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garretttcrooks
07-07-2009, 01:16 PM
Would an old wool rug be an authentic ground cloth for my tent?

DamYankee25
07-07-2009, 01:24 PM
Are you talking about a shelter/dog tent? Ask yourself this, would that soldier carry a heavy wool rug? He would carry his gum blanket however, they make perfect ground clothes.

garretttcrooks
07-07-2009, 01:39 PM
well i have a wedge tent that is like 9ft deep... i cant find a gum blanket that big....

Pvt Schnapps
07-07-2009, 01:49 PM
It depends on how authentic you want to be. Butterfield's "Camp and Outpost Duty" notes that General Orders forbid the transport of tent floors.

In 1861 or in garrison you might get away with it, but for most situations portrayed at reenactments, any "tent floor" just wouldn't be right.

I think it also falls into the category of extra stuff that just isn't worth the weight and hassle. Most events that would allow tent floors have straw, which does a better job all round, plus you don't have to take it home and clean and dry it.

If the size of the tent is a determining factor, you could always go with a smaller one.

Spinster
07-07-2009, 01:52 PM
Well, we're talking a full sized common tent here, hence the discussion turns more towards 'winter quarters'.

If the number of men are in that common tent that would have been assigned to such THEN, the gum or painted cloth blankets will most certainly fully cover the floor.

If you are talking about wanting to cover the floor fully with only one or two people occupying that tent--well, you could use an old wool rug, but its a pretty bad idea without a ground cover under it. Once it starts raining, or even a good damp ground, and that wool rug is going to triple in weight, soaking up mud and water and taking days to dry.

You're right, nobody's making gum blankets that big. They aren't correct. There are a few vendors making a fancy painted floorcloth that big, for $$$$--of the sort you might have taken from a home. Or, you can obtain an appropriate amount of canvas, linseed oil, japan dryer, and pigment, and make one yourself.

Does it work better than a wool rug? Yep. Made both, used both. Wool rug's back in the house. Big honkin' painted cloth is in the truck, ready to go.

trainwreck
07-07-2009, 01:53 PM
One person in my group uses an old rug. I would use it if you cant find a gum blanket that big. Unless your going to show an authentic tent at a living history or something, I would use it.

just my two cents

Stephen

TheQM
07-07-2009, 02:36 PM
well i have a wedge tent that is like 9ft deep... i cant find a gum blanket that big....

Garrett,

The QM specs for a Common Tent were 6' 10" tall, 6' 10" long, and 8' 4" wide. (Four guys each got a space 6' 10" long and 2' 1" wide.)

If you feel the need to have the entire floor of your tent covered, I would suggest a canvas drop cloth. An enterprising private would be far more likely to come up with a scrap of canvas, rather than a wool carpet. At the events where I use my Common Tent, I usually just bring an extra rubber blanket to put on the ground.

Of course, none of this has much to do with how actual Civil War soldiers lived.

Busterbuttonboy
07-07-2009, 03:07 PM
Just as a side note this statement bothered me a bit. This is not meant to spur on a debate and is put forth as a rhetorical statement. I understand the focus of the thread and answers have been given.

"Unless your going to show an authentic tent at a living history or something, I would use it."

This brings up a major issue. Once the public sees something dressed in anything remotely resembling a civil war soldier; what you do, what you wear, sleep on/in, eat, drink and how you act reflects on their impression of history. A reenactment is not just for those who want to steal away for a weekend, its for the public who trusts us to present to them an accurate depiction of 186x, as well for for the men who we seek to emulate. To just reenact for the sake of dressing up, with no regard for why or what you are wearing, using or sleeping on is pointless.

Finally no without a ground covering a wool rug is pointless, it'll be as wet as the ground, regardless of if your 'just reenacting' or at a living history.

"Of course, none of this has much to do with how actual Civil War soldiers lived. " Bill your awesome.

Poor Private
07-07-2009, 04:37 PM
As a person previously stated by using straw as flooring--not me candle wax, dropped matches there is a good chance of starting a fire. Straw on the floor especially when it's raining absorbs water. Nothing like having everything wet. Also straw as a floor, or filling a mattress ticking is as unauthentic as the wool rug. Use the local flora.
This all being said, I also toss something on the ground of my dog, shebang, leanto, wedge tent also. I use a hunk of canvas. If your looking to dress up your floor take the canvas and paint it in period designs or colors - say you foraged/stole/apropriated it out of a house.
I do mainstream events and if a spectator looks into my tent then they have untied my tent flaps, or untied and lifted up the piece of canvas I use to cover the entry, which I take as an invasion of my privacy. I sometimes have none period stuff in my tent, the street clothes I changed out of, the plastic tub that contains all the loaner stuff for that event. Not including my valuable personal articles such as my musket, pistol(if called for) and wallet, and keys.
When I do leave the ends or front open for viewing it is intended to be viewed by the guests/spectators of the event, and is as period as any other facility at the event---ground cloth and a wool blanket, and my kit is all you will see.

