View Full Version : What to do when "others" make us look bad?

Pete K
10-11-2006, 01:30 PM
Having been to our unit's local Living History event last weekend a question arises. the event organizers invited another unit from out of our local area. Without going into the greusome details "they" did some really unsafe and stupid activites in "their" side of the encampment. they performed a sham battle in camp, with spectators walking nearby and worse things just to set the stage of what happened. Our command structure immediatly tried to stop the shooting. Our troops held off the spectators from entering an unsafe situation and contacted the event organizers and local police. We stopped their gunplay ourselves. My question is how do we not let the local spectators think that is what CW re-enactors do? We spent the weekend drilling, cooking, and doing what soldiers did. Not tring to sound snobby, but I hope the public noticed the differnece between the two camps.

10-11-2006, 01:41 PM

Rest assured, the vast majority of the public saw the glaring differences as you described. Unfortunately, the other units' bad behavior will be what many of them remember. For what it's worth, what was the reaction of the event organizers?


10-11-2006, 05:07 PM
Unfortunately there is not much else that can be done. You showed how reenacting should be done, you broke up a clearly unsafe situation and prevented innocent spectators from being hurt, as well you notified the event organizers and local authorities of your concerns. You literally did all that you could do at the time.

As has been lamented so many times here and elsewhere, there is no large, sanctioning organization within the reenacting community to police ourselves from such boorish and unsafe behaviour. While I doubt that such an organization would work in regards to authencity issues, IMHO, this hobby would be well served by such an organization that had authority to investigate and possibly black-ball units from events for blantantly unsafe actions, particularly when there is a real risk of spectators being injured as a result of such actions. IMHO, it only takes one such instance of spectators being injured to cause event liablity rates to sky rocket and possibly seriously restrict our ability to conduct anything beyond non-firing Living Histories.

10-11-2006, 06:59 PM

Was the living history expectations made clear beforehand or communicated at the start of the event? A great number of these "encampment" events have impromptu battles, and if not told otherwise the guests no doubt thought this was the way to do things at your event.

I said that so nicely even butter wouldn't melt in my mouth, but the cogent point is whether or not all participants were on the same sheet of music.

Pete K
10-12-2006, 09:28 AM
Our unit's military v-president said the event organizer had told the other unit to not fire in camp. Firing away from spectators during drill was allowed. Tacticals after the spectators left for the day were allowed. Our own unit did so late Saturday evening. Our unit is selfish about the site as it was the area where the original PA 63rd Co. C held company reunions after the war. The park has a lovely waterfall and scenic valley. This is why we do our absolute best to honor the past there. We invite other units to camp with us and all of our guests respect the site as we do.

10-12-2006, 04:01 PM
Our unit's military v-president said the event organizer had told the other unit to not fire in camp.

Since the unit in question ignored the event organizer's instructions, were they told that they would not be allowed to participate in future events at the site?

Pete K
11-11-2006, 01:42 PM
The unit in question is not returning to the event next year. We are trying to get a hospital unit form the area to come next year along with a very good undertaker/funeral director impression. We look to present a much better living history event next fall. Thanks for the helpful ears and advice!

11-12-2006, 08:59 AM
What area are you from? We are from the cincinnati area. Our group www.ovcwa.org. Does a living history at gettysburg just about every year in October. If you want you can contact me and i'll let you know the next time we are coming to Gettysburg and you can come visit us and inspect our unit and maybe get together one year to do a living histiry some time.
Good Luck, Rick35OVI

11-18-2006, 10:29 PM
The place I do living histories at hadn't had a Civil War unit for four years before me and my pards. The last group was horrible. Their still finding beer cans and Henry blanks, and that was in 2002!