PDA

View Full Version : Questions from the TV show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation



CrimeSceneInvestigation
03-16-2006, 09:01 PM
Thank you all! The information you provided is amazing and will be of great help.

I appreciate your answers.

Sincerely,

Jon
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

MStuart
03-16-2006, 11:29 PM
Jon:

I'll bite, but please understand that some of your questions require opinions, and the one's offered are mine alone: Some "general" answers are as follows, although some questions cannot be answered in a short space

Just about anyone can participate, as long as they agree to abide by the event rules concerning uniforms, epuipment, behavior, etc.

How "serious" the reenactor is depends on the reenactor, as in just about every "hobby", there are those more serious about how and what we portray than others.....sort of like actors

Uniforms and civilian clothing can run the gamut of "made in pakistan" that loosely resemble the clothing of the day to clothing and uniforms that are made almost exactly how they were 145 years ago.

In order to do a battle reenactment, you almost have to "shoot at each other", but there are/should be stringent safety standards and briefings to all participants. Safety is one thing that just about ALL reenactors take seriously, or should. As you know, even "blank" rounds can maim or kill, and we take that type of safety into much consideration on how we aim, where we aim, etc.

The weapons we use mostly are modern day reproductions of arms used during the civil war. They can live fire real minie balls, however, at reenactments, we use "blank" rounds of black powder with NO PROJECTILES permitted at any time. The weapons can be purchased through any number of "Sutlers" who provide civil war equipment to reenactors. Fall Creek Suttlery, Regimental Quartermaster, Trans-Mississippi Depot and L.D. Haning Co.are among a few.

Some reenactments are held on the original battlefields, some not. Personally, I just don't see Nevada being home to any reenactments. Most are held in the area's that comprised much of the war. Sure as I stand here, though, someone will call me out and say there's an event outside Las Vegas every year.

The "politics" thing is tough to answer and an individual thing. I'd think "politics" has less to do with it than ancestry, portrayal of history, and the more cerebral pursuits. I know many reenactors who don both the blue and gray at different times of the year.

Go to the Civil War News calendar and you'll find an entire years' worth of scheduled living histories and reenactments.

At any "good" event, there's a lot of planning beforehand that goes into one. When you're portraying history, it pays to plan.

Typical reenactor? I don't think there is one

How fanatical? That's a harsh word.......some are more serious than others.

There are a number of reenacting groups that run and participate in events in several areas (mostly east of the Mississippi river) No one has a lock on the majority. Most reenactment "umbrella" groups represent units of reenactors. They can range in numbers from a couple of hundred to 4,000-6,000. Many events are not organized and administered by reenacting groups, some are done by historical groups, towns, etc.

Try Civil War News, Civil War Historian for articles for and about reenactments and reenactors.

Mark

tompritchett
03-17-2006, 10:21 AM
I will attempt to answer questions that Mark left out.


Do they go to the actual sites where battles occur

Yes, especially if the battlesite is a part of a state park system. Battlesites associated with the National Park Service are typically off-limits to actual battle reenactments although non-firing demonstrations fro educational purposes are allowed with prior NPS approval.


Does their choice of sides reflect their politics - i.e.-would a confederate re-enactor hold that slavery is a good thing?

Sometimes, especially in regards to Confederate reeanctors above the Mason-Dixon line. This particular group can attract those who are dissatisfied with the modern role of the Federal government in regards to its ability to intrude into people's private business and lives. In some ways, I believe that they personally identify with the South's attempt to throw off the yoke of a strong central government. However, racism and slavery rarely come into play except that such reenactors will admitly argue that slavery had nothing to do with the secession of the Southern states and the resulting Civil War.



Do they shoot each other? If so, with what?