Rob Weaver
07-07-2009, 06:25 PM
I think the "tent flooring" forbidden in the orders is actually boards or puncheon laid side by side to create a floor. Understandably, the army didn't want to use up space transporting this kind of junk. These kinds of tents never had a floor. There's really very small need to cover the entire tent floor with a ground cloth. I've gotten along without anything of this nature for years.

flattop32355
07-07-2009, 06:36 PM
The 9' deep common tent is actually oversized, as previously noted. I own one and use it at various reenactments when the standards are such that it is acceptable.

I simply use three ponchos/gum blankets as the ground covering, which takes in all but one of the front corners and a slight bit along the side edges where it doesn't matter. If you require all the space to be totally covered, you can use four gums and overlap them. Less expense, easier to fold and carry than a rug, and more correct, as each of the 4-6 men who would have been sleeping in that style tent woud have had one.

I know that a number of civilians like to use rugs in their common tents, including many in my unit. It's one of the reasons that I'm eternally grateful that I do military: Much less baggage to carry around.

Pvt Schnapps
07-07-2009, 08:45 PM
As a person previously stated by using straw as flooring--not me candle wax, dropped matches there is a good chance of starting a fire. Straw on the floor especially when it's raining absorbs water. Nothing like having everything wet. Also straw as a floor, or filling a mattress ticking is as unauthentic as the wool rug. Use the local flora.
This all being said, I also toss something on the ground of my dog, shebang, leanto, wedge tent also. I use a hunk of canvas. If your looking to dress up your floor take the canvas and paint it in period designs or colors - say you foraged/stole/apropriated it out of a house.
I do mainstream events and if a spectator looks into my tent then they have untied my tent flaps, or untied and lifted up the piece of canvas I use to cover the entry, which I take as an invasion of my privacy. I sometimes have none period stuff in my tent, the street clothes I changed out of, the plastic tub that contains all the loaner stuff for that event. Not including my valuable personal articles such as my musket, pistol(if called for) and wallet, and keys.
When I do leave the ends or front open for viewing it is intended to be viewed by the guests/spectators of the event, and is as period as any other facility at the event---ground cloth and a wool blanket, and my kit is all you will see.

In garrison, the army issued straw. Along with forage, fuel, and stationery, it was one of the items provided by the department of regular supplies within the QM department, for which they also provided a specific form, QM No. 36, which you can find in the Regulations. It provides insulation and does not absorb water.

Plus, you would be rather more likely to find it in agrarian communities than stored harvests of wool carpeting.

Rob Weaver
07-08-2009, 05:57 AM
That hunk of carpeting is going to be nasty to roll up and tote home wet. The straw can stay onsite.

mtodriscoll
07-08-2009, 04:12 PM
Here's what my family uses for our 3 tents:
- plastic tarp on the ground
- heavy grade painters canvas on top of the plastic

When we setup camp, we fold the canvas over the tarp edges so you can't see any of the plastic.

This has worked well for the last 3 years. Many of the events it has rained profusely (e.g. The last 3 New Market events) and our gear remains [mostly] dry. You have to be sure nothing is holding down the edges of the tarp where water can run on top. I've seen others use carpets on top of the tarps, but the carpets are pretty heavy; whereas the painters canvas is light and folds pretty flat.

Note: I realize everything I just mentioned is not historically accurate. As has been previously mentioned, the fact that we have tents at all is incorrect (since most events are not portraying winter quarters or long term camp). However, this setup keeps the wife and 3 kids happy - which keeps me happy.

We strive to keep everything covered and only period correct items in sight. Typically, when spectators come by, we tie the tent flaps closed. Then all they see is the period correct A-Frame tent in a non-period situation. That just gives us a chance to educate our guests about when/where tents would be used and how many soldiers the tent would house.

The situation for campaign-style events is another story altogether...

bob 125th nysvi
07-08-2009, 05:34 PM
Would an old wool rug be an authentic ground cloth for my tent?

my first suggestion is to ditch the large tent. I think after a couple of reenactments you are going to find it a pain in the keyster. And all the things you add to it to make it 'comfy' just becomes more heavy junk to drag around.

It also solves the "floor" problem as in a ground cloth is now big enough to cover your 'half' of the shelter tent.

