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Mothers-Finest
08-01-2007, 07:52 PM
I have been reenacting for a couple of years now. I've been to good events and not so good. But one thing that I dont see enough is P.O.W. I think it would be interesting if you could capture some soldiers and march them through the crowd or where they could at least see them. Granted there is sometimes very few numbers and this would be very hard to do then. We can still make an effort. Another thing would be to let the spectators to come out on to the feild with a speaker after the battle. Let the dead stay dead and wounded be wounded. Let them see up close what a battle ground would kind of look like. Again this is my veiw anybody else think like me?

flattop32355
08-01-2007, 08:13 PM
But one thing that I dont see enough is P.O.W.
I think it would be interesting if you could capture some soldiers and march them through the crowd or where they could at least see them.


Another thing would be to let the spectators to come out on to the feild with a speaker after the battle. Let the dead stay dead and wounded be wounded. Let them see up close what a battle ground would kind of look like.

At Guyandotte, that great bastion of reenacting accuracy, I"ve been a part of being Federal captured, and on more than one occcasion. While the idea seems a good one, the hard part is doing it well, as well as not letting the spectators get their hidden jollies to come out by expressing their true, but repressed, anti-Yankee feelings. It's rather unsettling when a little old lady comes up to you and slaps you with her glove while spouting rhetoric that doesn't seem to be an act. It's one of the reasons I don't go back there.

As for remaining on the field as dead and wounded: Again, the idea seems a good one, but if the desire is for the people to see what a "real" battlefield looks like after the fight, where's the blood, the gore, the agonized pleas for aid, the dead animals, the broken equipment, etc? We cannot simulate to any real degree the true aftermath of such a battle.

Some things just don't translate well from real to reenacting without becoming a parody of what we would be seeking to show. We also don't necessarily want to see children scarred for life and adults throwing up on the field. You never know who can handle such things, and who can't.

Mothers-Finest
08-01-2007, 08:20 PM
Thats is true. I know at Kennasaw last year they had fake dead horses and exploded cannons. We can never show what a real battle would look like. Nor would I like to exspose them to that degree. We do our best in telling them about history with our minds and gear but we nor they will fully grasp what it was really like.

tompritchett
08-01-2007, 08:29 PM
I agree but you would be surprised how few units in the Mainstream world are prepared to deal with POWs. More than once, when everyone else decides to make a utterly stupid suicide charge I will just invert my musket and try to surrender. More times than not, it becomes an informal greetings and "get to know you" session rather than any semblance of a capture of POWs. However, that does not mean that it has to remain that way. At large events, where history dictates that large numbers of POWs were taken by both sides, IMHO, this should be worked into the overall reenactment as appropriate with POW collection and consolidation points. One excellent place for doing it would be where the Confederates are routed by Sheridan's counter-attack at Cedar Creek. And I am sure that others will mention even more events where the collection of POWs would be appropriate. But then again, I can be an optimist sometimes.

toptimlrd
08-01-2007, 08:50 PM
There was a great event last year I unfortunately had to miss in Savannah called the Immortal 600 which featured a weekend of a period POW camp in Savannah. Confederates were treated like prisoners and locked up for the bulk of the weekend and given typical prisoner rations while the federals served as the Fort Garrison and prison guards. This was a semi immersion event but the AARs i have read were raving. I believe they may be trying to do it again in a couple of years.

tompritchett
08-01-2007, 09:15 PM
There was a great event last year I unfortunately had to miss in Savannah called the Immortal 600 which featured a weekend of a period POW camp in Savannah. Confederates were treated like prisoners and locked up for the bulk of the weekend and given typical prisoner rations while the federals served as the Fort Garrison and prison guards. This was a semi immersion event but the AARs i have read were raving. I believe they may be trying to do it again in a couple of years.

They do something similar up here in the East at Fort Delaware. However, I was specifically referring to the actual capturing and processing prisoners of war at a battle reenactment. We routinely portray KIA's and WIA's at our battle reenactments. Why not POW's which also existed.

toptimlrd
08-01-2007, 09:35 PM
They do something similar up here in the East at Fort Delaware. However, I was specifically referring to the actual capturing and processing prisoners of war at a battle reenactment. We routinely portray KIA's and WIA's at our battle reenactments. Why not POW's which also existed.

