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crowley_greene
08-10-2007, 06:50 PM
I'm putting this one in the whine cellar, because I don't think there will ever be a final resolution to the standards of authenticity debate that has gone on for as many years as I've been in reenacting (only since 1999).

Back in June I had the wonderful privilege to make a trip from my home state of Arkansas to Minnesota to a historic site, and do some volunteer first-person interpreting (modified) as an 1800's civilian. On my last day there, I was strolling down the dusty path through the restored village and came upon a couple of Minnesota troops lounging in the shade of a tree. I stopped and struck up a first-person conversation with one of the fellows (the other wandered off as our conversation got under way).

Oh, this was strictly living history that included some Minnesota Union troops whiling away some idle time in the village. There was no "2:00 battle" since the closest Confederate forces were many hundreds of miles away.

At the outset of the conversation, the sack coat and forage cap immediately struck me as average sutler row fare in fabric and make. But as I continued in conversation with this gentleman in enlisted uniform, "sutler row" faded farther and farther from my consciousness. This fellow directed the conversation to his own history of life and army life in the Minnesota frontier of the middle 1800's, a compelling account of hardship and losing family members in an Indian uprising, the drudgery of army life for an enlisted man, his opposition to the secesh South for dissolving the Union but he honestly didn't care one whit one way or the other about the slavery issue, his interest in how I as an "Arkansawyer" came to be in Minnesota. It wasn't a script -- he responded in context to my own inputs and questions in the first-person conversation. And he responded with rich historical facts mingled in.

But more than the mastery of his spontaneous and convincing words, was his facial expressions and eyes that held my attention. His eyes were tired and blank, kind of resigned to his lot, his voice was low and find of flat in weary inflection. Before I knew it, he and I had conversed in first person for about a half hour.

This gentleman convinced me beyond a doubt that a love for history and research and making the time period his own burned in his heart. But he wore what appeared to be average off-the-rack sutler row apparel. And it comes to mind as I reflect back on that afternoon, that there may be some persons who if they just walked by and saw this fellow lounging under the tree and didn't stop to talk, would just regard him as another "farb."

I don't guess there's any answer, maybe never will be, and I'm sorry there's not. But I'm still personally reluctant to make the statement that unless someone is able to put down many dollars for kit items that meet the strict standards of authenticity that they don't have any business being in this lifestyle.

Okay, done whining. :)

Murray Therrell

MBond057
08-10-2007, 07:13 PM
Murray,

Thanks for sharing your story. What’s the old saying “Never judge a book by its cover”!

If we all just took a minute to extend a hand and strike up a conversation with our brothers & sisters, image the magic that we could share as true living historians.

I believe………………:D

toptimlrd
08-10-2007, 09:04 PM
As someone with a foot in both worlds (C/P/H and mainstream), I can tell you that person was 85 to 90% to the level of super authentic. Equipment is easy to fix, attitude isn't. There are "campaigner groups" that wear all the right stuff but are farbier than most mainstream groups I know due to their lack of proper attitude (many call these hardkewls). I started in mainstream gear but came in with the attitude that I wanted to do it right. If someone with the right attitude wants to come out to a campaign event, if they have the atitude of that gentleman, I guarantee there will be a loaner kit available if you know what I mean. I always encouraged buying the best to start (even before I became a vendor) but I never besmirched someone who didn't buy the good stuff..........after all, neither did I at first. To me you are not a farb until I see the attitude.

Rob Weaver
08-14-2007, 07:26 AM
In my philosophy, the biggest step toward authenticity lies in actually using your equipment. Keep your ammunition in your cartridge box, not in an ammo can in the tent. Carry your rations in your haversack; if they're period that's even better. Carry your stuff in your knapsack and blanketroll. Research period solutions to your challenges rather than accept modern ones uncritically. Look to your own impression, and be slow to criticize others. I would rather soldier with a man with a mainstream kit and a good attitude than a bad attitude in a museum wrapper.

Milliron
08-14-2007, 09:11 AM
I'm putting this one in the whine cellar, because I don't think there will ever be a final resolution to the standards of authenticity debate that has gone on for as many years as I've been in reenacting (only since 1999).

Back in June I had the wonderful privilege to make a trip from my home state of Arkansas to Minnesota to a historic site, and do some volunteer first-person interpreting (modified) as an 1800's civilian. On my last day there, I was strolling down the dusty path through the restored village and came upon a couple of Minnesota troops lounging in the shade of a tree. I stopped and struck up a first-person conversation with one of the fellows (the other wandered off as our conversation got under way).

