PDA

View Full Version : Will someone please clarify this for me?



cblodg
05-25-2006, 09:36 AM
Since the formation of the "Biggest Threat to the Hobby" thread, I seem to no longer know what is considered to be Campaigner/Progressive/Hardcore or even Mainstreamer.

According to some, if you don't have a CS and a US kit, then you're mainstreamer. Why don't you just skip the mainstreamer part and call me a farb. I'm sorry I sleep in a dog tent at some events, and have gone campaigner at others. I guess i'm too mainstream for some people. And I forgot to mention that I only do Federal impression.

So can someone now stand up and clearly tell me what makes someone a mainstreamer? Because I DO NOT accept the "if you don't have two kits" argument!

We are supposed to be bringing people into this hobby, not throw them away with the trash.

respectfully;
Chris

cal 100
05-25-2006, 09:47 AM
I know a lot of folks who are not farbs and have only one kit. No offense to anyone but I don't worry about labels too much, I protray what I feel works best for me and blends in with my unit. I think we worry too much about labeling groups. Yes some groups are more authentic than others but right now our hobby seems to be on downswing in general with numbers and we should be focusing on how to keep it moving forward. Just my .02.

captdougofky
05-25-2006, 09:51 AM
Chris

I did not know I was a farby until I started seeing others comments about the right and wrong way to reenact. I take my wife and daughter to camp, have a wall tent. big cooler and two cannons. Its nice to know what you are, I do now with the help and comments by others. I don't worry about what others think I just try to do the best I can. Enjoy others have forgotten this is a hobby not a lifestyle.

Doug
Lyons Battery
Kentucky

madisontigers
05-25-2006, 10:01 AM
Campaigners try to emulate the lives of the men of 61-65 as closely as possible. Mainstreamers tend to do less research, wear incorrect clothing and equipement, and attend events which do not accurately portray the real events of the war. Campaigners typically more closely resemble the boys of 61-65 IN appearance and behavior.

David Long

MStuart
05-25-2006, 10:07 AM
I posted something like this on a long ago thread: The term "farb" is usually used to describe someone who doesn't reenact or have the same hobby "vision" the person slinging the term does. It's all relative. Most everyone's definition is different, and it's used here a lot. Gotta consider the source/s and what they're trying to promote. Just because someone who posts here says something's "farb" doesn't make it so. To some, anything mainstream is farb. I'd disagree, but, you see, it's all in who's definition you use.

Mark

cblodg
05-25-2006, 10:21 AM
I completely understand that Mark. But you have those that come on this board and claim that if you don't have a dual impression, might as well stay at home. And these are some respected members, not someone like me.

Chris

MStuart
05-25-2006, 10:30 AM
Chris:

That's where the "vision" things come in. Even a "respected" member can be wrong, off base, or both. His vision of things may not be ours. This board has long been a launching bad for missiles against mainstream events and ideals. (Sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly) Because something is denigrated here by a few, doesn't mean a whole bunch or the majority of ACW reenactors embrace it. There's a whole bunch of "mainstream" events each week somewhere in our great country. We must be doing something right.

"The Biggst Threat To The Hobby" thread has 140+ posts and 8,000+ views, but is mainly a discussion between less than a dozen. Hardly a quorum that makes. It's a few guys lamenting the state of "their" vision. The majority of which are on the upper 5% of the authenticity scale. Lest I offend, there's nothing wrong with that. That's what the board is for. But they're not speaking about "mainstream" events, for the most part.

I haven't really kept up with that thread because, 1. It's been gone over more times than a dead ground hog on the Pa. turmpike, and, 2. I was at the New Market event last week-end and had a pretty freakin good time. As mainstream events go, it's a pretty good one. And I'll blaspheme by opining that a good many of the folks on this board who were there also had a good time (more or less). But I bet it'll get blasted by folks who weren't within 25 miles of the place.

Mark

Jeffrey Cohen
05-25-2006, 11:20 AM
Just remember people beg you to attend their events. Two cannons, nice.

indguard
05-25-2006, 01:01 PM
"Farb" is used when ever someone wants to call somone else a name these days. It has almost lost its meaning. Just like "Hardcores". It is used the same way by one side that "Farb" is used by the other. Little by way of actual observation is used to cast the word about anymore.

Further, we have diluted the terminology by creating progressive, mainstream, hard kewel...

bill watson
05-25-2006, 02:24 PM
All the labels are increasingly meaningless and represent attempts by various folks to control the dialogue (debate?) by controlling the definitions. If you set the definitions of the terms, you've also defined the debate.

I think folks are attaching too much significance to the "dual impression" comments.

Let's revisit it in terms of the original thread:

"The failure of some events to employ historic force ratios is one of the biggest threats to the portrayal of historically accurate scenarios at those events."

That takes us upstream, past the "dual impressions" paradigm, to a point where we maybe have a statement nobody wants to take offense at?

tompritchett
05-25-2006, 04:03 PM
While that may be your original quote, others, unfortunately, picked up on the theme and went further. BTW, I do agree with you about force ratios.

bill watson
05-25-2006, 04:08 PM
I'm just trying to drag the beast back into a corner. Too many taking umbrage. Umbrage is in short supply.

Umbrage is an electric blue powder, by the way. I keep a jar of it on my desk for when I have to write editorials. It's right next to the bottle of dismay, which is green.

MStuart
05-25-2006, 05:30 PM
Campaigners try to emulate the lives of the men of 61-65 as closely as possible. Mainstreamers tend to do less research, wear incorrect clothing and equipement, and attend events which do not accurately portray the real events of the war. Campaigners typically more closely resemble the boys of 61-65 IN appearance and behavior.

David Long

I'll disagree with the "mainstreamers tend to do less research and wear incorrect clothing and equipment" part. Mainstreamers aren't all apathetic who don't give a fecal matter. I know some pretty knowledgable ones. Some of us have only one type of uniform that just has to make it by for all periods of the war. There was a time when Plain Everyday Common got a big thumbs up. I'd hate to think that a pair of 1864 trousers at an 1862 event would be grounds for purgatory, but then again.............

Mark

toptimlrd
05-25-2006, 06:14 PM
Ok, my $0.02 worth eeven though that is highly overpriced.

To me a farb is the guy who wears workboots, levis, and polyester jackets with a $10 kepi to an event and don't understand why they don't fit in. (less than 1%)

Mainstreamers are the 90% of the hobby. To me (and I am what I like to call a progressive mainstreamer) most streamers are wanting to accurately portray the men of the war most of the time, but are willing to admit we do not measure up and maintain some "farby" living arrangements; wives in camp at night, cooler hidden somewhere, airbed or cot inside a tied shut tent, etc.

Hardcores / campaigners are what epitomize our hobby. They do it like they did during the war. They live off their backs, eat period food, refrain from non period conversation, etc. (10%)

What I meant by progressive mainstreamer is that I am trying to develop my impression so that I can go to a hardcore event, but I also want to spend some time at mainstream events as well. I am not opposed to campaigning it, nor am I opposed to setting up my wedge or wall tent to enjoy a less authentic event with the family. Whenever I am out in public (while the public is there), I feel more like I am "on stage" and try to be more hardcore in my mindset. Once the sun sets on the stream event, I still try to maintain some sort of correct mindset, but I do so with the attitude of a soldier on leave visiting family (just with a tent instead of a house).