Last year at Resaca the unit I was with surrounded a Federal company and I was fortunate enough to be standing in front of their Captain, demanded their surrender and he obliged. Unfortunately a few moments later the battle was over before we could lead them to the back.

huntdaw
08-01-2007, 10:53 PM
What really looks bad is when the prisoners are allowed to keep their weapons as they are removed from the field. I've seen this more times than I care to admit. For crying out loud, someone take their guns and carry them. It just looks stupid!

I was at a mainstream event some years ago when the enemy made a charge on my company. We were disorganized and would have been bagged lock, stock and barrel in the real world. So, I put down my musket and threw up my hands. The pinhead that took me back had me carry my musket while he held on to my arm. I was placed behind the firing line, still with my weapon, and left without a guard. I finally decided I'd had enough of this and got up and left. No one even noticed.

Taking prisoners makes for a good scenario I think. Too bad it's done so poorly so much of the time.

KarinTimour
08-02-2007, 05:54 AM
I remember at Burkittsville in 2001 quite a number of Confederates were taken prisoner, and just transporting them, watcing them, feeding them and moving them around involved quite a few new experiences. Also brought home how much of a burden POWs can be once you've got them on your hands.

There were a large number -- 40? taken at Mahon's Outpost in 2000. They were parked at one point in transit on the ground near the civilian refugee encampment, and one hid in the privy when the rest were moved off. He later made a break for it and the civilians had to subdue him before handing him over to the cavalry. Hank Trent, (who was reenacting as a guy who had fallen off a roof several years previously, and had the gimpy leg to prove it) tackled him and they were rolling around in the dirt. The prisoner got on top of Hank and I realized that I was the only one at the at end of camp who could see what was happening. I was actually thinking "Someone should go help Hank -- wait a minute, I'm the only one in a position to do that......" I flipped the prisoner over on one side and then just hung on to one arm. I was just enough of a hindrance that Hank managed to get him down on the ground and immobilized.

Everyone was screaming their heads off and finally we made enough noise that one of the calvary was sent over to investigate. He was highly amused that we'd captured a Yankee by ourselves and gave that particular soldier quite a bit of grief on the way back to the rest of the POWs.

Definately one of my "magic moments" from that particular event.

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

Rob Weaver
08-02-2007, 06:04 AM
I remember an event in Winchester VA in maybe 98 (?), (99?) in which the entire Confederate battalion was marched from the 3rd Winchester battle site, to the courthouse downtown and interned. I was one of the guards, marching with fixed bayonet for 6 miles. It was an interesting experience.
I also surrendered at Yorktown in 1981. A very sobering experience indeed. God save the King!
We're just not prepared for the whole taking prisoners thing. That's why the humor and the hokeyness. Frequently we know each other off the field and frankly aren't good enough actors to carry it off.
The interaction with the public is problematic, too. I don't like the battlefield idea. What we do isn't real enough, and the real thing would be traumatizing. I would want a very good and talented improvisational actor to interact with the public as a prisoner (and guard). You've got a tough job there keeping them from abusing each other and history.

NoahBriggs
08-02-2007, 07:20 AM
The immortal Second Edition of the Columbia Rifles Research Compendium has just an article on taking prisioners. The article covers all of what was said here- great idea, horrible execution which leads to silliness. The article provides some decent tips on how to pull it off so that both sides/participants get something more out of it. And maybe the visitors too, if they happen to see what's going on.

Then, of course, there is the Immortal 600, which is a high-octane scenario in its own right. Rave reviews? Indeed, and rightly so. Carefully researched and taken seriously by the participants. Wish I had been there.

You might wander over to the Research Articles section of the AC Forum. You might get kucky and download the prisioners article for free.

Yep, here it be:
http://authentic-campaigner.com/links/showlink.php?do=showdetails&l=203

uhlan53
08-02-2007, 08:23 AM
Ah! Marching Confederate prisoners early Sunday morning to Winchester center at bayonet point! Mike Murley's boys (among others) did a wonderful job of being the sullen prisoners.

I can still remember little kids in their pajamas coming out from their breakfasts goggle-eyed at the procession.

One more magic moment: the whole time the prisoners were awaiting registration and parole at the courthouse, a primed and loaded federal fieldpiece covered the square (I think there were two, at opposite ends of the square). The entire time we were on guard (over an hour?), a member of that crew held the lanyard taut, ready to "go" if the Rebs caused any mischief!