If for argument's sake you want to keep the battleship (opps I meant tent) then just do without the floor. When the army WAS using that type of tent the soldiers didn't worry about floors. They kept their knapsacks packed (traditionally the Army wanted you to ready to move at 10 minutes notice so the first thing you'd do in the morning is pack most of your gear) and when it was time to sleep they put down their cloths and blankets. It would be more authentic to have a bare 'floor' than to put something in it.

Rescue901
07-08-2009, 08:43 PM
I spent years in Uncle Sams Hiking and Camping club and then used a dog tent for 10 years at reenactments sleeping on the ground or straw. I bought an A frame last year and love it. My old bones now like to sleep on a soft pillow of air and gone are the days of leaving my tent open for spectators, I tie it closed now. For those occasions where its not permitted I go seek a local Inn or don't bother going. Anyway back on topic I use 2 gum blankets which covers a nice area.

flattop32355
07-08-2009, 09:46 PM
Given health/age issues, I'm more than happy to cut some folks some slack concerning air matresses, etc. at mainstream events.

I'd rather have the good ones in the field than on the sidelines.

bob 125th nysvi
07-09-2009, 06:38 PM
between cutting someone slack because of real life issues and doing it because you think it is cool.

Personally I don't care what Garrett does it is his hobby too. If he wants a tent and cot and rug and is willing to lug all that stuff and set it up himself more power to him.

I just think he is starting down the wrong path.

I think we can all buy into the real life issue scenario but unless I'm mistaken Garrett is a relative kid. Now if he has an issue which makes it difficult or impossible for him to sleep on the ground then by all means put a cot in a tent and sleep comfortably. Just remember to tie the tent closed when you aren't in it.

garretttcrooks
07-09-2009, 08:15 PM
my cot is getting too small for me any way, im thinking about just getting a tic and sleeping on the floor of my tent on a rubber blanket, would this be more authentic than the cot? Yall have been in the hobby longer than i have, and i want to keep my wedge tent, but i want to stay as authentic as possible while im camping it said tent, suggestions are needed!

bob 125th nysvi
07-09-2009, 09:14 PM
my cot is getting too small for me any way, im thinking about just getting a tic and sleeping on the floor of my tent on a rubber blanket, would this be more authentic than the cot? Yall have been in the hobby longer than i have, and i want to keep my wedge tent, but i want to stay as authentic as possible while im camping it said tent, suggestions are needed!

MOST authentic is a blanket and ground/oil cloth. In the Union Army soldiers were issued both. Now depending on weather and personal choices sometimes soldiers used just one or the other and even neither. Sometimes they lost or threw them away to lighten their load.

As for tenting each soldier was issued mid-late war one shelter half. Those big tents went the way of the dodo after the Army dumped the company wagons.

Now the above is a general statement you can find exceptions to everything.

But if you start with a shelter half, one blanket and one cloth that's a pretty authentic base.

Think this way. You have to carry everything on your back as well as the colors. You want that load to be as minimal as possible while still providing all of your needs.

So take your knapsack pack in one each of the items listed above. Pack in whatever extra clothes you need to take along and any personal items you want.

Now add that second shelter half if you aren't going to tent with someone else. Now add on a ticking or cot.

Don't forget poles, stakes and ropes since generally we can't make those out of local materials on site.

See where I'm going? Sooner or later your load is going to be so big you aren't making it across the field never mind 20 miles.

Real CW soldiers wouldn't carry some of this stuff (like poles and stakes) because they didn't have too. But you do so you need to factor that into your impression/load.

Now after a couple of times in the field you may find you don't need a blanket or even a tent (certainly not a whole one) and you can whittle your load down to be both more comfortable and more authentic.

Nobody in my company carries anything bigger than a shelter tent. We use the big tents for living histories, educational seminars and for the civilians over in the civilian camp. We own them but we don't use them in the field.

josie wales
07-09-2009, 10:11 PM
Hey, OMGolly....y'all have totally missed the point......its all about the beer/cola/chips: transport....shelter.....conceal.....reveal.....di spose: Try going a few days "out-of-the-saddle" and you may begin to comprehend logisticlly, Just a thought, JW

61' reb
07-10-2009, 10:17 AM
For the past few years I have campaigned and slept on the ground but I previously got married so the A frame tent is becoming home to my wife and I for the weekend. I believe that I would follow what some of the other lads have mentioned here before. If you are a family man with a wife, or if you are looking for a more waterproof bottom to a tent, I would lay down a tarp, then put a canvas cloth down on top of that. That way you have a decent waterproof floor to your tent. It isn't the most authentic way to cover your tent floor but then again this forum isn't the authentic campaigner, its the civil war reenactors forum where reenactors of all types have questions and reenactors of all types answer those questions. Tarp on the ground and a ground cloth beats sleeping on the ground and getting soaked when the rain creates a river inside of your tent.

