01 PM
I dunna ken tha' Mark is single...nor am I m'self. Bu' a fine Scottish lass as yourself should hae no tribble wi' the laddies.

Alas, I do ken o' afew laddies bu' they be wearin' the gray, while ya' be singin' for the Yanks. :-)

Dave Myrick
08-27-2006, 09:48 AM
My personal goal in our unit is two fold - 1. To try and improve the bad reputation of dismounted reenactors by improving authenticity, and 2. To assist our mounted friends.


If I may ask, how do you propose to do this? I'm not trying to rekindle a flame war here. I am interested in the intent.
Dave

MStuart
08-28-2006, 08:44 PM
If I may ask, how do you propose to do this? I'm not trying to rekindle a flame war here. I am interested in the intent.
Dave

Dave:

While we wait for Chris to surf back on, and in the interest of keeping this thread going a little, I'll offer my 2 cents (Confederate currency):

I think we'll all agree that dismounted cavalry has gained it's sometimes less than stellar reputation by actions on it's own. Units didn't know (or even, want to) drill. They wanted to yahoo it up and "do their own thing" with little or no supervision because mounted units wanted no part of them, and event organizers didn't, either. There were units where the yellow trim blinded the other side, and they never ran out of ammunition because the vast majority had 2 dozen pistols hidden in almost every body oriface. In short, they were an embarassment to mounted cavalry and reenacting in general. Yahoo's, outlaws, goofs, pick a name and it probably applied. These were the units that many other reenactors saw and despised, because they called attention to themselves by their own actions. It hurts, to this day, some of us that want to do things better.

How can we up the autenticity scale? By looking like the everyday cavalryman, and that pretty much means, look like the everyday soldier. Get rid of the fancy trims, limit to one or no pistols at all, and learn the drills of the day. Poinsett's, Cooke's, Maury's, whichever one the unit you portray used (if it can be found out) needs to be learned. In short, get away from Josey Wales and become PEC (and I hate that term) for lack of a better phrase. The dismounted unit that wishes to up the scale needs to work with, and take orders from, a mounted unit on the field. The dismounted skirmishers need to be a part of the cavalry command and look like they're part of the unit when the battle starts. The only way, I feel, this can be done is by gaining the trust of a mounted unit and showing them that you're not the stereotypical dismounted cavalry unit of the not-too-distant past and that you want to do things the right way.

(As an aside, this can be done relatively easily at a so-called "mainstream" event where the "show" is basically an illusion that the armies have marched to the scene and will do battle in a limited area. Much unlike many "campaigner" events where things are moving, the dismounted unit/s can appear from in front of, or behind, the mounted line and deploy in a skirmish line.)

Can we help mounted units? If we do the above, I think the answer is a no-brainer. We both know, at least in "Mainstream" reenacting, there's lots of guys who just don't want to get off the mount and deploy as a skirmisher, or, numbers would make it look silly. A good skirmish line can provide the illusion that there's more cavalry than there appears to be. A dismounted unit that wishes to be skirmishers, instead of hiding in the bushes and ambushing folks and yahooing it up, can be an asset to an event, IMHO.

Certainly, in the campaigner/hardcore world, where things are highly regulated as far as who and what is portrayed, dismounted cavalrymen with no horses just isn't right. But in the mainstream sense of reenacting, with a static camp and battle/s in a limited, enclosed area, I think we can do one heckuva job. The key phrase is wanting to do it right.

There will still be folks who stereotype every unit and preach "you have to have a mount", but that's the nature of our hobby. The only answer is to do it as right as we can, when we can. Only then can we possibly overcome some of the past hurdles.

Gotta go to work now

Mark

Dave Myrick
08-28-2006, 09:09 PM
Mark,
You made some good points. Someone once said that for the typical mainstreamer, 5 minutes next to a trash can would do wonders for the impression. One of the keys is to research. Actually read the manuals, period letters, regimental histories etc and learn. Learn what was issued and how it was used and take only that to an event. One thing I have found is the Army of the period actually put a lot of thought into the design and construction of the gear they issued to the men. If good gear is had and used correctly, one will find that all of the so called modern improvements are not really that at all.

Knowing drill is good but it is only a start. One has to start to think like a cavalryman. While a dismounted unit certainly could take to the field in a skirmish formation, they will have their hats handed to them if they don't have a firm grasp of tactics and know how the other side is most likely going to react. One thing that most often happens is that dismounted formations tend to act like infantrymen only with different weapons. We all know that this is simply inaccurate.