Good memories!

Gordon Markiewicz

vamick
08-02-2007, 08:32 AM
At Guyandotte, that great bastion of reenacting accuracy, .

;) ya gotta admit, that place can be a true "Twilight Zone"! we quit going a few years back, the street fight had gotten a lil crazy..I saw two blast away at each other with pistols on opposite sides of a A frame tent...one got powder embedded in his cornea, then, there were all of those kids ( some looked pre 14 at least) trying to use our limbers ( LOADED for bear) as firing platforms:eek: ...but with that said there is a charm to the little village, where you can run into a mountain man, a sherrif, and a gunslinger at any given turn:-o

toptimlrd
08-02-2007, 08:54 PM
Another prisoner taking I was involved in was at a more authentic event, Prelude to Chikamauga. I was in one of three Confederate companies protecting the ford of a small creek. The Federal mission was to have the cavalry scout out the terrain and enemy while the infantry mapped it out and got the map back to HQ. On the last day, the Infantry was making a break for it when we came up on them and the Critter Company did their best to keep us at bay. Our numbers finally overwhelmed the Cavs (their Infantry did make it out though) and we were able to take them prisoner. Although we allowed them to keep their mounts (safety precausion since they would be better at controlling them in case of a spooked horse), I had the pleasure to ask one of the cav soldiers for his weapon and ended up escorting him to the rear of our lines with his own repeater.

huntdaw
08-02-2007, 09:09 PM
That was a very neat moment! My oldest son attended with me and got hold of one of the trooper's Sharps. I remember about 5 of us all standing around him looking at and admiring it. It struck me that we could probably be a moment in time as I am sure there were Confederate soldiers who did the same oohing and aahing when they had a similar opportunity to see such a weapon. Several good memories from that event.

Rob Weaver
08-04-2007, 08:21 AM
Ah! Marching Confederate prisoners early Sunday morning to Winchester center at bayonet point! Mike Murley's boys (among others) did a wonderful job of being the sullen prisoners.
Good memories!

Gordon Markiewicz

I remember this little drummer boy in the most authentic Confederate musician's coat I've ever seen. That kid's probably in college now, but then he had the best hardened little kid face. When I was taking names, one of the Confederate prisoners said to me "I hope that your service to your country prepares you to be something more than a jailer." I shrugged and replied "Nicht sprechan."

bill watson
08-04-2007, 08:35 AM
Mother's Finest, if you are in Georgia, I suggest you contact Andersonville NMP to find out if they still do a prisoner living history in the rebuilt stockade area in, I believe, February. It used to be a fairly authentic experience, including building a shebang. When I did it, back in the early 90s, it also included candlelight tours for spectators with first-person vignettes for them to see. It used to be a powerful and moving experience for everyone involved. Don't know how it's doing these days or if it's even being held at all.

I recall we went through a loophole to get around the "no opposing fire" rule in play at NPS sites: A Brown Bess was fired by a guard, but it had powder only in the pan, not in the barrel; it was explained to the spectators as a misfire. So the intent and depiction got done and no rule got broken. And it played to history, too, since at one point there weren't enough weapons for all the guards and a great many of them didn't function in the first place....

tompritchett
08-04-2007, 10:02 AM
What really looks bad is when the prisoners are allowed to keep their weapons as they are removed from the field. I've seen this more times than I care to admit. For crying out loud, someone take their guns and carry them. It just looks stupid!

IMHO, the taking of weapons has to be pre-planned to insure that the owner has assurance that his weapon gets back to him and that it will not be damaged. I have taken a prisoners weapon once, at a small event. My biggest concern after that was making sure that his weapon got back to him, especially since I got pulled to help out on the skirmish line and had to turn him and his weapon over to someone else that I did not know. IMHO, if a POW capture is being planned, then there needs to be a system for tagging the "prisoners" weapons to guarantee that people get their correct weapons and you do not have two "prisoners" arguing over the same weapon.

The other issue of course are bayonets. I have always told prisoners that in real life, I would be taking all their couter's, especially the bayonet, but since this was not real-life and that was their personal equipment for which they paid hard cash, we would all assume that they did not have their couters and use of the bayonet or anything out of their haversacks was now off-limits. As far as their weapons, I have had them ground their weapons, take several steps back and then sit down.