Normally we shoot just black powder from our rifles and pistols. However, accidents do happen. For example, typically all chambers of a pistol are loaded well before the battle and the powder is sealed into each chamber using some type of mix of wax or such. Unfortunately, once a chamber is laoded, there is no visual means of determining whether or not a chamber is loaded with just powder or has a ball in front of the powder. A reenactor was actually wounded at a reenactment when one reenactor loaned a loaded pistol to another and forgot that he had loaded the chambers for target practise rather than for reenactments.

With the rifles, no such sealing is performed but there are many ways that a projecticle could accidently loaded in front of a powder charge (typically 60 grains of black powder for the 58 cal. rifled muskets). The two most common methods are 1) the reenactor trips and his rifle hits the ground picking up a wad of dirt or some rocks that will act as bullets the next time he fires, or 2) the reenactor has used his rifle for target shooting with real minie balls and, consequently, has a lead deposit at the bottom of the barrel. Under the wrong conditions this deposit could come loose allowing the next load of powder to get underneath it and turn it into a bullet. While I am not familar with anyone being shot this way, I have failed a rifle during a weapons inspection only to discover later from the owner that the reason it could not pass my inspection was the presence of just such a deposit. (The test is to drop the ram-rod down the last 3 - 4 inches of the barrel and listen to the sound it makes when it hits bottom. A very subjective test.) And then there is always the reenactor who deliberately loads a real minie ball, or some other projectiile (I once saw a reenactor whittling a wooden minie ball and testing to see if it would fit down his barrel.). Even though most of our muskets are rifled, it is extremely doubtful that you could get a ballistic match because the minie balls are of such soft lead that they are typically greatly deformed as soon as they hit the first bone.


Is there some pre-planning involved, strategy sessions, who decides who stands where?

Typically, yes there is some pre-planning but that can vary greatly. Basically there are two types of reenactments - reenactments of historical battles and reenactments of civil war battle tactics. Reenactments of actual battles typically are scripted out ahead of time with specific reenactment units being assigned certain roles and manuevers during the battle. Reenactments of civil war battle tactics may have some degree of scripting involved or may be nothing more than a free for all that we call a tactical.


Are there any descendants of Civil War veterants in the Vegas area? Any organizations (on the Daughters of the American Revolution model) that meet?

The two organizations that you want to check out are the Sons of Union Veterans (SUV) and Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). Contact them and find out if they have any Nevada chapters.



Is there an organization that runs these civil war re-enactments?

There is no single organization that runs reenactments nor is there any single organization that oversees the hobby. Every reenactment is run by its own organizing committee and every reenacting unit is an independent entity. However, many of the reenacting units, particularly in what we call the Mainstream side of the hobby, do belong to larger umbrella organizations which offer constancy in the chain of command as well as reenactor liability insurance coverage.


How many people in this country participate?

The estimate that I see kicked around the most is approximately 40,000.

I know that I have not answered all of your questions and may have generated additional questions. Should you wish to follow up on any of this information, my email address is tompritchett@rcn.com

TheQM
03-19-2006, 03:05 PM
"For example, typically all chambers of a pistol are loaded well before the battle and the powder is sealed into each chamber using some type of mix of wax or such. Unfortunately, once a chamber is laoded, there is no visual means of determining whether or not a chamber is loaded with just powder or has a ball in front of the powder."

While it's true you can't visually check for projectiles in a revolver's cylinder, it is still possible to insure a revlover is safe to use. Make a probe from a length of stiff wire stuck in the end of a dowell. Carefully push the wire into each chamber of the cylinder, right through the seal, to insure there is no projectile in the chamber.

tompritchett
03-19-2006, 07:51 PM
While it's true you can't visually check for projectiles in a revolver's cylinder, it is still possible to insure a revlover is safe to use. Make a probe from a length of stiff wire stuck in the end of a dowell. Carefully push the wire into each chamber of the cylinder, right through the seal, to insure there is no projectile in the chamber.

As I am fully aware. However, I have rarely seen such inspections actually performed when serving in units where pistols were more used than in the 1rst Bn. For the purposes of the question, I was trying to keep the answer more to the mainstream than our Bn.