The most authentic way to do it would be to research, research and research. Find out what type of event it is, what year in the war it was, what they were issued and all that malarchy. Then you can decide for yourself what to do, whether it was a garrison event with possibel a frames, or if you were just on the march with a dog tent, or even without. Just my two cents worth. I'd say do whatever makes you the most comfortable at an event.

flattop32355
07-10-2009, 01:32 PM
Speaking as a mainstreamer, let us not forget that this forum does not preclude how the more accurate among us would do things.

To eliminate those opinions is to eliminate part of the options availabe to the questioner.

This forum is not limited to the least accurate way of doing things, nor an okay but not really good way, nor a decent way but not the best way, nor the most accurate way. It allows for opinions across the spectrum.

The back and forth between the various factions of the hobby grants the questioner to see the possible options, weigh their value to his/her desires, and to choose between those options.

So long as those discussions/expressions of opinion are done within the realm of civil discourse and tolerance, they are perfectly viable on this forum.

Bill_Cross
07-10-2009, 02:32 PM
Of course, none of this has much to do with how actual Civil War soldiers lived.
I am biting my tongue.... ;)

Spinster
07-10-2009, 02:45 PM
Both Dr. Biederman and Mr. Preston have touched on a primary philosophical question that needs to be answered before making any decisions on Clothing, Equipment & How To:

What is the goal or mission statement of this event?

If your mission is to 'present as accurately as possible for the time period allotted' then you'll get one answer to a question.

If your goal is 'to present a slice of battle reenactment that looks good at battle distances and otherwise spend a fairly comfortable weekend' then you may get a different answer.

Each answer may certainly fit its mission statement well.

To give a clearer example, I'll remove the example from the CW time period and take it back 100 years earlier. I do an event at which I begin set up on a Saturday, with two vehicles full of plunder, and load up and leave Sunday night or Monday morning a full week later. 8 days a week, right here.

For a number of years, we worked ourselves to death trying to make everything just so, 24/7--right down to preserved food for a large group for a full week, with no ice around, and dinner on the hoof or wing as the case may be. If we didn't haul up enough wood and water by hand, we did without, and so forth. And, normally I'd be getting sick about 5 days into the event, when the work load was the heaviest and be worthless for a week thereafter.

Finally, we looked at what the goal of the event was for us. Surprise! The goal of the event was to educate the 10,000+ school children through the gate, by dyeing whatever yard goods and yarn we needed for the next year, in a period manner, during open hours.

Suddenly the perspective changed--now, at 6:00 am, a gas burner gets fired up, and 50 gallons of water gets to a roiling boil. Hot water for breakfast, dishes, people, and to start dyepots. Done, turned off, cool and out of sight by 7:30, and we've got things coming out of those dyepots when the first groups come up to the rope line. We've eaten, we've washed, and we are MUCH NICER to the school children.

The key to this is we all agree on what the goal is for our organization for this event--and the event agrees as well.

Sometimes our goal is completely different. A while back, I dropped a place marker in Doc's email, staking out a full week, for an event that does not have an official title yet, only a working title of Big Wagons, Big Mules. There, the goal will be 'to accurately depict' and in non-spectator, wilderness conditions. I'll make completely different decisions about gear for that event--and have to make them long-range, knowing that I'll have to live with the consequences of a poor choice.

So, while I'm clueless as to what I'm wearing for a dress for an event 2 weeks away, the goal and requirements of that event are such that I can pretty well place my hand in the trunk, and not make a poor choice. At the same time, I'm dilligently sewing on underpinnings that I won't be needing for a year--because several well made sets that fit will be integral to my ability to live in the same dress for a week under adverse conditions.

And for that event, the plunder I'll have will fit in a cloth sack looped over my belt.

Each of these events has a different goal, and that goal affects what I bring with me.

Jim of the SRR
07-10-2009, 03:39 PM
I think a plastic tarp would work the best, as it keeps your ice-laden cooler from getting muddy.

Jim Butler

Artyman
07-12-2009, 08:22 AM
Keep in mind that if the camp is near to a town that the soldiers just "sacked" there could be anything there, couchs, beds, maybe even a piano. Some officers cracked down on such items, but they did sometimes make it to the camp, only to be left there when the tents were folded up and the encampment carted off. Certainly a rug or two would have made it there.