Now here's the trick: understand what kind of event you are going to and meet the requirements. Likewise, if you are attending a less authentic event, don't complaign about the farbisms. Enjoy it for what it is. Many of us are in the hobby for different reasons and some for many reasons. Some of us like the public interaction, some like feeling what it was like in 63, some like the fireside talks with friends. Whatever it is, we need to stop disrespecting each other over these differences (with the possible exception of the guy in workboots, levis, and a modern cowboy hat who thinks he should be let into every event out there).

I will be the first to admit that as a mainstreamer, most of us could do a much better job in our impressions (I'm not talking about equipment either). As a more progressive minded reenactor, we need to deal with the VERY SMALL but vocal group who loves to point out every flaw in your impression (i.e. the stitch Nazi who I estimate at being less than 1% of the overall hobby) and should extend more offers for assistance in improving the impression of the streamers. I know this horse is down to nothing but bones now, but there has to be some middle ground where the two can coexist and work together from time to time. Perhaps an "exhibition" type event where CPHs invite streamers for a "symposium" of some sort.

madisontigers
05-25-2006, 07:42 PM
Ok, my $0.02 worth eeven though that is highly overpriced.

"To me a farb is the guy who wears workboots, levis, and polyester jackets with a $10 kepi to an event and don't understand why they don't fit in. (less than 1%)"

Right on man, I agree with your analogies in this thread. However,I do disagree a bit with your percentages( not being too picky I hope). I'd say the category you have termed as farbs is a bit higher, perhaps %10.

"Mainstreamers are the 90% of the hobby. To me (and I am what I like to call a progressive mainstreamer) most streamers are wanting to accurately portray the men of the war most of the time, but are willing to admit we do not measure up and maintain some "farby" living arrangements; wives in camp at night, cooler hidden somewhere, airbed or cot inside a tied shut tent, etc."

Although this percentage given would perfectly describe the hobby in the mid nineties, and up to the ealr 21st century, I feel that streamers are about %70-%75. Like I mentioned earlier, a lot of your streamers are moving in to the campaigner ranks.

"Hardcores / campaigners are what epitomize our hobby. They do it like they did during the war. They live off their backs, eat period food, refrain from non period conversation, etc. (10%)"

I would tend to agree with this percentage, perhaps %5 or lower. This category is rare, and it is often hard at times to find these gentleman in the ranks of progressive groups. Very few do it this way, even though I wish more did do it this way.

"What I meant by progressive mainstreamer is that I am trying to develop my impression so that I can go to a hardcore event, but I also want to spend some time at mainstream events as well. I am not opposed to campaigning it, nor am I opposed to setting up my wedge or wall tent to enjoy a less authentic event with the family. Whenever I am out in public (while the public is there), I feel more like I am "on stage" and try to be more hardcore in my mindset. Once the sun sets on the stream event, I still try to maintain some sort of correct mindset, but I do so with the attitude of a soldier on leave visiting family (just with a tent instead of a house). "

I used to be the same way, and I still feel this is a pretty good way to go. I think that this category of reenactors is growing, and they usually tend to not offend either the streamers or the campaigners. Only problem here is that it kinda puts you on the middle of the fence. Knowing that the actions you do are inaccurate, and then doing them anyway is actually (imo) worse than doing things wrong by lack of knowledge. Not trying to criticize here, but you pretty much admit that you know the difference between right and wrong.

"Now here's the trick: understand what kind of event you are going to and meet the requirements. Likewise, if you are attending a less authentic event, don't complaign about the farbisms. Enjoy it for what it is. Many of us are in the hobby for different reasons and some for many reasons. Some of us like the public interaction, some like feeling what it was like in 63, some like the fireside talks with friends. Whatever it is, we need to stop disrespecting each other over these differences (with the possible exception of the guy in workboots, levis, and a modern cowboy hat who thinks he should be let into every event out there)."

I agree %100 here. We all need to be able to enjoy whatever event we got to. My goal is to go to an event and satisfy my owngoals and standards. As long as I am attempting to have an accurate impression, refrain from modern inaccuracies, and show respect and politeness to those around me, then I am good to go.We can't always control the actions of those around us, but, we sure can decide our own actions. Again, more ENFORCED authenticty requirements would help this matter out %100.

"I will be the first to admit that as a mainstreamer, most of us could do a much better job in our impressions (I'm not talking about equipment either). As a more progressive minded reenactor, we need to deal with the VERY SMALL but vocal group who loves to point out every flaw in your impression (i.e. the stitch Nazi who I estimate at being less than 1% of the overall hobby) and should extend more offers for assistance in improving the impression of the streamers. I know this horse is down to nothing but bones now, but there has to be some middle ground where the two can coexist and work together from time to time. Perhaps an "exhibition" type event where CPHs invite streamers for a "symposium" of some sort."


I think most of the campaigner guys out there have tried this approach; and to my knowledge are still trying. I have found that it is very hard to tell someone that their impression needs improvement. I usually feel like an ass or total jerk when doing this, but sometimes this is the end result. In short I feel that it ius pretty cut & dry. Either you have a good impression or not. Usually pulling the person aside from others, and telling them in a helpful manner helps, but it is all the same. Essentially you are telling a guy who has spent a good bit of money, albeit it on bad gear, that what he has on does not closely resemble an original piece. The guy goes away feeling that the $1,000+ he has spent is for nothing. It also usually seems to mean that "I have good stuff, you have bad stuff."This is sad, but this is usually how it is construed.

ewtaylor
05-25-2006, 07:43 PM
Historically correct or historically incorrect. I think each reenactment or living history should be done historically correct. I'm going to go out on a limb here and discuss a certain well known event here in Ky. The battle of Wildcat Mountain was voted the #1 reenactment in Kentucky. Now the c/p/h groups would call this a farb/mainstream type event. However I would call it historically incorrect. There was no Cavalry battle during the actual fighting and very little cannon action. However the reenactment has both because it draws a crowd. There is also a lot of families in camp. Sometimes the campaigners will show up and sleep out under the stars. This too is historically incorrect because the Confederates brought their baggage train and tents along.
If you are wearing the latest gear from the A/C approved vendors list but refuse to campaign or garrison if the scenerio calls for it then you are historically incorrect.
If you camp correctly but are wearing the Fall Creek uniform special then you are historically incorrect.
If you wear the correct uniforms, drill perfectly, camp right, but are wearing modern glasses or use a stainless steel canteen then you are historically incorrect.
I have one impression right now and that is western CS and I probably won't do another. Years ago I had 3 CS uniforms and a Fed uniform impression. I quit the hobby a couple years back (sold everything) and have decided to get back in. I have 2 pair of trousers- 1 civie for early war and 1 jean cloth for mid-late war. I have 2 belts - 1 plain brass plate and 1 Rectagular CSA plate. I have 1 black slouch hat. I have 1 pair of Civie shoes. 2 pairs of cotton socks. Suspenders for jean cloth pants and belt for civie pants. 2 shirts- 1 civie and 1 plain white osnaburg. 2 blankets- 1 brown and 1 coverlet. 1 wooden canteen. 1 dirty white haversack and I'm attempting to buy a single bag knapsack. 1 frock coat. tin cup, combo utensils, plate, boiler, leather canteen sling, and assorted junk. This all cost over $900. Some stuff is used and some is new. All is historically correct. I laugh when someone tells me they can't afford this stuff when I see them hauling in wall tents, camp equipment, assorted incorrect uniforms, and a trailer to haul it all in. But to each his own.
In my opinion you are historically correct or historically incorrect, its your choice.
ew taylor

indguard
05-25-2006, 08:47 PM
In my opinion you are historically correct or historically incorrect, its your choice

One problem. Where is the line drawn? Just "looks"? You say something exclusionary like that and here are the questions about you that come immediately to mind...

