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RebeccaMI
07-08-2007, 10:56 AM
Anyone have any good ideas for good candlelight tour scenarios for civilians? I'd like to do something besides the usual "woman/women mending garments at home" type thing.

KarinTimour
07-08-2007, 03:17 PM
Dear Rebecca:

Can you tell us a little more about where these will be held and who you'll have to work with?

Is there a particular battle that is being portrayed during the day at the event where you want to do the candlelight tour?

Will you have the cooperation of military reenactors? Or will this be an all civilian candlelight tour?

Will you have buildings to work with? Historic homes, churches, stores, barns, farm buildings, canal buildings, railroad?

Or are you going to be in a field with no buildings to work with?

What personnel will you have to work with? Primarily women between the ages of 20-60? Or will you also have children, civilian men of different ages?

Are there issues of loyalty-- for example, will some participants only portray one side or the other? Or are all your participants willing to portray either Confederate or Unionist civilians?

Do you know how many people you're likely to have to work with on this?

Will you have tour leaders to take groups through the area, while others portray the scenarios?

The more information you can give us about what you're working with, the more specific we can be with ideas for scenarios that would work for your group.

Hope that's helpful,
Karin Timour
Period Knitting -- Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
Come see me at September Storm -- I'll have the sock line with me.
Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
Email: Ktimour@aol.com

RebeccaMI
07-08-2007, 04:38 PM
Is there a particular battle that is being portrayed during the day at the event where you want to do the candlelight tour? Will you have the cooperation of military reenactors? Or will this be an all civilian candlelight tour? Will you have buildings to work with? Historic homes, churches, stores, barns, farm buildings, canal buildings, railroad? Or are you going to be in a field with no buildings to work with? What personnel will you have to work with? Primarily women between the ages of 20-60? Or will you also have children, civilian men of different ages? Are there issues of loyalty-- for example, will some participants only portray one side or the other? Or are all your participants willing to portray either Confederate or Unionist civilians? Do you know how many people you're likely to have to work with on this? Will you have tour leaders to take groups through the area, while others portray the scenarios?

I should have given more detail in my initial post... don't quite know why I didn't at the time!

The time period that is being portrayed is 1862 during the Peninsula Campaign (or perhaps during the Seven Days). The event is taking place at a historic site and features a historic Greek Revival home, an 1856 Schoolhouse, and a historic grain elevator. I believe the storyline is that there's a small town with civilians. Some live there, and some are folks who lived outside of town and came into the town for the added safety and are staying in tents. I'm not sure about the civilian loyalty issue... I'm sure some will have southern loyalties and some will have northern loyalties.

As for the tour itself, I believe there will be a guide who will take groups from scene to scene. Some (or most) of the guys who do military impressions are already spoken for in military scenarios, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to get any of them to do a scenario with me. My friend Megan will be there though, and she has two small children, so I could do a scenario with her if she's willing.

They are already having a one-room schoolhouse demonstration (or at least a lecture) throughout the day, so to do that for the candlelight tour would be redundant. And I can't remember if there's already a group that has spoken for the historic home, I believe for a tea party scenario.

Also, I don't have a great deal of "accessories" yet (seems like every new hobby I get into is expensive), and neither does Megan, so I/we don't have a lot of props to work with.

KarinTimour
07-09-2007, 05:27 AM
Ok, assuming the tea party is going to be in the house, you might use the schoolhouse for you and Megan and her two children to portray people who are temporarily fleeing the area to get away from either or both armies.

Perhaps you were on your way to a cousin's house, and your horse broke down or more likely got "requistioned" by the army or just plain stolen by some skulker (armies tend to have these on their fringes).

One thing about the Seven Days was that McClellan had been moving pretty slowly getting to Richmond, so you would have had plenty of notice that he was in the area, and probably a pretty fair idea of which roads he was using. However, once Lee took up the job of getting him out of the Richmond suburbs, the Army of the Potomac was moving a lot faster, on a lot more roads, so you might have assumed that the army would pass you by, but when the Seven Days battles started, things deteriorated pretty quickly, you got scared and decided to beat feet.

If you're civilians in the area of the Seven Days battles, you're living in the Confederacy, and since it's early war, it would be very typical to be confident that "1 Confederate could whip 7 Yankees." You could use the schoolhouse as a temporary place to spend the night with two small children, since you were all too tired to walk any further -- you'll get to your cousin's house sometime tomorrow afternoon, and she'll put you up for a week or so until they drive these Yankees out of here. A couple of bed rolls, perhaps a cloth sack or a sheet tied up with some stuff in it is all you'd need.

My understanding of the area where the Seven Days was fought was that there were few "public" Unionists. If you feel that you couldn't portray loyal Confderates, you might play secret Unionists, but this is a pretty subtle portrayal, and not as easy to pull off or have the spectator's "get".

