View Full Version : Reenacting, the natural evolution

05-11-2006, 11:37 PM
I have read with great interest the lengthy dialogue on the greatest threat to reenacting. Yes, we *are* graying . . . I myself will be 59 next Saturday (but no gray yet).

But we don't need to be despairing and despondent over the incessant current of time. We only need to adapt gracefully to that which we cannot stop.

Perhaps it's time for reenacting to enter a new era -- the old soldiers' home.

We can select events at different places around the country (perhaps in towns and cities that might still have old 1890's residential areas), and convene for events. We'll sit around and reminisce about the War. For those who aren't yet comfortable with a mastery of reminiscent dialogue, they can either silently play checkers, rock on the front porch, or nap.

I suppose it does mean that the new reenacting age will at first consist mainly of EBUFUs. It will take time to swing the public away from the expectations of afternoon battles, to observing more sedentary activities on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

And events will of necessity be small, perhaps no more than 30 or 40 senior reenactors. I haven't thought the logistics of national events through yet.

Murray Therrell

05-12-2006, 01:27 AM
How about a nice game of quoits on the lawn? Under the shade trees and with the appropriate libations, of course - iced tea and lemon-ade.

05-12-2006, 01:59 AM
I can't wait till we can all lie about what we did in the war and argue about who was the best general, toughest battle, and who was really "right" all along!

05-12-2006, 06:30 AM
As I mentioned in earlier threads, we "old pharts" could always reenact their post-war reunions. After all there is actual video documentation of those events.

Michael Pierpoint
05-12-2006, 10:10 AM
I just had a real bad mental picture of me in a high back wheelchair of the times playing checkers holloring for someone to bring me lemonade all this on a big front porch talking about "back in the day" somtimes I have too much time on my hands

Michael Pierpoint

Lee Ragan
05-12-2006, 11:45 AM
Sometimes at the living history events we have in Texas at the old frontier forts, I often do my "Old Sergeants Impression", or my "Old Captains Impression". This is done with a chair and the veranda of a buliding of some sort. The impression usually consists of sitting in the chair most of the day & exchanging pleasantries with passers-by. The best part of this "low impact", impression is that I don't have to clean a musket afterward.
I will also turn 59 this summer, so this impression is becoming my favorite! (Now where did I put my lemonade cup?)

05-12-2006, 01:45 PM
I finished last season at age 59 and decided it was time to find something else to do. Now at 60 I'm moving into some kind of civilian impression. I like Lee Ragan's "old captain's impression." Low impact, babeeeeee! That's the ticket!

Rick Keating
finally a curmudgeon

05-12-2006, 01:55 PM
I'm 55, and didn't start till I was 49. I'll quit when I get to be the same age as John Burns. Having said that, there is a guy I have encountered at Fort McHenry who does a great GAR impression.

B.C. Milligan

Pete K
05-12-2006, 02:21 PM
Some friend and I have discussed portraying GAR vets at some parades. We'd search for the proper medals, hats,and suits of the 1880's-1890's era and march as the "old timers". We's suit up our teen aged sons to do the "sham battles" (as they called them) while we sit back in the shade and tell the war stories. Our working title for this group would br the GARR (Grand Army of Retired Re-enactors). I have to face it as well; a 44 year old Pennsylvania school teacher in the 1860's would be recruiting former students to join the Army, not fighting in it! Yes, some men enlisted in their forties, but not in large percentages in the Army of the Potomac.

Peter Kappas
heavy grenidier mess
63rd PVI Co. C

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
05-12-2006, 03:04 PM

Where's my drool bucket and chamber pot?

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt

05-12-2006, 03:51 PM
There was Ziba Cloyes of Co. G, a man of sixty years, who had enlisted as being only forty-four, gray hair and a general suspicion of advanced years about him. The surgeon reached him in line.

"What is your age, sir?"


The surgeon smiled. "Open your mouth."

Ziba obeyed, disclosing a full set of teeth such as would have delighted many a dude. Then he brought them together with a sharp snap. "Put your finger in there," he said, again opening his jaws to their widest limit.