Harry

bob 125th nysvi
07-12-2009, 07:05 PM
Keep in mind that if the camp is near to a town that the soldiers just "sacked" there could be anything there, couchs, beds, maybe even a piano. Some officers cracked down on such items, but they did sometimes make it to the camp, only to be left there when the tents were folded up and the encampment carted off. Certainly a rug or two would have made it there.

Harry

but very few towns in America could support the excess desires of an 80,000 man army. So while there was undoubtedly some looting it is WAY over represented as an excuse to have things you couldn't carry on your back.

So the first brigade in town maybe got some good stuff. The last guys into town were going to be luck to find a decent place to sleep and enough firewood.

Artyman
07-12-2009, 07:38 PM
Correct! And some officers when discovering the looting would even force the men to return the stuff, at least to some small effect. I think the point remains though that though there might be very few instances, the thread question was also whether a "Wool Rug" would be period correct as a floor, and it probably is, provided the pattern isn't a Van Gogh design!

There are many period diarys telling about how the Yankees would completely strip the homes they would come across, even burn the building, and the occupants would find their stuff scattered all over the immediate contryside after the army left.

Harry

Bill_Cross
07-13-2009, 09:35 AM
Keep in mind that if the camp is near to a town that the soldiers just "sacked" there could be anything there, couchs, beds, maybe even a piano. Some officers cracked down on such items, but they did sometimes make it to the camp, only to be left there when the tents were folded up and the encampment carted off. Certainly a rug or two would have made it there.
Harry, this reminds me of the campaigner events a few years back that would "request" participants to buy some oddball item of clothing or accoutrement that was specific to the unit being portrayed. This feller is looking for a way to make his tent more livable. If he's not interested in authenticity, then ANYTHING will work. A rug is no more outlandish or accurate than black plastic sheeting, but it's dependent on some long explanation ("we're near a town, I robbed this from a civilian, my captain will make me take it back if he finds it"). Like with jokes, if you need that many words to explain it, then you might want to reconsider altogether.

OTOH, if he wants a solution that's light and authentic, a gum blanket or ground cloth he can wrap himself up in is the ticket. You can even put your long arm inside it with you and prevent overnight rusting.

devisser
02-24-2011, 09:55 AM
I use a painters canvas tarp cut to fit my large "A" frame tent. I only used it in colder weather as my tent has the mud flaps. This keeps me warm. The painters drop cloth (not the plastic) works well. As I do a telegraph impression I can get away with it as I might be station at a location for some time. I have sometimes used the canvas flooring and cover it with straw/hay.

toptimlrd
02-24-2011, 11:16 PM
Both Dr. Biederman and Mr. Preston have touched on a primary philosophical question that needs to be answered before making any decisions on Clothing, Equipment & How To:

What is the goal or mission statement of this event?

If your mission is to 'present as accurately as possible for the time period allotted' then you'll get one answer to a question.

If your goal is 'to present a slice of battle reenactment that looks good at battle distances and otherwise spend a fairly comfortable weekend' then you may get a different answer.

Each answer may certainly fit its mission statement well.

To give a clearer example, I'll remove the example from the CW time period and take it back 100 years earlier. I do an event at which I begin set up on a Saturday, with two vehicles full of plunder, and load up and leave Sunday night or Monday morning a full week later. 8 days a week, right here.

For a number of years, we worked ourselves to death trying to make everything just so, 24/7--right down to preserved food for a large group for a full week, with no ice around, and dinner on the hoof or wing as the case may be. If we didn't haul up enough wood and water by hand, we did without, and so forth. And, normally I'd be getting sick about 5 days into the event, when the work load was the heaviest and be worthless for a week thereafter.

Finally, we looked at what the goal of the event was for us. Surprise! The goal of the event was to educate the 10,000+ school children through the gate, by dyeing whatever yard goods and yarn we needed for the next year, in a period manner, during open hours.

Suddenly the perspective changed--now, at 6:00 am, a gas burner gets fired up, and 50 gallons of water gets to a roiling boil. Hot water for breakfast, dishes, people, and to start dyepots. Done, turned off, cool and out of sight by 7:30, and we've got things coming out of those dyepots when the first groups come up to the rope line. We've eaten, we've washed, and we are MUCH NICER to the school children.

The key to this is we all agree on what the goal is for our organization for this event--and the event agrees as well.

Sometimes our goal is completely different. A while back, I dropped a place marker in Doc's email, staking out a full week, for an event that does not have an official title yet, only a working title of Big Wagons, Big Mules. There, the goal will be 'to accurately depict' and in non-spectator, wilderness conditions. I'll make completely different decisions about gear for that event--and have to make them long-range, knowing that I'll have to live with the consequences of a poor choice.