Oh, this was strictly living history that included some Minnesota Union troops whiling away some idle time in the village. There was no "2:00 battle" since the closest Confederate forces were many hundreds of miles away.

At the outset of the conversation, the sack coat and forage cap immediately struck me as average sutler row fare in fabric and make. But as I continued in conversation with this gentleman in enlisted uniform, "sutler row" faded farther and farther from my consciousness. This fellow directed the conversation to his own history of life and army life in the Minnesota frontier of the middle 1800's, a compelling account of hardship and losing family members in an Indian uprising, the drudgery of army life for an enlisted man, his opposition to the secesh South for dissolving the Union but he honestly didn't care one whit one way or the other about the slavery issue, his interest in how I as an "Arkansawyer" came to be in Minnesota. It wasn't a script -- he responded in context to my own inputs and questions in the first-person conversation. And he responded with rich historical facts mingled in.

But more than the mastery of his spontaneous and convincing words, was his facial expressions and eyes that held my attention. His eyes were tired and blank, kind of resigned to his lot, his voice was low and find of flat in weary inflection. Before I knew it, he and I had conversed in first person for about a half hour.

This gentleman convinced me beyond a doubt that a love for history and research and making the time period his own burned in his heart. But he wore what appeared to be average off-the-rack sutler row apparel. And it comes to mind as I reflect back on that afternoon, that there may be some persons who if they just walked by and saw this fellow lounging under the tree and didn't stop to talk, would just regard him as another "farb."

I don't guess there's any answer, maybe never will be, and I'm sorry there's not. But I'm still personally reluctant to make the statement that unless someone is able to put down many dollars for kit items that meet the strict standards of authenticity that they don't have any business being in this lifestyle.

Okay, done whining. :)

Murray Therrell

No whining at all. Sounds like he got the hard part down. The kit's the easy part. That's what your average "hardkewl" won't accept.

No, you should be very reluctant to judge the book by its cover. One word of warning however: those who are not willing to do the easy part are consequently often not willing to do the hard part either, i.e., bad kits often reflect bad attitudes. Still, judge for yourself--that's obviously not always so. I remember being at McDowell a few years back and being impressed with a particular Federal MS unit (whose name escapes me) for their professionalism and drill. Were there holes in the kits? Sure, but they had a good part of what was really important down. The kit can be fixed, the attitude can't (usually).

NoahBriggs
08-14-2007, 11:04 AM
My eyes glaze over when someone starts dropping vendor brand names. Those who can hold their own in first-person conversation, though, have my deepst respect.

I was told by another participant that I had my character's role down - tone, inflection, action, complete to the posture. I was not even aware of my posture. This was at the Inn at Peaks Mill this past weekend.

I, too, will overlook mediocre material culture if I spy good attitude. I welcome it.

killerreb
08-14-2007, 12:35 PM
i've always thought a good 1st person will carry you much farther than the gear or uniform ya have on. now dont get me wrong a terribly made uniform or improperly worn gear will sink your boat quick but as pa always said..you can wrap crap as a birthday present, but its still just crap.

steve hutton

crowley_greene
08-14-2007, 12:47 PM
but as pa always said..you can wrap crap as a birthday present, but its still just crap.

Now THAT is a concise, rustic, and colorful summary!! So much said, with such an economy of words!! :lol:

Murray Therrell

hoosiersojer
08-14-2007, 03:16 PM
As an excellent example of the subject matter of this thread,I have just returned from a weekend event at Hale Farm in Bath,Ohio.On Saturday,after the battle scenario was over and we had a chance to slow down our pace a bit,some of our unit decided to walk through the fantastic historical village that is located here.Throughout this village were stationed all manner of civilian Living Historians relating their crafts,such as glass blowing,spinning,blacksmithing,etc.

One place in particular though,was a magnificent home,with at least eight to a dozen people all in 1st person.Immeadiately after setting foot on the doorstoop,the door opened and we were greeted by a regally dressed young lady who invited us in to show us around,introducing us to other family and friends around the house.As we reached the second floor we were ingaged in conversation with an enchanting older couple who interacted with us by asking what unit we were with and if we knew so and so and our opinion of General McDowell.These folks really knew their history and as questions were directed toward us,I felt somewhat ashamed that I couldn't respond in kind to many of them.A contingement of Union soldiers were posted at all the doors,outside the home and another group of five were pounding on the front door to arrest the man of the house.Oh,the commotion that ensued about the house as the ladies went in a panic that,"the war has come even to our own house!"They even called to some of us to vouch for the character of the accused,as if we had been dear friends for many a long time.I am sure that a lot was rehearsed beforehand and it caught you offguard.It was like being whisked back in time!