Are you circumsized? Then you are incorrect.

Do you have fillings in your mouth? Then you are incorrect.

Are you over 120 pounds? Then you are incorrect.

Do you have only 3 guys in your group? Then you are incorrect.

Do you never have an officer around? Then you are incorrect.

Do you occaisonally have a beer after hours? Then you are incorrect.

Do you sit around the campfire for hours on end talking about your favorite maker, the weave of your pants or the color of your shirt? Then you are REALLY being incorrect!

Etc., etc.

I'd say that we must specify that our kit must be "correct" and our reenacting must be also. A "Hardcore" reenactor is a person who most nearly approximates a soldier of the era in look and actions, not one who has great stuff but otherwise acts like a guy in a hobby talking about where he got his latest stuff. And FEW of us, "hardcore" or no, fit THAT definition!!!

Warner Todd Huston

Wild Rover
05-25-2006, 09:33 PM
OK

Now that everyone is paying attention-

I make the suggestion that folks who only have one impression are mainstream, and folks get all stirred up.

And they are right to. Because they are not mainstream.

(disclaimer- I do feel at some point in its evolution, the hobby will require dual kits to create proper force ratios, or higher fees for those who do not...but not in the next 5 years...just like some events will start requiring reenactor insurance for participation..I do feel it makes you a better historian, IMHO)

Here's My point-

Recently there have been folks touting this or that, and if you don't do AB&C, or go to XY&Z then you are mainstream.

Heck, someone could say if you don't wear Ben Tart's jean for an NC impression you are mainstream, and folks would jump all over it.

Keep past labels, forget who sets what criteria on some glowing box, and get in the field and reenact.

See you in Cross Keys,

cblodg
05-25-2006, 09:35 PM
Lads;

I certainly did not intend for this thread to drag on to two pages. I guess I was just frustrated and took the comments by Chris Anders and Bill W. the wrong way. I certainly apologize if I offended anyone by bringing this up.

I can see the intent and rationale for the argurments that have been made.

regards;

Chris

HighPrvt
05-25-2006, 09:45 PM
What's important is what you want out of the hobby.
If you want to persue authenticity, then by all means go for it. If your happy
doing mainstream, and shopping on sutler row, then so be it.
It's up to the individual to take the hobby to the extent that best suits them.
Beyond that all you have is other peoples opinions. Some people live to please others, some dont........

Trimmings
05-25-2006, 09:48 PM
Are you circumsized? Then you are incorrect.

For once I have something correct. :rolleyes:

Ray Prosten

MStuart
05-25-2006, 09:57 PM
Lads;

I certainly did not intend for this thread to drag on to two pages. I guess I was just frustrated and took the comments by Chris Anders and Bill W. the wrong way. I certainly apologize if I offended anyone by bringing this up.

I can see the intent and rationale for the argurments that have been made.

regards;

Chris

Chris:

No offense taken here. This isn't the first dead horse we've beaten into the ground, nor the last. Wait till we really get mad!

On a side note, let's not forget this will be Memorial Day week-end. So, between the weenies and ribs on the grill, take some time out to remember why we have this holiday. Remember the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. Only from their actions for our freedom can we have this kind of discourse. This "discussion" pales in significance to their sacrifices, past and present.

God Bless our troops and bring them home safely

Mark

TimKindred
05-25-2006, 10:02 PM
One problem. Where is the line drawn? Just "looks"? You say something exclusionary like that and here are the questions about you that come immediately to mind...

Are you circumsized? Then you are incorrect.

Do you have fillings in your mouth? Then you are incorrect.

Are you over 120 pounds? Then you are incorrect.

Do you have only 3 guys in your group? Then you are incorrect.

Do you never have an officer around? Then you are incorrect.

Do you occaisonally have a beer after hours? Then you are incorrect.

Do you sit around the campfire for hours on end talking about your favorite maker, the weave of your pants or the color of your shirt? Then you are REALLY being incorrect!

Etc., etc.

I'd say that we must specify that our kit must be "correct" and our reenacting must be also. A "Hardcore" reenactor is a person who most nearly approximates a soldier of the era in look and actions, not one who has great stuff but otherwise acts like a guy in a hobby talking about where he got his latest stuff. And FEW of us, "hardcore" or no, fit THAT definition!!!

Warner Todd Huston


Comrade,

Would you mind backing up your comments with soime documentation here?

Circumcision? Well, considering that some 40% of the soldiers were Irish catholic, then that means that you've got a LOT of circumcised men in the ranks... Add to that the huge number of Jews and that makes it even more problematical for you.

Fillings? Well, dentists were routinely doing fillings. In fact, the collateral duty for the Hospital Steward in each regiment was to be the regimental dentist. He had access to filling material and used it.

Over 120lbs? Where in the world did you get that number? I did a comparison of the enlistment reords of the 3rd Maine Infantry. Know what? the AVERAGE hight and weight for that regiment was 68" and 180lbs... I took the data directly from the enlistment records. You can view them yourself at the Maine State Archives in Augusta. Let me know when you want to visit, and I'll even introduce you to the staff.

Several compaines of the 3rd Maine at Gettysburg were without officers. Same with other Maine regiments there. The records speak for themselves. It's a time/place situation.

I will be happy to list period accounts of both federal and Confederate soldiers enjoying not only beer, but whiskey during active campaigning, in fact, even on the march under the auspices of their officers. One example will suffice for now. I'll post others if you need them.

The Texas Brigade (1st, 4th, & 5th Texas and 3rd Arkansas) when crossing the Potomac at Point of Rocks, Maryland, during the 2nd Maryland raid (Gettysburg campaign)were greeted by their officers with a hogshead of whiskey. The top was stove in and the men used their dippers to draw out the lovely spirits. Those that did not imbibe drew out and traded with those that did. The results, says John Polley of the 4th Texas, was that the Brigade had it's longest march of the war.... not so much because of the LENGTH of the road, but because of it's WIDTH. Poley, backed up by Val Giles (Rags and Hope... his memoirs) remarked that the brigade passed through four states that day: They had breakfast in the state of Virginia, had lunch in the state of Maryland, had supper in the state of Pennsylvania, and slept in the state of intoxication.....

Early on, the 2nd US Infantry marched from Leavenworth to Washington, it's officers riding ahead to secure an area to bivouac and kegs of beer for the men each day.

In other words, reality trumps personal predjudice.

Respects,

toptimlrd
05-25-2006, 10:14 PM
I think most of the campaigner guys out there have tried this approach; and to my knowledge are still trying. I have found that it is very hard to tell someone that their impression needs improvement. I usually feel like an ass or total jerk when doing this, but sometimes this is the end result. In short I feel that it ius pretty cut & dry. Either you have a good impression or not. Usually pulling the person aside from others, and telling them in a helpful manner helps, but it is all the same. Essentially you are telling a guy who has spent a good bit of money, albeit it on bad gear, that what he has on does not closely resemble an original piece. The guy goes away feeling that the $1,000+ he has spent is for nothing. It also usually seems to mean that "I have good stuff, you have bad stuff."This is sad, but this is usually how it is construed.