So, while I'm clueless as to what I'm wearing for a dress for an event 2 weeks away, the goal and requirements of that event are such that I can pretty well place my hand in the trunk, and not make a poor choice. At the same time, I'm dilligently sewing on underpinnings that I won't be needing for a year--because several well made sets that fit will be integral to my ability to live in the same dress for a week under adverse conditions.

And for that event, the plunder I'll have will fit in a cloth sack looped over my belt.

Each of these events has a different goal, and that goal affects what I bring with me.

Mrs. Lawson, This is by far the best post in this thread so far. You and I see eye to eye on this topic. It's one thing to be absolutely period correct in every aspect when that is what you are trying to accomplish and another when you are wanting to portray a slice of life for most of the time but want to be comfortable during "private time". We can look at Westville recently, we wanted to portray the town to the best of our abilities for the majority of the time. Of course at that event the townspeople would have retired home to their beds at night. Well we couldn't sleep in the beds on display but we needed to get quality rest as would the townspeople so how many of us had sleeping bags and pads hidden away somewhere for the "private time" we were asleep. Once we rolled up our bedding and tucked it away we resumed the illusion of 19th century life.

TB1861
02-24-2011, 11:54 PM
http://712educators.about.com/library/graphics/lincoln2.jpg
A general's tent, a well known guest, not a bit of ground cloth of any kind. Sure is easy to pack and costs so little even I can afford one like it.

Spinster
02-25-2011, 12:58 AM
Mrs. Lawson, This is by far the best post in this thread so far. You and I see eye to eye on this topic. It's one thing to be absolutely period correct in every aspect when that is what you are trying to accomplish and another when you are wanting to portray a slice of life for most of the time but want to be comfortable during "private time". We can look at Westville recently, we wanted to portray the town to the best of our abilities for the majority of the time. Of course at that event the townspeople would have retired home to their beds at night. Well we couldn't sleep in the beds on display but we needed to get quality rest as would the townspeople so how many of us had sleeping bags and pads hidden away somewhere for the "private time" we were asleep. Once we rolled up our bedding and tucked it away we resumed the illusion of 19th century life.


Here's an illustration of two entirely different goals in the same event. In the quarters where I slept, we did not consider this to be an area of relaxed standards--on the contrary, we packed period beds, feather mattresses, linen sheets, blankets woven in period patterns, wash basins, chamber, huck towels......and managed to position them in such a way that the room appearance was satisfactory. Of course, the ticks had to smoothed and the beds neatly made each morning. Evenings found us much more 'in the moment' than during the day with it's constant flow of tourists.

hanktrent
02-25-2011, 10:00 AM
Here's an illustration of two entirely different goals in the same event. In the quarters where I slept, we did not consider this to be an area of relaxed standards--on the contrary, we packed period beds, feather mattresses, linen sheets, blankets woven in period patterns, wash basins, chamber, huck towels......and managed to position them in such a way that the room appearance was satisfactory. Of course, the ticks had to smoothed and the beds neatly made each morning. Evenings found us much more 'in the moment' than during the day with it's constant flow of tourists.

Same here at the boarding house, even though disguised things were fully within the rules. My wife and I slept on the floor without a tick (we actually don't mind hard floors) in the loom room with a period oilcloth and blankets, since presumably our boarding house was so crowded and undergoing repairs that we were forced into it.

The house should have had beds for the boarders, of course, but the boarder/reenactors all cooperated by supplying their own and making due with the necessarily sparse museum furnishings.

If anything modern was hidden upstairs, it wasn't visible, and when we went up to fill the pitcher, all the lamps, shaving kits, straw-filled ticks, carpetbags, etc. etc. transformed the (non public) area into a very nice semblance of a boarding house, unfortunately without bedframes or chests.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

captdougofky
02-25-2011, 11:08 AM
I think a plastic tarp would work the best, as it keeps your ice-laden cooler from getting muddy.