Any ideas on how to implement any of this?
Dave

MStuart
08-28-2006, 11:11 PM
Any ideas on how to implement any of this?
Dave

Dave:

I see a couple of things that can be done, all of which hinge on a dismounted unit being invited to play with a mounted unit or units. In addition, they've got to camp with the mounted units and do everything in camp that the mounted guys do, just sans horse. A small thing, but as I see it, a big part of being a dismounted cavalryman is camping and being with a mounted unit. And you've got to get them to treat you, as much as they can, as a cavalryman. You'll have to earn that. A dismounted guy has to get to know horses as much as he can, the equipments, care and feeding, etc. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask to ride, either. Even if it's just drill, or an evening, non-battle ride. Knowing how most guys feel about their mounts, that trust and invite has to be earned, too.

Drilling and practice with mounted units is also a good idea and much needed. If you know how they act, and vice versa, on the field, the two units can, with time, begin to act as they would if they were really dismounting to fight afoot alongside those mounted. It can be done on a somewhat small to medium scale (as we've done it the past few years) but it's hardly on a large scale and it is exclusively mainstream. Here, I speak for only my particular unit, and Chris', as we both belong to the same mainstream "umbrella" organization. It certainly beats the heck out of "go out on the flank and do what you do" that we got before.

As you mentioned, equipment is overlooked by lots of units. I've seen so many that go for the "cavalier" look, and it just isn't right. Research of the unit one portrays is vastly overlooked. In fact, research into the look and equipments of the everyday cavalryman is overlooked, IMHO. On either an earlier thread or another forum, is was pretty much surmised that the everyday CS cavalryman looked like the everyday CS infantryman, and I agree. Maybe not a mirror image, but infantry accouterments are sadly under-represented amongst cavalrymen, both mounted and not.

Can we do more? Oh heck yes! One of the things I've griped about (as you know from the Cavalry forum) is that we rarely get invites to the higher level events. Mostly for good reason, i.e. active campaigning and moving events, but almost all of the static "progressive" events are still very wary, or, don't even think about a dismounted skirmish line. The reasons for that could probably fill another whole thread. Another big unanswered question would be just how many dismounted guys would show up if they had they chance to kick it up a notch? That may be a whole 'nother thread.

I'll throw it back on you for just a quick question - What would you look for in a dismounted unit if you had the chance to employ them at an upper level event?

Mark

tompritchett
08-29-2006, 08:27 AM
One thing that most often happens is that dismounted formations tend to act like infantrymen only with different weapons. We all know that this is simply inaccurate.

Again, it depends upon the specific unit being portrayed. There were some cavalry units that were, in reality, mounted infantry units. Forrest had a whole brigade of infantry that he converted into cavalry.

Dave Myrick
08-29-2006, 05:25 PM
Yes Tom, I am aware of that, Wilder had an entire brigade of mounted infantry, but that is not what we are talking about here. Cavalrymen without horses, or event the illusion of horses, using cavalry weapons and infantry tactics is what I was referring to.

Dave, feels like he is tilting at windmills, Myrick

MStuart
08-29-2006, 05:49 PM
Dave, feels like he is tilting at windmills, Myrick

I know what you mean. This "topic" can become flamable at the drop of a hat. The passions tend to run deep on both sides and the threads usually end up with several getting really p-o'd at each other. I've even had the opportunity to go back and forth with Mike Ventura over the years, but we're still friends even though we disagree and will probably until infinity. He knows that I do this particular impression not to yahoo it up, or burn tons of powder, but with the utmost respect, admiration and awe of those men that called themselves cavalrymen. Lest we start to hear a slow version of "Dixie" with that last sermon, I'll get down from the soapbox now.

Friendly discussions and debates over this issue can be very good, letting folks from each "camp" know where the other is coming from. Trouble starts when "friendly" disappears.

I've found that one of the main objections to dismounted cavalry is the mounted men objecting to us calling ourselves "cavalry". And who knows, if I was lucky enough to have myself a mount, I might even be of the same ilk.