Unfortunately you are correct in many cases, what I propose is some sort of invitational where the mainstreams can come in to work on developing their impression, sort of a campaigner light event where the emphasis is not on gear but portrayal and attitude. Equipment is easy to fix but mindset and attitude takes effort.

Trimmings
05-25-2006, 10:36 PM
Recently there have been folks touting this or that, and if you don't do AB&C, or go to XY&Z then you are mainstream.

The ultimate in hubris is saying something wasn't said immediately after it was said. Didn't that same post state, "I make the suggestion that folks who only have one impression are mainstream, and folks get all stirred up." That does mean if a person doesn't have a dual impression then he is mainstream.

I am mainstream. I am not a leper.

Ray Prosten

tompritchett
05-25-2006, 10:36 PM
By your definition, I am also a progressive mainstreamer. I primarily do mainstream events but occassionally do campaign events. While I do extensive research, it is not into the minutia of their uniforms and equipment but rather on their tactics, their drill, as well as the causes which caused them to come to arms. These are the aspects that interest me and often times the public.

indguard
05-25-2006, 11:08 PM
Tim,

I would be HAPPY to demolish your ill thought out points...
(Ha, ha)


Well, considering that some 40% of the soldiers were Irish catholic, then that means that you've got a LOT of circumcised men in the ranks... Add to that the huge number of Jews and that makes it even more problematical for you.

Sorry, no cigar... (sorry Bill Clinton)

Today, well over 60% of all male babies born are circumcised. That particular number would place the circumcised soldier today at far, FAR above the rate of what existed during the civil war. And, since most reenactors attempt to portray an average person from that era, we now can see that there will be FAR too many men circumcised today.

And, now, are you saying that most soldiers in the civil war were circumcised Irish Catholics??? Your 40% turns into less than 10% when you add up both armies, I'd bet, since most Americans were NOT Irish-Catholics. Anyway I was talking reenactors , not just Federal reenactors. I'd be interested to see you prove that 40% of ALL civil war soldiers were circumcised Irish-Catholics, though, if you are REALLY claiming that stat, which I am not sure you are?


Fillings? Well, dentists were routinely doing fillings. In fact, the collateral duty for the Hospital Steward in each regiment was to be the regimental dentist. He had access to filling material and used it.

Disingenuous claim. IF a common soldier had a filling or two it would be unusual but at least not impossible. If a reenactor had a filling or two he could at least claim they existed then. What a soldier WOULDN'T have had then would be the large NUMBER of fillings most people have today. How many people do you know in your life that only have one or two fillings? One? Two? Three people? Few people on average have less than four of five these days because dentistry is relatively cheap, highly accomplished, and readily available now.


Over 120lbs? Where in the world did you get that number? I did a comparison of the enlistment reords of the 3rd Maine Infantry. Know what? the AVERAGE hight and weight for that regiment was 68" and 180lbs

Disingenuous AGAIN! Weight at enlistment is a far different thing than weight on active campaign. You ARE aware that guys lost a bit of weight on active campaign, right? How many reenactors do you know who claim to be on the field for the first time in their impression? No, most claim to be veterans of at least a few battles if not years of effort in the army! Sure there were soldiers that stayed heavier than 120 through the whole ordeal. But, are you picking and choosing what you want, or playing to the "average" soldier impression that most reenactors properly go for?

(By the way, I am NOT suggesting it is possible for all reenactors to weigh in at less than 150 pounds!)


Several compaines of the 3rd Maine at Gettysburg were without officers. Same with other Maine regiments there. The records speak for themselves. It's a time/place situation

Disingenuous one MORE time. How many soldiers do you think attended EVERY activity and were never under the orders and watchful eye of sgts and officers like so many "hardcore" mess groups are today??? Many of these guys all pretend at private's ranks and NEVER have an officer with them. How often do you think private soldiers just wandered around an army never in the command of an officer?


I will be happy to list period accounts of both federal and Confederate soldiers enjoying not only beer...

More disingenuousness. How many of them had it out of a cooler in the trunk of their car. Or, even a little less egregious (or more egregious depending on your point of view), had an aluminum can of it in their haversack or under their blanket?


In other words, reality trumps personal predjudice.

And zealotry trumps common sense. Thanks for demonstrating it for us.


Still, all this being said, you have just confirmed my point to the other poster. When you say exclusive things like "all soldiers did this, wore this , said this, bought this..." etc., etc. you set yourself up for trouble. (Like the trouble I got from you for my points!)

We should not be saying ALL this or that. We should be taking "most", or the average, points in our impressions (unless we are at the particular event where we are portraying a particular regiment in a particular time, of course).

Further, when we say "they all were like..." we alienate those who can find so many exceptions to that rule. It makes people who make the exclusionary claims look like fools. (for the most part. Of COURSE we can all find things that just WERE "all" without exception.)

We need to set events up with either of two situations:

1) The average soldier, the common soldier will be portrayed. Nothing extremely out of the ordinary. Don't include anything in your impression that is so odd that it just wouldn't be seen for the most part. If you get too much of the "unusual" in your group, things are going down the wrong track.

2) You base your impression on a pinpoint date and regiment with specificity. But, of course, this would only work for a very few events and is usually something that must be carefully prepared for. It would not work for your normal impression at just every event you attend.

See what I mean?

Now, I ask you...

HOW many times, around your "hardcore" camp fire, has everyone been talking about the weave of your coats, the cool cloth you bought for your new shirt, the great brogan guy, the new Hardee hat you bought or the wonderful pattern of your jacket? And how often do you think the REAL soldiers gave a ******************** about the weave and color of their clothing!?? As long as they had it, that was good enough for them. They didn't give a thought to where it CAME from or how it was produced!

And how "authentic" do you think it WAS to be sitting around talking of your clothes and kit all night?

... and DON'T claim you've never seen such things. I have seen it, heard it, and participated in it.

What I am saying here is we need LESS confrontational ideas and more common sense ones.

Not ONE of us can be claimed to be perfect as a reenactor. We all have heard inauthentic comments in the ranks. Talked about the wrong subjects in camp. And have done things that are not "correct". You have and I have. And we will both do it again even if we try hard not to. But to place the crown of perfection on the "hardcores" just because a few have great kit is the kind of thing that will NOT endear you to possible recruits in the mainstream community.

Lastly, there will be those who's point will be that they don't care what happens in the mainstream community. To them I say, you have every right to feel that way. However, you have no right to accuse and complain about those evil others who don't feel like you do. You don't like them, stay only with those who feel just like you do. Stay away from mainstream units/events. But, don't claim that you want to "improve" reenacting unless you have at least some desire to "convert" a mainstreamer here and there to the cause of authenticity. If you've no intention to help others improve, then you don't want to improve reenacting but merely want your small group to keep the status quo. Improvement means moving forward, not staying still.

cal 100
05-26-2006, 01:26 AM
I think we are way past beating the dead horse here, I think the horse has been buried about 10 feet down

flattop32355
05-26-2006, 01:33 AM
I completely understand that Mark. But you have those that come on this board and claim that if you don't have a dual impression, might as well stay at home. And these are some respected members, not someone like me.Chris

Now, why on earth should we stop at a dual impression? After all, is there not a significant difference between Confederate Eastern, Western, and Trans-Mississippi? How about Eastern and Western Federal? And let's not forget Early, Mid, and Late War impressions for each of the above.