These folks are to be commended for their tireless dedication to their craft,the public and to history as well.They inspired me to brush up on the background of my own impression and unit history.(although the latter has been quite sparse,thus far)Perhaps...,when I return in the future,I can converse better with them and make the interaction a treat for them,as they did for us that weekend...




Kevin Waggoner
4th OVI,Co.B
"Union Guards"

crowley_greene
08-14-2007, 03:59 PM
Thanks for sharing your story, Kevin -- it's a great one. Hale Farm sounds quite a bit like the Minnesota historical site where I got to participate in June, Historic Murphy's Landing in Shakopee.

Murphy's Landing is a restored village (Eagle Creek) consisting of about 40 1800's buildings, and is primarily a civilian setting. On occasion, some soldiers of the 5th Minnesota come into town, but they seem to always keep it in a context of a realistic scenario of soldiers hanging out. I particularly enjoyed the fact that it was a day of military/civilian interaction opportunities that the public seemed to enjoy even if the activities didn't include the "almost obligatory 2:00 battle."

In the past, the village has staged scenarios of the soldiers "feeling their oats" when they've had a little too much idle time and generally causing some problems in the village. (Hey, it's bound to be a dreary and boring life for an enlisted man in the Minnesota frontier -- a little freedom and diversion, with some alcohol and women can push discipline to the limit.)

At 60 years old, I'm interested in moving more and more into a completely civilian persona -- I'd love to see more military/civilian opportunities. I think I've seen that the public can enjoy.

Sorry, I've gotten off track some from the original post.

Murray Therrell

bob 125th nysvi
08-14-2007, 06:45 PM
how do you rate "authentic"?

As Robert (I Think) pointed even the most diehard usually don't get past "85% or 90%" authentic. So the last 15% doesn't count or is there a special 15% that doesn't count against your authenticity?

Does getting the equipment right and the performance wrong make you more or less authentic? How about the reverse?

Are there any examples of "shoddy" uniforms or leathers around that anybody can document? We know they existed ( a common complaint at all levels) but what did they look like?

For all we know they COULD look exactly like those "sutler row" items we depreciate. And if so then "sutler row" gear automatically becomes authentic. (Side Note: Just who is "sutler row" anyway? I've seen some pretty repectable names on some of those tents set up on "sutler row".)

Are you inauthentic because you didn't march to the event? Or arrived in an airconditioned SUV instead of behind an smoking 4-4-0 American (that's a steam engine for the people that don't study those things)? Or stayed in a Holiday Inn the night before the event instead of under the stars.

I am NOT depreciating those who strive to be authentic. I admire and try to emulate a number of them. It is just that somehow in the conversation the definition of "authentic" always turns out to be highly individualistic depending on personal choices and decisions and of course because none of us REALLY live in the 19th century we can't really know what was going in their heads minute by minute and thus to be them.

crowley_greene
08-14-2007, 07:14 PM
(Side Note: Just who is "sutler row" anyway? I've seen some pretty repectable names on some of those tents set up on "sutler row".)

That's a side note that prompts some thought. And I've thought for some days that in my original post I made a reference that would be unfair to quite a few sutlers (as just one example, my Clearwater Hat that I bought on sutler row in 2001 -- Bob and Kay Burton are almost unsurpassed as fine historical hatmakers).

Looking back, I think I should have modified "sutler row" with some sort of adjective to communicate that I didn't want to be all-inclusive. Also, I think the caliber of goods available on sutler row must very well depend on the caliber of the event itself, as to who gets invited to set up.

I just remember in my first couple of years of reenacting that I spent some hundreds of dollars on different event sutler rows on kit items that were pretty poor, because there are some sutlers out there who will indeed cater to those who don't know better. I'm embarrassed to have a few of those items, but I can't bring myself to sell them and take someone's money for them.

Murray Therrell

hanktrent
08-14-2007, 07:28 PM
I think we're talking here about what fiction writers call "willing suspension of disbelief." There will always be anachronisms, mistakes, illogicalities, etc., in any impression, but a good reenactor can transcend that and make the audience (either spectators or other reenactors) suspend disbelief and accept the illusion as real.