Another option if people want to portray Federal civilians is "what are they doing at home in MA, PA, IL, MI while the battle is raging?" They would have been following the progress of McClellan during the Penninsula campaign and would have known that they were marching towards a battle. You don't have to be "knitting a sock" for the whole scenario. You might have been packing a Sanitary commission box, picking lint, rolling bandages for shipment to the front. If it turns out to be only you, you could sit and read a letter out loud that you are writing to him about what's happening at home/farm/business/shop while he's gone. You could put in stuff that is on your mind, then realize that it will just make him worry, and cross that stuff out -- your job is to keep up his morale, not get him anxious about what's going on. Ask him advice about what to do with the crops. Seven Days was fought in July -- what's he want you to do with the hay? What are the prices doing with the war on?

A few off the top of my head, interested to see what other suggestions people come up with,
Karin Timour
Period Knitting - Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
Come see me at September Storm -- will have the sock line with me.
Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
Email: Ktimour@aol.com

Poor Private
07-09-2007, 05:56 AM
Glad to see that you're posting again Rebecca. Sounds like Karin has some interesting ideas.
See you Friday morning.

RebeccaMI
07-09-2007, 07:04 AM
*waves at Cris*

RebeccaMI
07-09-2007, 09:38 PM
I have a fear of doing something wrong and sometimes that fear keeps me from being trying something that I don't perceive myself to be "good at". I need to get over that.

huntdaw
07-09-2007, 10:41 PM
Carrying on with the school house scenario - It might seem strange that travellers just helped themselves to the school. Perhaps one of you could be the school marm opening up the school for temporary use by refugees which would give another role to play in the scenario. Or, if you are on your own, you could be preparing the school for expected refugees that you have heard will be passing through the area.

I think that would lend itself to some personal interaction with visitors -"Are you running from the armies? Do you need a place for the night? You are welcome to stay here at the school if you are in need of shelter." etc.

If you have others involved a number of scenarios could be part of that setting I would think.

Just a thought for what it's worth.

RebeccaMI
07-10-2007, 10:53 AM
I kinda like that idea, Michael. I'll have to find out if we can use the schoolhouse for the tour. If not, I started thinking last night that I could do something with cartridge rolling, since I'm doing a "demo" during the day (where spectators can roll their own, except I'm using pepper instead of powder!). Except I don't know if that would be redundant, to do the same thing I was doing during the day...

Poor Private
07-11-2007, 10:22 AM
Hey Rebecca, I bet Steve would let you use the school house for the tour with no problem. You have to remember what he said on sat night. It can't hurt asking him.

RebeccaMI
07-11-2007, 02:40 PM
Good point, Cris. The BF and I are going to see him tomorrow evening and see if he needs any next-to-last-minute help, so I'll ask him then.

MrsArmstrong
07-11-2007, 02:51 PM
You might have been packing a Sanitary commission box, picking lint, rolling bandages for shipment to the front. If it turns out to be only you, you could sit and read a letter out loud that you are writing to him about what's happening at home/farm/business/shop while he's gone.

I recently read a letter to Clara Barton from a lady telling CB about the contents in the box they were sending and to please let her know it it arrived and in what condition. She goes on to explain about a poor woman who arrived with a "jelly cake" to send in the box. They didn't want to make the woman feel bad so they wrapped up the cake and included it in the box. She said she hoped it would arrive in good condition. This was all the woman could send to the soldiers.

I think packing a box would be great. You could have different people drop off items, food, clothing, towels &c.

RebeccaMI
07-16-2007, 07:00 PM
Carrying on with the school house scenario - It might seem strange that travellers just helped themselves to the school. Perhaps one of you could be the school marm opening up the school for temporary use by refugees which would give another role to play in the scenario.

First let me say thank you to everyone for the suggestions. We ended up going with the idea above. I had a guy who was playing the mayor of the town, and then two ladies who were my refugees. I was the schoolmarm opening up the school to the refugees. Then we kind of treated the entire candlelight tour group (which was pretty large, we couldn't fit them all into the schoolhouse at once!) as additional refugees. As they walked in I bemoaned the fact that the soldiers must have taken all the tour group members' possessions because the ladies were walking around in "nothing but their pantaloons". ;) Other scenarios included: some ladies doing period handcrafts, some other ladies and a chaplain/minister having an impromptu temperance rally and admonishing some drunks for loitering about, the Union officers occupying the period house, and a group of soldiers sitting around a campfire playing instruments and singing period songs. Everybody loved it, and one history expert who took the tour told the tour guide afterwards that it was the best, most entertaining, most educational, most historically accurate tour he'd ever been on.

KarinTimour
07-16-2007, 08:59 PM
Dear Rebecca:

Sounds like you did a terrific job with just a few folks, not much spent on props and using what your site provided! Well done! If the others who got in on this also enjoyed it, they'll be willing to "play" and recruit others the next time. And you'll also find yourself rooting through all kinds of diaries, memoirs, old newspaper articles from veterans and older civilians for more ideas for great scenarios. Glad you had a good time, and know that you really enhanced the experience both for those who reenacted and those who took the "tour."

Sincerely,
Karin Timour
Period Knitting -- Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
Come see me at September Storm -- I'll have the sock line with me.
Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
Email: Ktimour@aol.com