We are now up to fifteen impressions, and we haven't even touched Far-Western or any specialty impressions.

I have most of the gear to do Eastern or Western Fed or Confed. The main reason: I can afford it. Not all reenactors are so fortunate. I do it because Rebs are needed up North as much as Feds are needed down South, and while my unit is Federal, sometimes ya gotta swing the other way to balance things out. It helps the event, it helps the hobby, and it broadens my horizen to do it, although I still feel funny marching under the Stars and Bars.

If I had my druthers, we'd all be able to afford all the equipment we need to be fully rounded reenactors, gearing up as needed for each event. No one would prefer either side, because we'd all agree that we honor both sides' fighting men, if not what both sides "stood for", for lack of a better term.

But real life being what it is, that's not going to happen. I might as well wish to be young and skinny enough to look like a CW soldier. So I'll go from where I stand, do what I can, help others when I can, try to bring a bit of enlightenment to some other folk, and to remember just what it is that I really am: A re-enactor. Plain and simple. Others can call me what they want; that says more about them than it does me.

As a side note: I've not run into very many non-respected members here, and you ain't one of 'em, so you fall into the "respected member" class also. Some of us are a bit louder and more opinionated than some others, but most all are respected.

Pvt Schnapps
05-26-2006, 08:11 AM
Are you circumsized? Then you are incorrect.

Do you have fillings in your mouth? Then you are incorrect.

Are you over 120 pounds? Then you are incorrect.

Do you have only 3 guys in your group? Then you are incorrect.

Do you never have an officer around? Then you are incorrect.

Do you occaisonally have a beer after hours? Then you are incorrect.


Warner Todd Huston

Good points, and you can add the presence of starlings and house sparrows as additional inauthentic touches.

But just for the record, for Company C, 82nd Illinois, circumcision is absolutely correct. For the rest of the 82nd, the beer is.

lazyrebel2
05-26-2006, 08:19 AM
Was at New Market, Had a great time. Wish more events were like this one.
I am glad to see the hobby going from mega events to mid to small events.
When I started in Dec 83 a big event was 300 people total, and we had a great time. Now with more people, you have more politics. Oh well, I will go to some events and not to others.

bill watson
05-26-2006, 08:44 AM
Circumcision?

Ok, I'm making up a 3x5 card now for the federal inspection checklist at registration for Shenandoah 62. Should I add short-arm inspection to the list?

Cripes, we'll all be arrested. AND we'll make the evening news. Recruitment tool?

hanktrent
05-26-2006, 09:33 AM
Now, I ask you...

HOW many times, around your "hardcore" camp fire, has everyone been talking about the weave of your coats, the cool cloth you bought for your new shirt, the great brogan guy, the new Hardee hat you bought or the wonderful pattern of your jacket? And how often do you think the REAL soldiers gave a ******************** about the weave and color of their clothing!?? As long as they had it, that was good enough for them. They didn't give a thought to where it CAME from or how it was produced!

And how "authentic" do you think it WAS to be sitting around talking of your clothes and kit all night?

... and DON'T claim you've never seen such things. I have seen it, heard it, and participated in it.

Everyone's hung up on circumcision, and nobody's commented on the above, which in theory would be easy to fix, if "hardcores" wanted to. Funny, huh.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

tompritchett
05-26-2006, 10:16 AM
Should I add short-arm inspection to the list?
Should cut down on the galtroops. :lol:

MStuart
05-26-2006, 10:40 AM
Circumcision?

Should I add short-arm inspection to the list?



Bill:

I had a pretty good guffaw because I hadn't seen that term in many moons. However, is there a period manual that covers the proper way to conduct such? Because if you're gonna do this, by God you're gonna do it right! It ain't gonna be done half-a$$ed!! Pun intended.

Mark

ewtaylor
05-26-2006, 11:06 AM
Lads;

I certainly did not intend for this thread to drag on to two pages. I guess I was just frustrated and took the comments by Chris Anders and Bill W. the wrong way. I certainly apologize if I offended anyone by bringing this up.

I can see the intent and rationale for the argurments that have been made.

regards;

Chris
Its not your fault. This argument has been going on for years. It springs up here usually 2-3 times a year with someone's panties in a bundle. It doesn't matter which "side" of the hobby you are on spectators know the difference. Most don't care because it is somewhere to take the kids and watch the cannons go boom.
ew taylor

MDRebCAv
05-26-2006, 11:15 AM
I think what all this labeling stuff boils down to is the "ME" factor.

If someone has a worse kit or overall impression than ME--I can feel superior and call him a "farb".

If someone is really into the material culture more than I am or has a better First Person impression--than I can feel superior and brush him off as "one of those hard-cores."

Either way I am wrong though. I figure most of us are "progressive" anyway, no matter where we may fall on the scale of f/m/hc/c...we start at some lower level in the hobby and progress to some higher level as we move along. Each at his own pace, as finanaces and circumstances allow.

I considermyself to be a "Mainstream Progressive" (labels, labels, labels!) and know some really great mainstreamers and some really great campaigners.

Mark, Sorry we missed you at New Market--we tried to support a local event but we'll be there next year. Looking forward to your leadership once more at Cedar Creek.

bill watson
05-26-2006, 11:18 AM
"Everyone's hung up on circumcision, and nobody's commented on the above, which in theory would be easy to fix, if "hardcores" wanted to. Funny, huh.

Hank Trent"

"The above" being staying away from non-authentic discussions....

Hank, I was going to comment on it, but the only comment possible is that I know of only two people who are capable of the discipline necessary to keep the conversation where it belongs, and they are both named Trent.

AZReenactor
05-26-2006, 01:10 PM
Everyone's hung up on circumcision, and nobody's commented on the above [staying away from non-authentic discussions], which in theory would be easy to fix, if "hardcores" wanted to. Funny, huh.

Hank, I think this is a good point. Out here our unit has been working to make non-period talk as inapropiate at authentic events as coolers, cots, or coleman lanterns. Once the event goes live, farbisms, including non-period talk, are to come to a halt. Starting a discussion on gear is as welcome as whipping out a mag-light for a trip to the sinks. From my perspective it certainly is a very positive approach and well worth the effort.

AZReenactor
05-26-2006, 02:06 PM
So can someone now stand up and clearly tell me what makes someone a mainstreamer?

I know you asked about the definition of mainstreamer but here is my spin on what it means to be an authentic, progressive, hardcore, whatever label you want to give it.

Seems to me , too often authenticity is viewed as a list of don'ts, ie. don't use enamel speckle ware, don't bring the wife and kids to a military event, don't sit around all night discussing the movie Zulu, don't get circumcised, don't .... Really I think reenacting is all in the things one does, ie. do wear authentic and correct gear, do observe military discipline and order, do the duties that the soldiers did back then, do discuss period topics and ideas, do sleep and eat authentically, do behave as a soldier from the time period being portrayed..

Sleeping in an A frame doesn't make one a farb, failing to sleep in an authentic manner for the time, unit, and person being portrayed keeps one farther from being authentic. Wearing thick purple sack coats from Pakistan doesn't make one farby, failing to wear coats made from correct materials following correct patterns using correct methods keeps one farther from being authentic. There will certainly always be things we could do to be more authentic, the oft repeated live ammo and lice suggestions comes to mind. The key is not to see how far from authentic one can get and still call themselves authentic, but rather how close we can reasonably get without actually risking health, safety, or criminal consequences.