Jim Butler

Best keep that in a Homemade Wooden Box or a Burlap Sack (Size Limitation). I use the Blue ground cloth-Walmart and a Canvas drop cloth. It works well for either the Wall Tent or the A-Frame. The carpet when it gets wet, (and it will) becomes to heavy and dry time excessive. On the Cooler I don't go to big-----weight. Best to take two smaller ones. As far as the bedding I went with air (more comfort). Only drawback is there is no storage like you have using a Cot. Cooking-I have one word for that Brazer. Beats a fire pit, plus in bad weather cooking under a Fly means coffee and eggs in the morning. As a Mainstreamer these are the things that have worked for me over the years. For the Mainstreamer with a family a different approach to camping than the CPHer's is what you generally see. Sleeping on the ground with your Pards is ok. Women (Children) have a tendency to need and want things that make it enjoyable for them. Comfort being part of that approach. Civilian camps set up as Towns is fine for those that want to add something extra. Having said that a lot of reenactors based on my experience want to stay together. Family camping make's that possible. Farby-yes by the CPH/Progressive take, but Towns made out of tents are not Historical either.

Always
Doug Thomas
Lyons-Kentucky CS

Bill_Cross
02-25-2011, 01:01 PM
Mrs. Lawson, This is by far the best post in this thread so far.
Hear, hear. This could become a short essay on the kernel of what makes for "hobbies" and not "the hobby."

Spinster
02-25-2011, 03:01 PM
How funny that the thread lay silent for 18 months before that thought process drew notice. In the intervening period "Big Wagons, Big Mules, Big Woods" became "In The Van: Trailing Kirby Smith" and that marker I dropped in Doc B's calendar eventually became 40 folks taking a little week long walk in the woods, with friends.



I spend a lot of time thinking about the 'why' of things, and how systems work. Personally, for me the hobby is All About Adventure, All Wrapped Up in History. Mainstream events are simply the 'give back' for what I've learned, an opportunity to pass it down the line. I can set very different goals for myself within that context, but I don't delude myself as to the accuracy of a tent city full of women and children. It's an economic expediency when the alternative is dragging around a frame built house in order to 'accurately depict'

Adventure, Personal Best, Campaigning, History-heavy: all code words for reaching beyond ones personal comfort zone to learn more in order to accurately depict the lives and work of the mid 19th century-and in my case that means a woman in middle age, and overcoming challenges in that context.

Too many times we deny ourselves the knowledge and accomplishment of what we can do in the context of depicting history, for the sake of our personal comfort. And that's a sad thing.

Bill_Cross
02-25-2011, 03:11 PM
How funny that the thread lay silent for 18 months before that thought process drew notice. In the intervening period "Big Wagons, Big Mules, Big Woods" became "In The Van: Trailing Kirby Smith" and that marker I dropped in Doc B's calendar eventually became 40 folks taking a little week long walk in the woods, with friends.
****! And here I thought another "In the Van" was coming. :(

Seriously, the thread popped up in my mailbox thanks to "instant email notification" and it seemed topical again. I guess some of these matters never really die.

longstreet7
02-26-2011, 02:56 AM
Scenario: Gettysburg Event; July 1 through 4, 95 degrees, hot breeze, if any, generally no rain this time of year in Central Pa. I know, I live here. You step into your tent at night, peel off all the stanky clothing you wore all day, your brogans, socks, ahhhhhhhh, cool grass between my toes! feels great! its natural, its period correct, its grassssssss! Try it sometime!

It also depends on the event as other stated. My Company does a lot of living history events at the American Civil War Wax Museum in Gettysburg, from 3 to 6 a year. As the museum has someone on their front lawn nearly every weekend from March through November, you could probably guess that there is virtually no grass left on most of the grounds. What happens is one of two things. One it is so dry that it becomes a giant dustball everywhere. So your body which sweats, begins to pick up that dust (sometimes 1/4 inch thick on the ground) and you look like Pigpen from Peanuts cartoons. Which some may enjoy, who knows? But as I like to later after the museum closes take a stroll down Steinwehr to O'Rourkes for a "Pitcher O' Fun" I really don't want to look like "dust-man". Bad enough I reek of sweat. (yes I go in uniform!)

The other side of the coin at this location, is...What if it rains there? Imagine if that ground looks as it does with the dust if you get a good heavy downpour? Think "Mud-Market" is nasty? HA! So yes a plastic ground cloth is used entirely covered with a canvas drop cloth. otherwise you are ankle deep in mud. keep the flaps shut all day, set up a few spare tents the company might have that are not in as good of shape, and use them for an open display that the entire company can contribute together to create the authentic look. One item of something from each soldier. Could be a very worthwhile display as well!

It's common sense people. Know your situation, dictate what is best for each event based on the conditions, location, and importance of what you are trying to portray. Yes by all means try to be as historically accurate as possible, as it is important that we give the visitor the true impression, and it will ruin it for everyone in your unit who does try hard to do so if you don't. But wow! Get a grip too! and try to have some fun with your hobby. Take from it what you want, but give back all you can......

hanktrent
02-26-2011, 07:57 AM
Yes by all means try to be as historically accurate as possible, as it is important that we give the visitor the true impression, and it will ruin it for everyone in your unit who does try hard to do so if you don't. But wow! Get a grip too! and try to have some fun with your hobby. Take from it what you want, but give back all you can......