As Robert (I Think) pointed even the most diehard usually don't get past "85% or 90%" authentic. So the last 15% doesn't count or is there a special 15% that doesn't count against your authenticity?

Magically, that last 15% really doesn't count. When suspension of disbelief happens, the audience gives the reenactor a free pass. And yes, it's a different 15% for every person in the audience, but one could probably estimate what things typically would destroy the illusion for which subsets of the audience.

There's a vast amount of discussion on the willing suspension of disbelief, because the concept is crucial for fiction, theatre, and related arts, and I thinking making an impression seem "real" is yet another example of harnessing the phenomenon.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

toptimlrd
08-14-2007, 08:12 PM
Bob,

I was actually saying that the guy with the great attitude and first person was probably 90% there as far as where he would fall in the spectrum. I've always said that attitude is the hard part, fixing a kit is easy. I wasn't trying to pigeonhole him and was using the 90% as a relative term. Basically with his attitude, it would have been easy for him to fit in at one of the stricter guideline events with a loaner kit.

It is a good question you pose as far as how authentic can we be. At 6'1" and about 200 pounds, I am too tall and too wide for PEC soldiers of the era. I can lose weight (and oh how I try), but I can't shrink in height so I will never look like most of the soldiers at that level. I also have asthma so I have to have non period meds on me at all times. Now I can study and learn more about my impression and about the era, I can still improve some areas of my kit, so where would I fit in, what percentage could I apply to myself? I really don't know nor do I try to rate others that way. Unfortunately we don't have a time machine and nobody lived through the era so there will always be some unknowns. Through research we hope to reduce those unknowns but research usually leads to more unanswered questions as well. It seems everyone has a sliding scale and if you asked everyone, very few would put themselves in the (oh how I hate this word) farb catagory. Everyone it seems is a "progressive" in their mind. the truth is tha just about every one of us from the completely fresh fish to the better known historians out there can find ways to improve on their impression.

As to the "sutler row" term. Not sure where it started but I think it is a way of referencing average to poor gear that can be found at most events on "sutler row" without naming the actual vendors. I think we can all agree that there is a wide variety of authenticity and quality offered by different vendors (and no I do not want to use real examples). In the past, much of the more authentic was made by individuals one piece at a time (and much still is), these folks did not set up on sutler row since they made stuff as needed and did not have a "stock" of merchandise. Many of these cottage types have grown to the point where they are now becoming "big names" in the hobby and have expanded to the point they are also starting to show up on "sutler row" as well. Unfortunately the term "sutler row quality" has come to mean middle of the road or lower in todays vernacular even though it may not be totally accurate.

As far as the poor quality gear from the period vs. some of the stuff on sutler row, even without a surviving example we can rule out much of what is out there. Manmade fibers such as polyester and nylon did not exist, we do no what the patterns looked like, we know how the stitching was done, modern dyes are very different from what was available in the 1860's, we do know what the fabric looked like and the weight of it, etc. In the 1860's, poor uniforms were usually made in haste with very poor stitching, what you find in low quality uniforms today is very uniform stitching by a modern machine which stitches completely different than one from the period, entirely wrong fabrics, wrong paterns, and incorrect dying. Some of the problems with shoes is they would use very poor leather or even cardboard in the soles. Even without surviving examples we have good descriptions of the goods that were poorly made to understand what the problems were. I think if anyone made goods that poorly they would not be in business long sinvce the goods would not hold up.

Miss Elizabeth
08-17-2007, 12:56 PM
Kevin, I read your reply with interest. I am on staff at the living
history museum that Mr. Therrell visited last summer. I might add that
he did a superb job of first person interpretation, as well as period
fiddling.

I never thought much about doing first person interpretation until a
friend encouraged me to try it. A love of American History and the
convenience of a local Living History Park sparked my interest and I
tried it. No one was more surprised than I at what happened, magic!

In a situation like a Living History Park or Museum, people who work or
volunteer there are of course history buffs or they wouldn't be there.
You stated that you thought the people at Hale Farm might have
rehearsed part of what they said and did. I would be actually very
surprised if much of that happened.

In our living history museum, a sort of magic happens...who can explain
it? We actually take ourselves back into history. A few elements are
needed here for this to happen.
1.First of course a love and knowledge of the history of the time.
2. Being willing to lay aside your inhibitions and let the character
have the lead.
3. Working with a scenario.