Mark

Dave Myrick
08-29-2006, 06:45 PM
Mark and all,
The point I keep trying to get across is this. Cavalry, more so than any other branch of service more of a mind set that has to be learned. How many times has anyone read an account of a cavalry action in which both sides stood firm and simply slugged it out? Not very many. Infantry sure, it happened frequently. Ride in and fight (mounted or dismounted), gain an advantage if possible and exploit it using the speed and mobility afforded by the horses. If no advantage is gained, retire, reform at a safe distance and go at it again. If you are on the loosing side, you use the speed and mobility of the horse to escape, reform and reassess things.
Cavalry are light, highly mobile troops. They are best used to find and fix an enemy until the heavier troops, namely infantry and the artillery show up and take over. The tactics employed by each branch bear this out. The real conundrum occurs when trying to integrate such a thing into a battle scenario which by its nature is a fluid thing. In my estimation it would take a tremendous change in the mind set of reenactors as a whole to accomplish this. I mean you have the guys decked from head to toe in yellow with 37 1/2 pistols, and a carbine with enough ammo for each to supply half the AoP. All they want to do is go in and burn that stuff up. Its what they live for. They have no concept of how a real cavalryman operated. Worse they have no desire to learn and perfectly happy being left alone to burn powder. Thats not counting all of his buddies who think it is just as cool as he does. Modern reenactors fall into the modern infantry trap as I like to call it. We've all seen it portrayed countless times on TV in the movies etc. Most all of us developed a rudimentary understanding of infantry tactics watching war movies and the like. Its what we know. So when we decide to take to reenactment field, we bring that mindset along with us. It gets modified somewhat to fit into the general scheme of the Civil War but its still basically the same. No one does any research on their own, they ask thier buddies and they the info on how it's done and it all fits together for them. So you have a cavalry reenactor who like to stand out by wearing yellow trimmed whatever, carry lots of cool and different weapons, yet still thinks he needs to throw down the covering fire so his pards can out maneuver the enemy. How do you change that mindset? That is what I am after. That is where the change needs to start.
That's not to say however that all mounted cavalry is great and wonderful though. Thats a different topic for a different thread.

Dave
Still Tilting

MStuart
08-29-2006, 10:46 PM
Mark and all,
How do you change that mindset? That is what I am after. That is where the change needs to start.

Dave:

IMHO, that change has to come from within. Much like it happened with authentics everywhere in our hobby. But that can also be seen as a double-negative because there are folks out there that have no use for dismounted cavalry in any form. To some, dismounted cavalry and authentic aren't to be used in the same sentance.

More simplistically, the particular dismounted man has to want to do things right. In order to shed the stereotype, one has to want to......and that means read, research and, possibly, being willing to change and get rid of some equipments. In essence, lose the ostrich plumes and 37 1/2 pistols. As you said, don't listen to others, read for yourself. Be willing to go to an event, and not stand on the field and burn powder the entire battle. Be satisfied that you may get to deploy and fire a few rounds, then beat a hasty retreat. A dismounted unit needs to understand that they'll be doing cavalry skirmishing, with the cavalry, and none of the shoot 'em up goofy stuff that happens way too much. I'll throw in this example of what I think you're talking about: At an event last year, our "battalion" of dismounted men deployed in our skirmish line, facing a unit of Union dismounted troops. There were a few Union mounted men there, but the two units weren't working together in any way. After the battle, we walked back to camp with the Union troops. While talking with their commander I told them about our working with a mounted unit, and how much of a joy it was to be so fortunate, and why doesn't he consider allying himself with mounted cavalry? The response was that they didn't want to do that sort of thing, and, that they were happy being told to "go into the woods and do what you do". This, I believe, is the mindset you're talking about?

I think dismounted cavalry's reputation would increase by leaps an bounds if attitudes like that, along with adjustments in equipage, were changed. Don't look like a clown on the field, and people won't point at you and laugh. And, when they're not laughing, they just might notice that we've got a good skirmish line going.


But.......in mainstream reenacting, there are few rules and guidelines (enforced, anyway) that hold units to any set standards. Units police themselves for the most part with regard to uniforms and equipage in every branch, which is why we see dismounted units looking like Josey Wales and even infantry units with 50 coon privates on their hats. And, while I'm placing blame, event organizers that allow all this stuff are part of the problem, too. This is mainstream reenacting, as you know.