The above is a good reminder that some events have unwritten maximum authenticity standards, as well as minimum authenticity standards.

If you attend certain events and get "too" dusty or muddy for the expected norm, even if that's what would have happened to the real soldiers, you'll be told to get a grip, and that you're not having fun, even if you are having fun, and in general be criticized by the others attending.

Been there, done that, not fun. Pay attention to the maximum authenticity guidelines, folks, and be prepared to meet them. :(

Hank Trent
hanktrent@gmail.com

TB1861
02-26-2011, 08:33 AM
So if this comes down to a "I don't care how they did it then this is now" situation then I would skip the rug and get a canvas drop cloth from one of the big box stores. The difference in weight when wet, the ease in packing compared to a carpet, the relative utility value as a fly if that is the greater need, it goes on but the point is a bit of canvas is a better choice than a heavy wool carpet. If you want to be wrong then at least make it easy on yourself. It isn't really needed but an under liner of plastic will assure anything wet on top won't drain to the ground or any damp from the ground can stay where it belongs. Those blue tarps make a lot of noise so you might want to go with a nice slick sheet of plastic but be ready for the canvas to slip when you step on it.
I don't think that enough one inch wide planks to do a floor in an A tent would weigh much more than a wet wool rug and they would be the only period floor covering I have been able to find in a period image if you are concerned about period ways of doing things.

GrumpyDave
02-26-2011, 09:02 AM
"You're right, nobody's making gum blankets that big. They aren't correct. There are a few vendors making a fancy painted floorcloth that big, for $$$$--of the sort you might have taken from a home. Or, you can obtain an appropriate amount of canvas, linseed oil, japan dryer, and pigment, and make one yourself. "

Or, if your unit standards aren't that picky, a painters cloth drop cloth the size of the floor area of your tent, latex paint and clear shellac. In that order. If you want, you can mix some boiled linseed oil with your shellac. If you use the proper colors of paint(to the period), telling the difference from an expensive floor cover will be extremely hard.

toptimlrd
02-26-2011, 11:28 PM
Here's an illustration of two entirely different goals in the same event. In the quarters where I slept, we did not consider this to be an area of relaxed standards--on the contrary, we packed period beds, feather mattresses, linen sheets, blankets woven in period patterns, wash basins, chamber, huck towels......and managed to position them in such a way that the room appearance was satisfactory. Of course, the ticks had to smoothed and the beds neatly made each morning. Evenings found us much more 'in the moment' than during the day with it's constant flow of tourists.

Agreed, however my sleeping assignment was not in a house for the event therefore I could not fully immerse myself in the proper domestic method. I too used a period tick and a feather pillow, unfortunately since there was no stuffing available at the site for the tick nor do I have the feathers to fill it, I had to use a more modern foam stuffing. I used this with a couple of quilts and was able to sleep relatively comfortably. In the mornings it would have been rather strange to see a sleeping area in a church so every morning I would roll everything up and tuck it away out of site in a period trunk I kept behind the door. I also had a wash basin which I kept behind the pulpit for washing up as well as huck towels, a period oil lamp, and a couple of candlesticks for the evenings. My only exception was the lack of a period stuffing in the tick. BUT had we been actually living there in the period we would have had beds and I could have had a fire in the stove. Now others decided to stay in the tent city out of spectator view and I never ventured back there so I have no idea how that was.

I guess I am fortunate that at such an event I can relatively easily tune out the public unless they approach me and engage me or I am making a presentation for them. I can still enjoy the period ambiance even though there are tank tops and shorts in the area or jeans and sweatshirts depending on the weather.

Now the sleeping bags and pads to which I referred were some that belonged to others I saw elsewhere in areas that were not visible to the public and their presence bothered me not in the least.

I believe you get out of an event what you put into it. Your enjoyment is based on you not those around you.

GOOD OLD REBEL
02-27-2011, 09:13 PM
hello, I can tell ya what I do and it works really well, I got myself a peice of the roofing rubber the size of my tent, they are water proof and they are black rubber so most people if they do see it, they think its a gum blanket, I put a peice of canvus over top but you could still use your wool carpet if you wanted, all I can tell ya since I started that no more wet floor.

FloridaHoosier
02-27-2011, 11:19 PM
Another old thread dredged up, with some good advice ignored and history taking it in the chin once again