You stated that the house was surrounded with soldiers and the
civilians were pleading for help from even the visitors. Last season at
our museum, we were given a loose scenario...such as voting to allow
alcohol in the boarding house or more rights for women. We interpreters
know each other real well and have characters we portray on a regular
basis. We knew the history and were allowed to just run with it. What
happens just transcends understanding...we live the history...no
rehearsing, We find that our visitors are drawn right into the story
line and very often join right in with opinions and actions.

I will give you an example I love; My neighbor lady at the park is was
being harassed by some ruffian young soldiers. They had entered her
house and demanded favors after becoming liquored up at the boarding
house. Some of her neighbors including myself..came to her aid and
started trying to get the soldiers out of her house. The soldiers threw
bawdy remarks our way and laughed at our plight. They left for a time
and then came back. While they were away, a visitor to the park had
entered the house for a look at it. When the soldiers came back, the
man fell right into the part and called *attention* to the ill mannered
young soldiers and informed them he was a superior officer out of
uniform. He, off the cuff, lectured them on the civilities of being a
soldier representing the federal government and threatened to have them
sent to Fort Snelling to be held in the brig.

They fell right into the scenario and apologized to the lady whose huse
they had attempted to occupy. I can name you many other experiences
where the history and the living historians just *lived* the history on
the spot. While it certainly is possible to rehearse an interpretation,
it might have more magic if it were to flow naturally from a head full
of history and a heart to live it out for all to see.




__________________________________________________ ___________

NoahBriggs
08-17-2007, 01:46 PM
"While it certainly is possible to rehearse an interpretation,
it might have more magic if it were to flow naturally from a head full
of history and a heart to live it out for all to see."

That is character-based interpretation rather than scenario-based interpretation. It's a lot more fun and more realistic, as you are testing what amounts to your improvisation theatrical skills.

hoosiersojer
08-18-2007, 02:49 PM
Miss Elizabeth,


I'm glad you enjoyed the story.(I'm glad I was priviledged to experience it)I've been to quite a few historical villages over the years and have learned from many historical interpreters.But what was so striking and different about Hale Farm's was the interaction and excitement of it's inhabitants.They not only pulled you in with their presence but allowed you to respond and be engulfed in the moment(s),as well.I'm not so naive to think that Hale Farm is the only place that does this,I'm just surprised that I had not run across this kind of interaction until last weekend.For all I know the stoic,"give-the-crowd-the-basics-and-then-wait-for-the-next- group"version of historical interpretation is the exception and not the rule. Guess I haven't been lucky until now.

Please understand,when I said that I thought that portions of their banter were rehearsed I was only referring to the introduction given us,initially and the conversation between them as we entered their enviroment.Obviously,once they engaged conversation with their visitors,discussion could go almost anywhere.You'd have to be psycich or something in order to rehearse a scenario before the other parties showed up.Being able to do what they did without the benefit of a rehearsal makes it that much more incredible.

I applaud anyone who is able to do this type of living history.My hat goes off to you,Miss Elizabeth and all of your contemporaries for having the gumption and courage to step out into a public forum and share this talent.Oh,by the way..,I really enjoyed your story concerning those bad-boy,drunken soldiers.That's what I'm talking about!I would have loved to have seen that!As Mr.Therrell had posted earlier,I too,would love to see more military/civilian opportunities.I think I will start this very thing(interaction w/civilians,I mean)at my next event.Hope I don't embarrass myself or those around me too much...:rolleyes:



Best Regards,

Kevin Waggoner
4th OVI,Co.B
"Union Gaurds"

Miss Elizabeth
08-19-2007, 07:02 PM
Kevin,

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. It means a lot coming
from someone in the same community, that of living historians.

Since you enjoyed the telling of storming Mrs. Krueger's house by
federal soldiers, I thought I would tell of another involving military
and civilian interaction.

The issue was a decision by the village to allow or disallow alcohol to
be served at the village boarding house. The village had raged over
this issue for weeks. A firm group of temperance supporters rose up
against those in support of alcohol being allowed in Eagle Creek. Prior
to this point, Eagle Creek had been a Cold Water village. The issue had
boiled over to the point of it being brought to a vote at the town
hall.

Women of course were not allowed to vote. The best we could do
was appeal to the reason of the men folk of the village. Speeches were
allowed by women. I arose and gave an impassioned speech related to the
demise of my late husband from the pitfalls of spirits. I told of how
he had been a good man who had drifted further and further into the
escape of the bottle. He eventually froze to death in the woods near
the town we had lived in, a bottle was found under his lifeless body.