The authentic minded reenactor doesn't get frustrated when someone tells them they could do something to be more authentic, they reply "Oh really? Sack coats aren't supposed to be made from heavy, purple flannel? Well what should they be made from and how can I get a coorect one? Tell me more." "You mean soldiers didn't sleep in wall tents with their wife and kids back then? They didn't carry around big ice chests of food for the weekend? Where did their families live? How did they get by for days, weeks and months without refrigeration. Did they have to kill or harvest food on a daily basis to keep it from spoiling? Tell me more about about how they did things back then so I can emulate them accurately." I may not be able to regrow the foreskin taken from me but by darn there are a heck of a lot of other things I can do to improve my impression.

It is easy fairly easy to spot many of the things that soldiers didn't do back in '61-65 but takes more work to figure out what soldiers actually did. Some people simply watch Gone with the Wind or Gettysburg and think they have a grasp of the history needed to depict the era. Some go a step further and actually read M. Mitchell's novel or even Killer Angels. Some pick up several books on the Civil War, others even read them. Then still others actually start reading soldier letters, service records, period manuals and official reports.

The problem (or challenge and blessing for some) is that there is always so much more to do. There is always a way to improve one's persona, kit, knowledge, or understanding. The difference lies in how much one is willing to make those changes in thier pursuit of portraying the American Civil War.

MStuart
05-26-2006, 02:35 PM
I never thought the day would come when we discussed how authentic one's genitals were, but here it is. What's next, size? Virginians were bigger than Mainers? I'd like to see the odnance returns on that one. Lord help us!!!!!!!!!!

With tongue firmly in cheek

Mark Circumcised and damned proud of it

indguard
05-26-2006, 03:37 PM
With tongue firmly in cheek

As long as it is JUST in your cheek!

Ha, ha.

indguard
05-26-2006, 03:40 PM
you can add the presence of starlings and house sparrows as additional inauthentic touches.

Nope. can't add those unless they are in your haversack!
:)

Stickbug
05-26-2006, 03:43 PM
God Bless our troops and bring them home safely

Mark

Hear, hear, Mark.

Thanks for remembering the "big picture" to all this.

Doug

hanktrent
05-26-2006, 06:37 PM
Hank, I was going to comment on it, but the only comment possible is that I know of only two people who are capable of the discipline necessary to keep the conversation where it belongs, and they are both named Trent.

Hate to say it, but there's also everyone who attended Smithville (Road to Goldsboro civilians) last month, Katy Vogel's Ft. Duffield civilians in 2005, and about 90% of those who attended the Inn at Peak's Mill, and about 75% of the Davis Run/McDowell civilians, and those are just the events that I was personally there to see. I hear you didn't do too shabby at Struggle for Statehood yourself. :)

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

cblodg
05-26-2006, 07:52 PM
did this get off track or what? If there is research on this topic, I probably wouldn't want to know...

Lord help me.

Chris

bill watson
05-26-2006, 09:17 PM
Look at it this way, Chris: We made history here today and expanded the universe of authenticity in ways that will astonish and delight folks for years to come.

Stitch counting is so five minutes ago.

cblodg
05-26-2006, 09:41 PM
Look at it this way, Chris: We made history here today and expanded the universe of authenticity in ways that will astonish and delight folks for years to come.

Stitch counting is so five minutes ago.

The ultimate in original contribution. My college professor would have been so proud.

Chris

indguard
05-26-2006, 09:59 PM
Stitch counting is so five minutes ago.

Oh, not to worry. It will just take the very next "hardkewel" campfire to get it going once again!

Fatback and Beans
05-27-2006, 01:36 AM
Should I add short-arm inspection to the list?I would suggest that pinging the rammer should only be done by a certified urologist.

Joseph Hodges

MStuart
05-27-2006, 12:21 PM
I would suggest that pinging the rammer should only be done by a certified urologist.

Joseph Hodges

I hate it when coffee comes out my nose. Good one, Joe!

I'd also suggest we watch closely who volunteers to do the inspection. Especially if they offer to do it "pro bono". (Personally, I'd feel better if the "Doc" wanted an inordinant amount of up front cash, but that's just me)

Mark

MDConfederate
05-27-2006, 11:32 PM
I don't know if being able to portray a soldier from either side makes one more or less of a reenactor. Lets face it there are some sutlers out there selling poor quality kits that could allow one to portray both sides in a very easy and cheap way. Just because one can switch teams doesn't always make them a great player.

I feel it is the attitude that one takes with them when they go out and purchase their kits, the attitude they have of preparing for an event, and the attitude they have while at an event that makes a difference. When I started reenacting I was told "the more you put into reenacting, the more you're gonna get out of it." Originally, I started as a Confederate and had the attitude that I'd never do blue. A few years went by and I wanted more out of my reenacting experience. I also wanted to see better troop ratios, so I got a cheap Federal kit and gave it a shot. I then realized how much I didn't know about the Civil War because I had always looked at if from a Southern point of view. I wanted to learn more. I started attending more campaign events which helped me upgade both US and CS kits. You can learn a heck of a lot more preparing for a campaign event than preparing for your annual mainstream event like Gettysburg. At campaign events you always know which regiment your are portraying and can read up on it several months in advance, but at mainstream events we are lucky if we know who we are when we take the field.

Forget all the politics. I just like to learn new stuff. Sometimes learning is tough especially when we already feel like an "expert." One guy started telling me all this stuff about how to improve my Federal accoutrements. It really got annoying and I wanted to tell the guy, "Get out of my face! Your a jerk." But, I was polite and patient. I took my time, swallowed some pride, and asked myself is this guy right? Can I do better? I did some research and found the guy was right and that I can do better. I improved and am proud of my progress.

I know doing both sides has enhanced my reenacting experience. It helps to experience reenacting from both sides. I often think of how much the average Yank had in common with the average Reb. That's the real tragedy of the War. For me, my reenacting experience would be incomplete if I didn't try to see the war from both sides. But, you've gotta be serious about it. I could go the cheap route and put together both US and CS impressions for a very reasonable price but that doesn't make it right. To do it right will probably cost at least twice as much money and significantly more time and energy. The high cost isn't fun, but taking time to research and learn is fun for me. I feel good knowing I am doing the right thing. Some might label me as a "campaigner" while others might call me a "mainstreamer" or "fence sitter." I don't care what you want to call me. I just want to do a good job, and if I come home from an event feeling like a did the best I could, then it was fun and worth it.