"You will do, sir," said the surgeon as he passed, with a broad grin, to the next man.

- A.R. Barlow, Company G: A Record of the Services of One Company of the 157th N.Y. Vols. in the War of the Rebellion

05-12-2006, 04:12 PM
May I suggest the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, Alabama....the site of an actual CW Old Soldiers Hospital and Home. I have it on the highest authority that the park is run by an elderly gentleman, a William Rambo or some other similar name...
We can while away the time drinking prune juice julep, eating oatmeal and reminiscing about the old reenactments we attended....Mudloh, Chickadusty, Antietam, Gettysburg and how the young whippersnapper reenactors just ain't tough anymore. How they run off at the first hint of rain or heat. And how many at many a Western reenactment, when raindrops started to fall, the cry of "******************** you, Whaley" could be heard in the Southron camps (inside joke).
Oh, to be young again.

AWRedd, I think, but my memory ain't what it used to be.

05-12-2006, 05:11 PM
Mr. Redd,

I'd wandered off for awhile to avoid all the fuss boiling up on another thread, so I missed the start of Mr. Therell's lovely idea. And, upon reading it, my first thought was of Confederate Memorial Park. You beat me to the commentary. Not that a lady would actually know what y'all holler at the good and kind Mr. Whaley.

There's a lovely 'backwoods' area just a little hike from the road that lends itself to more isolation, along with the various public buildings. The new museum cases are *really* under construction---in fact, I get to go help set up some of the plunder for the Homefront case later this summer.

Too bad we didn't have a larger veranda built on that new building, but there is plenty of room under the shade trees.....

And somewhere, in my attic, there is what will pass for a period wheelchair.

I hope Mr. Therell does not lose his fiddle playing ability.........

05-14-2006, 01:45 AM
I came to CW reenacting late, at age 48, in 2003. Prior to that, time, funds and young children were impediments to participating. I also knew very little about the hobby's existance.

While I might lament now that I didn't get started sooner, that is water under the bridge. I'm available now, and have the interest and ability to take part.

It amuses me that some would say that I shouldn't participate: I fall into the catagories of too old, too fat, too grey, too many, many other things. At best, I should seek out an impression more in keeping with my chonological and physical limitations, such as civilian, or spectator.

Male bovine fecal matter!

My desire is to reenact a Civil War soldier. Period. That may change, but it hasn't yet. And while acknowledging the limitations of my late arrival/physical abnormalities to the hobby, that doesn't change the fact that those of us in similar circumstances have much to contribute.

I'm not being a Civil War soldier; I'm imitating one. I don't need to be an exact replica; not many of us could pull that one off even in our best of times. What we can do, however, is to imitate those aspects we are capable of doing, and to be educated in the history of the time, and to spread that knowledge within and without the hobby.

This weekend, I participated in a school program at the Ohio state capitol. I dare say that the children who passed through my station could not have cared less about whether I was too old or fat or grey to be a real CW soldier. What they cared about was what I had to teach them, show them, involve them in. I'm fairly good at doing that, so I've been told. I'd hate to lose the ability and opportunity to do that just because I don't meet someone else's opinion of my appearance.

So, I'll keep imitating a CW soldier until I either decide I can't do it any more, or they pry the rifle musket out of my cold, dead hands. It may be two years, or ten, or more. We'll see.

05-14-2006, 12:28 PM
As I mentioned in earlier threads, we "old pharts" could always reenact their post-war reunions. After all there is actual video documentation of those events.

I have two of the videos of the reunions. Did all CW veterans dance?

05-14-2006, 05:46 PM
Tom, Did all CW veterans dance?

Probably yes - from joy at having survived.

Seriously, I would assume that dancing was a big social event for people of that period as was sitting around the house listening to and singing along with the family muscians. Remember, there were no TVs, radios, movie theaters, DVD's, or such for entertainment. Some of those traditions persisted well into the depression for some areas of rural America as my father-in-law used to reminicse about before he died. My wife still has fond memories from her early childhood, listening to her maternal grandfather plyaing his fiddle at night.