I think it was Bill Watson (if it was someone else, I apologize) who talked about reenactor's "comfort zones", i.e being used to doing things a certain way for so long, one doesn't want to up the authenticity ante (for any number of reasons) by going to a higher level event. These, as you know, are the events that have enforced guidelines and are, truly, a higher level of event (whatever we're calling them these days). I'll take some cheese with my whine here and say that I have never seen any dismounted units be invited or be included in the scenarios for any of them. Thus, no dismounted men have ever had the opportunity to work out of their comfort zone and participate and see just what we're missing. Certainly, the individual unit can do it by themselves at any mainstream event, but why should they when we've been having it pretty good all these years? In essence, none of us have been challenged. Some of us might just like it. But, I fault dismounted cavalry as a whole more than I fault the event organizers for this. As we're discussing, our reputation preceeds us.

How does the mindset get changed? It beats the heck out of me. It can start with the inividual and continue with the unit. After that, it's a crap shoot. I can sit here all day and say I want to go the step further, but unless a goodly number of my brethren want to do it also, it'll still only be me and a few others.

Not sure I answered the question as opposed to espousing my personal philosophy.

Mark

Scottish Songbird
08-30-2006, 12:12 AM
I dunna ken tha' Mark is single...nor am I m'self. Bu' a fine Scottish lass as yourself should hae no tribble wi' the laddies.

Alas, I do ken o' afew laddies bu' they be wearin' the gray, while ya' be singin' for the Yanks. :-)

Aye Mr. Kutrick, that now has been a'remedied as those kindly South Carolina boys have a'taken in this lonely lassie!!!:p So, I now be singin' fer the boys in gray too...so could ye send 'em me way?!?!;)

MDRebCAv
08-30-2006, 11:35 AM
Dave:

I'll throw in this example of what I think you're talking about: At an event last year, our "battalion" of dismounted men deployed in our skirmish line, facing a unit of Union dismounted troops. There were a few Union mounted men there, but the two units weren't working together in any way. After the battle, we walked back to camp with the Union troops. While talking with their commander I told them about our working with a mounted unit, and how much of a joy it was to be so fortunate, and why doesn't he consider allying himself with mounted cavalry? The response was that they didn't want to do that sort of thing, and, that they were happy being told to "go into the woods and do what you do". This, I believe, is the mindset you're talking about?

I think dismounted cavalry's reputation would increase by leaps an bounds if attitudes like that, along with adjustments in equipage, were changed. Don't look like a clown on the field, and people won't point at you and laugh. And, when they're not laughing, they just might notice that we've got a good skirmish line going.

Mark

Right on , Mark.

We have taken it another step, we actually have our unit divided into Company A which is our dismounted company, and Company E which is mounted. We drill together and work out scenarios using both to advantage...not to forget also having a battery of howitzers as Battery B with which to also coordinate.

It really broadens the impression to be able to do that...and to not burn powder like some do. Dismounted troopers must be ready to (in the words of a modern cavalryman) "get out in front, find the enemy and pick a fight." Then fall back when the infantry arrives...as dismounted we are not intended to slug it out! I personally feel that the cartridge box should contain no more than 20 rounds--that would force a limitation to the duration of a fight and be more authentic.

RebelCapt
08-30-2006, 07:50 PM
Well I got called out by Dave to support my position and in my stead, Mark has done a fabulous job speaking just about word for word what I would have.
The actions he speaks of both in tactics and impression need not be repeated by me. Guess it's why we get along so well out there. However to briefly chime in just for the sight of my own words and to be polite, seen as I was asked -
Tactics: Dave mentioned facing each other and slugging it out like the old yahoos used to do. I can bear witness that is not what we do, niether mark nor I. It is our goal to hit, attack, withdraw to regroup or retreat. We have operated this way on several occasions.
Impression -- It starts at home with the basics - hello? the clothing the cavalry had available was the same the other braches had. I won't even mention yellow. (cept on my dress jacket which is a direct copy of a MD Cav officers) Good acurate civilian hats, one pistol etc etc -- all that mark said.
Powder burners? Heck no. I have been in many an infantry group that teaches load as fast as you can. Ok. That's fine with them.
Was it the method at the time? sure. Does it serve our purposes now? I don't think so. I teach my guys to load and fire effeciently and effectively. Loading and shooting fast accomplishes two things. First in increases the danger factor and second, you are only guaranteed to run out of powder faster than the next guy. So we teach, take your time. Keep it looking good. But 'tators 150 yards away can't see how fast you shoot anyway.
Thanks for filling in for me Mark.

MDRebCAv
08-30-2006, 08:36 PM
Chris...With the quality of Dismounted Cav reenactors in our three units, I think there is a shining light on our horizon.

Looking forward to falling in with you and Mark again at Cedar Creek! You and Mark you are great dismounted commanders!