John A. Wyman

frankstevanus
05-28-2006, 07:19 AM
I agree with what John says. But I also understand that it is a hobby and NOT a lifestyle. Still a newbie in this sport I try to be as authentic as possible. I have leaarned a great deal from the campaigners. Those guys have done thier homework and really do know thier stuff. Why not tap into thier wealth of knowledge and improve your impression?
But I also don't see that having a dual impression makes you any more authentic. I use only the best, most authentic cavalry tack available. And man that gets expensive! So I understand guys who don't want to go out and spend $1500.00 just on confederate tack and then turn around and throw that much again on the blue stuff. It is thier money.
But I think John really hit the nail on the head when he pointed out the ultimate purpose was to continually strive for improvement. If you constantly have this mind set, go to events and watch what others are wearing and doing (not from a critical standpoint, but rather from a learning one) you will be doing your best.
What I have a problem with, and I think most of the other guys as well, is the guy who knows what he is doing is incorrect and keeps doing it (for what ever reason). Last winter in one of the shops up in Gettysburg I met a guy who had on the "typical farby" stuff. Purple Ostrich plume (fresh plucked from the rare Purple Alabama Ostrich, I suppose) cotton/polyester knit gray uniform, cavalry boots with light blue trim (federal reproduction saber hand crafted in the republic of China) and on and on..... When I talked to him about his "kit" even he admitted that it was incorrect (imagine that!) but that he wore it because he 'thought it looked good for the spectators". Now that is the kind of stuff that drives (and rightly so) the campaigners nuts.
The point is, I don't think (and I have never heard this from any of the campaigners I know) that a dual impression makes you more or less authentic. It is the quality and intent of what you do have that set your place in this hobby.
What ever you have or can get, make sure it is the most authentic you can reasonably believe it to be. Better one good than two bad impressions. (And no purple ostirch plumes, now!)
Frank Stevanus

MDConfederate
05-28-2006, 10:33 AM
For many years I've been trying to figure out what reenacting is. Some say it's a "hobby." Other's say it's a "lifestyle." I tend to view it as an "experience." This can be many different things for many different people. I'm always looking to enhance my reenacting experience. If one want to broaden one's reenacting experience and expand one's understanding of the war, it helps to do both sides. I'd feel like I'm missing something if I didn't do both blue and gray.

Sure, I realize money can be a factor for many of us, but I've noticed a lot of borrowing goes on among campaigners. I'm borrowing an officers kepi for Shen. 62 because I don't have one and currently don't have the funds to get a good one of my own. I'm lending a shell jacket because one of the guys in my group doesn't have one with the black trim.

At one of the sutlers at G-burg I've noticed one can get a cheap US uniform for $200 and a cheap CS uniform for $200. To do it correctly it would cost at least twice as much and that doesn't include accoutrements and weapons. I'd rather see someone put their money into one really good authentic impression with the hope of developing a second impression later on down the road. I've seen a lot of guys spend money on unnecessary junk at sutlers, and I've done the same. After losing or breaking a couple of camp chairs, I started asking myself, why buy that stuff when I could put that money towards a new jacket or hat? I've basically gone through a major transformation in 10 years. I learned to set aside a little bit of money every week for my reenacting fund. When I go to events (about one a month) I try to buy at least one new useful item. If I don't see anything, I save the money and put it towards the next event. Before a campaign event I review the uniform guidelines and look for that one most noticeable item that I need to upgade the most for that particular event. After 5 years you tend to be capable of adjusting to the needs of most events.

What I wear at events is totally different from what I started with 10 years ago. It would have been a lot cheaper for me in the long run if I had just started with the good stuff in the beginning. I just didn't know any better when I started.

John A. Wyman

HighPrvt
05-28-2006, 03:40 PM
You may be a Farb if you allow fire ants to bite you since they weren't around here back then.....

MDConfederate
05-28-2006, 09:03 PM
Gosh! I just hate it when fire ants Farbs up my weekend. By the way who's bringing the lice to the next event?

John A. Wyman

indguard
05-28-2006, 10:49 PM
I tried to eat an apple... but they told me it was too big because it was modern in that it was geneticaly enhanced through an additional 150 years of cross breeding.

Same with my onion.

And my potato.

And my carrots.

And my water had been treated with flouride.

I can't even EAT anything at an event without being a farb!

tompritchett
05-29-2006, 12:23 AM
I tried to eat an apple... but they told me it was too big because it was modern in that it was geneticaly enhanced through an additional 150 years of cross breeding.

Same with my onion.

And my potato.

And my carrots.


But if they had had them, they would have used them :lol:

Button Whizzer
05-29-2006, 09:14 AM
I tried to drill, but they told me Heitmann's Simplified Hardee's was wrong because it is printed with modern inks on bleached paper. I can't even DRILL at an event without being a farb!

Brandon

madisontigers
05-29-2006, 11:03 AM
Someone told me tha reenacting meant that you actually tried to recreate a soldiers life. Whatever man, I thought you just wore whatever you wanted, drank from coolers, and had a place to bitch about work.Shoot, everyone knows that sacrificing modern amenities for a day or two doesn't honor the men of 61-65. The spectators dont care what we wear; they never believe that the actions we portray relate and present a picture of what those men did.

BobSullivanPress
06-02-2006, 02:34 PM
Hello,

Every once in a while, I can figure out how to sign in here, and so I can post. And I normally don't like to get into these mud-slinging discussions, but since I can't take it when people measure authenticity by the yard (of cloth), i.e., solely on uniform kit appearance, here is my attempt at a checklist for authenticity:

(Flames Welcome)

If you lay *every* item that you wear (clothing and kit) or carry (equipment and personal items) next to a companion original, does it look the same? Same construction, same materials, similar color (allowing for age). Oh and by the way, if there isn't a comparable item from the mid-19th century, you can't use or carry yours.

If you had your tintype taken in all of this stuff, do you look like people back then looked?

If you are a soldier, performing your drill and marching in front of a professional military drill instructor, would you feel comfortable inviting their comments on your skill and knowledge?

If you are a soldier, can you explain the drill and maneuvers (that a person of your portrayed rank would know) well enough so that other people can do it?

Can you recite the schedule of a camp, from reveille to tattoo without stopping to think about it?

Would it be easy for you to attend a 36-hour event using only the clothing and items that you previously favorably compared to originals, and using nothing else?

If you *had* to do a first-person character, would you be able to spend at least 5 minutes describing what your life was like before the war started?

To me, if you can answer all these questions with an honest "yes", then you are well within the range of authenticity. To me it isn't just the clothes or the look. Other things are equally important. If you'd like explanations as to why I included only these topics, I'll post further.

ilfed104
06-03-2006, 12:54 AM
I tried to drill, but they told me Heitmann's Simplified Hardee's was wrong because it is printed with modern inks on bleached paper. I can't even DRILL at an event without being a farb!

Brandon

If you take Heitman's Simplified Hardee's as your drill manual you won't be able to drill properly. I bought one when I was a newbie (many moons ago) and finally threw it away because of the errors. It is, in a word, JUNK.

Do your self a favor and buy copies of the original manuals and learn from them. If you still don't get it, find someone who does and ask them to explain it to you.

Doug Cooper
06-03-2006, 01:36 AM
Hello,

Every once in a while, I can figure out how to sign in here, and so I can post. And I normally don't like to get into these mud-slinging discussions, but since I can't take it when people measure authenticity by the yard (of cloth), i.e., solely on uniform kit appearance, here is my attempt at a checklist for authenticity:

(Flames Welcome)

If you lay *every* item that you wear (clothing and kit) or carry (equipment and personal items) next to a companion original, does it look the same? Same construction, same materials, similar color (allowing for age). Oh and by the way, if there isn't a comparable item from the mid-19th century, you can't use or carry yours.

If you had your tintype taken in all of this stuff, do you look like people back then looked?

If you are a soldier, performing your drill and marching in front of a professional military drill instructor, would you feel comfortable inviting their comments on your skill and knowledge?

If you are a soldier, can you explain the drill and maneuvers (that a person of your portrayed rank would know) well enough so that other people can do it?

Can you recite the schedule of a camp, from reveille to tattoo without stopping to think about it?

Would it be easy for you to attend a 36-hour event using only the clothing and items that you previously favorably compared to originals, and using nothing else?

If you *had* to do a first-person character, would you be able to spend at least 5 minutes describing what your life was like before the war started?