His untimely death had left me a widow caring for small children and
forced me to learn a trade to support my family.

My neighbor Mrs. Krueger, the lady I mentioned in my first post, was
next in line to give her speech. At just that moment one of the members
of the 5th Minnesota went running past the Town Hall with one of Mrs.
Krueger’s (live) chickens tucked under his arm. Mrs. Krueger, bent on
saving her property, stepped out of line for speeches to pursue the
soldier. Those waiting near her in line shouted to her to forget the
chicken and come back to the cause. She stood at the door for an
instant pondering the choice and then returned for her speech.

Those spectators visiting the village had become totally immersed in
the story line and did choose sides in the matter. The chicken
stealing gave us another example of the behavior of those bent on
drinking in the village. The soldier had been *drinking* at the
boarding house and wanted to be able to continue.

I bring this story to you as an encouragement, as a military man, to
become involved, interacting with civilian historical interpreters. It
brings a rich authenticity to the table not otherwise experienced. I
think you will be pleasantly surprised at how natural it will be if you
allow that inner living historian to bloom.

Tarheel57
08-20-2007, 10:54 AM
Miss Elizabeth,


...Please understand,when I said that I thought that portions of their banter were rehearsed I was only referring to the introduction given us,initially and the conversation between them as we entered their enviroment. Obviously,once they engaged conversation with their visitors,discussion could go almost anywhere.You'd have to be psycich or something in order to rehearse a scenario before the other parties showed up.Being able to do what they did without the benefit of a rehearsal makes it that much more incredible....

That's the truth! I do library visits, school visits, and community events, and you never know what direction your interaction with the public will go.

Miss Elizabeth
08-20-2007, 12:32 PM
Kevin,
Oh yes, I knew what you meant about the rehearsing. I didn’t take that wrong from the first. I am just very thrilled that you want to try interaction with civilians. Please let us know how it goes when you do try it.

Regards,

Tarheel57
08-20-2007, 08:08 PM
i've always thought a good 1st person will carry you much farther than the gear or uniform ya have on. now dont get me wrong a terribly made uniform or improperly worn gear will sink your boat quick but as pa always said..you can wrap crap as a birthday present, but its still just crap.

steve hutton

You and several others have very good points. I have noticed over the past few years in a number of groups and forums that most of the talk about "getting it right" is about gear, and that great gear is equated with "educating". But I am not sure who is supposed to be educated by this. A lot of spectators have no idea of the difference between say, a Richmond Depot II and a III; or a chain canteen stopper vs. twine. I supposed that when a reenacter is assembling gear, they will learn stuff; but as for educating the public, I think it also requires A) a good foundation of knowledge and B) the ability and/or desire to impart that knowledge. Someone with just great gear is sort of akin to an extra in a movie; and if you know, but don't want to tell, it's of little use to anyone but yourself. . (Of course, this only applies to people who say they are seeking to educate; if someone is in it mostly for their own gratification, that's OK too.) Like you, I'd rather be with someone in mainstream gear who knows a lot and likes to share it than with someone who looks like they just stepped out of 1862 but is snobby. Don't get me wrong, I fully agree that gear is very important; there is a definite minimum level; and that's something I'm trying to work on even as we type. But when people talk about debasing history, I think the ultimate debasing is someone who doesn't care to know anything beyond their stitches. I'm not just rabble-rousing: I've encountered types on other forums who were quick to tell you that you were wrong if you mentioned anything about a uniform, even just in passing, but when it came to a discussion of anything about the ACW, they were likely to be incorrect or make sweeping generalizations.

Ocaliman
11-01-2007, 02:05 PM
i
but as pa always said..you can wrap crap as a birthday present, but its still just crap.

steve hutton

One of my personal favorites is: A turd in a Tuxedo is still a turd, no matter how you dress it up.

TexConfederate
11-04-2007, 11:31 AM
Your story is great. I am a "progressive" reenactor, moving toward authenticity all the time. I admire the men who are "hardcore" and they inspire me to improve my kit, etc. The biggest problem that I have seen with some of the "hardcore" crowd are the attitudes that go along with it. My first experience in reenacting, many years ago, was with a unit that prided itself on authenticity, but acted like total jerks. It was such a bad experience that my son who was with me, (in college now), but 8 years old at the time, soured on reenacting, and would never go to another event. I don't think people realize what damage can be caused to our hobby, when they forget to have compassion, and when they let their egos override the passion for history.........