To me, if you can answer all these questions with an honest "yes", then you are well within the range of authenticity. To me it isn't just the clothes or the look. Other things are equally important. If you'd like explanations as to why I included only these topics, I'll post further.

Very, very well said Bob. Post further!!

Not a big fan of lables but if one needs examples, perhaps these will suffice:

These are farbs: http://www.1stvirginia.com/

These are hardcores: http://www.texasgroundhornets.com/

These are mainstreamers: http://nwcwc.org/

And will someone please tell me what stitches I am supposed to be counting?

Bill_Cross
06-05-2006, 01:03 PM
These are hardcores: http://www.texasgroundhornets.com/
These fine gents (who along with you are helping to put on Red River next year, a very challenging and worthy event, I might add) unfortunately suffer from the same problem I and many in our hobby do:

large size-ness.

We're too well-fed and healthy to be entirely authentic, and in many cases, too old. The average age of the Civil War soldier was.... well, I better not say, as I'm looonnnngg past that birthday.

Labels are meaningless. We're all moving towards the goal, and haven't gotten there.

Mr. Moderator: this post somehow morphed into 2. Please delete this version. Sorry for the mix-up.

Bill_Cross
06-05-2006, 01:08 PM
These are hardcores: http://www.texasgroundhornets.com/
These fine gents (who along with you are helping to put on Red River next year, a very challenging and worthy event, I might add) unfortunately suffer from the same problem I and many in our hobby do:

large size-ness.

We're too well-fed and healthy to be entirely authentic, and in many cases, too old. The average age of the Civil War soldier was.... well, I better not say, as I'm looonnnngg past that birthday.

Labels are meaningless. We're all moving towards the goal, and haven't gotten there. Bob Sullivan's post is a great rule-of-thumb, though, for anyone who is looking for more than just the usual beer, battle and ball event.

And though I've said it before, let me say it again: my son and I walk in and out of most events with everything we need for the weekend on our backs. When we used to help out at Fort Delaware's Don Hubbard Field Music School, we were often the first reenactors off the island, while many of the others (mostly mainstreamers) manhandled their duffle bags and trunks (you read that correctly).

The last mainstream event I did (Gettysburg 2000), it took me 2 hours to pack up my mini-van with the cots, cooler, hangers, A-tent, poles, citronella candles, bug repellent, blankets, civilian clothes, etc.

RJSamp
06-05-2006, 01:17 PM
Bill: we aren't all moving towards the goal....and some of us are farther down the path than others.

Someone who is Not even attempting to move towards the goal is labelled a 'farb'.

The few hundred who are 'nearest' the goal are labelled hard cores. The mainstreamers and progressives in the middle are just on different 'rungs' of the march towards the goal.

As you point out, there are many facets towards achieving the goal..... age and fatness being just part of it.

Labels are convenient generalized descriptors of complex entities.....meaningless? Don't think so, but then I'm a realist. Oops, there's another label.

Bill_Cross
06-05-2006, 01:22 PM
"The failure of some events to employ historic force ratios is one of the biggest threats to the portrayal of historically accurate scenarios at those events."
OK, as the one who started this with tongue somewhat in cheek, let me get serious: force ratio problems are directly related to the issue of single impressions. It's a matter of no debate that there are more folks who do only gray than those who do only blue. If you limit gray at your event, you're hostage to the problem of attracting Yankees to shoot at.

Another problem with relying entirely on force ratios is that it limits the number of umbrella groups that can work on a project. For example, if I invite the Stonewall Brigade, then I can't have Chris Anders' boys do gray. Like the Rowdy Pards, they get tired, too, of always being asked to come in blue "for the good of the hobby." So if I'm going to raise troops for an event (beyond raising a company's worth of Federals), I'm going to make sure it's in a year when Chris et al. are itching to wear the blue suit. Then, if I can get the attention of the Potomac Legion and various other small blue groups, I MIGHT have enough Federals to get by.

I realize it's entirely impossible to shame, cajole or otherwise convince single-impression reenactors to develp a second impression, but the corollary to the problem of unequal forces is the lack of cooperation in the campaigner wing of the hobby. There simply aren't enough good people working on organizing events for us to rely on single impressions. We need more dual-impression groups.

Imagine how much easier it would be to put on good events if we could just get good people involved and not have to worry about them only coming in one color?

Bill_Cross
06-05-2006, 01:31 PM
Bill: we aren't all moving towards the goal....and some of us are farther down the path than others.
RJ, you and I know how far we need to go; I suspect a lot of others do, too. It's the ones who think they've reached Nirvana and don't need to go any further who are a bigger problem than those who are aware of it. You find them in both wings of the hobby.

Someone who is Not even attempting to move towards the goal is labelled a 'farb'.
I've been labeled a farb and a mainstream plant. Sticks and stones.

The few hundred who are 'nearest' the goal are labelled hard cores.Are they really nearer the goal? Many campaigner events forbid vests in the ranks. This is simply wrong-headed. Enlisted men purchased vests or had them sent from home. Forbidding them in so-called "authentic" events is substituting one farbism for another, yet the practice persisted for years.

As you point out, there are many facets towards achieving the goal..... age and fatness being just part of it.So far, Bob Sullivan has said it best.

I'm a realist.
I don't know what label to use. I've had so many applied to me. Take your pick. Again, sticks and stones....

SixUpCharley
06-05-2006, 06:14 PM
I have some pards in Texas that might take exception to Mr Cross' posts. I sure hope they don't get their dander up.

Charley P

flattop32355
06-05-2006, 08:44 PM
These fine gents...unfortunately suffer from the same problem I and many in our hobby do: large size-ness.

We're too well-fed and healthy to be entirely authentic, and in many cases, too old. The average age of the Civil War soldier was.... well, I better not say, as I'm looonnnngg past that birthday.

Let us not lose sight of one verrrrrrry important point: We are not Civil War soldiers. We only portray them to some degree.

Each of us has his drawbacks that affect our accuracy of impression, be it age, weight, financial stability, distance to battlefields/events, level of dedication to the hobby, or whatever. Should we choose to exclude those who do not meet just the age/weight authenticity standard, for example, we'd be losing a lot of very good reenactors, quite possibly the majority of those who now participate, and to no real gain for the hobby or the public.

While enjoying this crazy hobby immensely, I have no real desire to now live in the standards of that day. I much prefer this time period for day-to-day living, including the higher living and health standards.

I'm not trying to BE a civil war soldier, only to portray some basic portion of him to myself, my comrades and the public, so that we can get a taste of the way it was for them. That's really about all we can reasonably do.

Oh, Mr. Sullivan....why wait to start the day at reveille, when you can take it back to First Call (drum or bugle)?

Bill_Cross
06-06-2006, 04:22 PM
I have some pards in Texas that might take exception to Mr Cross' posts. I sure hope they don't get their dander up.I would hope that the good things I said about their upcoming event would leaven the fun I poked at their larger members (and myself). If not, well, there's nothing I can do about folks who get their dander up except send them a coupon for dandruff shampoo.

Mr. Biederman wrote:

I'm not trying to BE a civil war soldier, only to portray some basic portion of him to myself, my comrades and the public, so that we can get a taste of the way it was for them. That's really about all we can reasonably do.That's true for all of us. It's when we start believing we've reached the end of that road when trouble starts. The Texas Ground Hornets are bully folks from what I can see. I'm sure their Red River event next Spring will be a corker.