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View Full Version : My favorite part about going to an event as a campaigner...



cblodg
06-10-2006, 11:20 AM
Okay;

Lets here why we go to events as campaigners.

My personal favorite, I have everything on my back, my self and my pard get to the parking lot early, change, and leave.

Don't have to drag his car down to the main camp and spend another hour plus packing up the dog tents and extra gear.

So what's yours, and you can repeat.

Chris

bill watson
06-10-2006, 12:16 PM
The conversion from "event-think" to "military think." Operating by the bugle instead of the schedule. By Sunday morning, the conversion into an actual unit that can pick up and move in ten minutes, deploy, fortify and fight. Seeing guys make do with very little and be comfortable doing it. Seeing guys do things they didn't think they could do. Seeing guys get a taste, at least, of what it was like.

flattop32355
06-10-2006, 02:11 PM
Doing what I didn't think I could do.

Getting a better feel for how it was really done.

Better combat scenarios. Fighting in the woods, crossing streams; crossing terrain, not just parked in a field at close range.

Building a believeable breastworks or entrenchment in half an hour out of the materials at hand. I wouldn't have believed it possible if I hadn't done it.

Combining rations and labor to create a meal worth eating.

Many, many more......

tenfed1861
06-10-2006, 03:11 PM
Being able to leave at a moments notice.Getting to do good quality events without having to worry about a bunch of farbs farbing it up.Being asked to do stuff for "Wide Awake".Getting into the mind of the actual men we portray.
Cullen Smith

madisontigers
06-10-2006, 11:35 PM
Yes, and it goves you more respect for what those men went through. It's also hard to convey to the public how difficult a soldiers life was. With beer cans, coolers,sleeping bags, cots, and tons of straw around people tend tp not look at the possible sacrifies the men, we are attempting to portray, may have suffered through.I always feel like I have challenged myself, gone through with that challenge, and help the public understand the sacrifices those men made.

Regards,
David Long

Rob
06-11-2006, 01:14 AM
Being able to get everything from the car to the camp, and vice versa, in one trip.

VaTrooper
06-11-2006, 01:15 AM
Getting to leave my mainstream pards behind.

Wild Rover
06-11-2006, 08:58 AM
Getting a real Civil War experience.

Not a watered down version thereof.

Pards,

FWL
06-11-2006, 10:47 AM
Getting pretty good cooking that period food in a mucket or canteen half. Actually created a recipe I am using at home (is that bad or what). Pork and rice stew at home on Friday, night watch the Sox beat the Yankees. Clean my musket. Life is good.

Bill_Cross
06-11-2006, 12:46 PM
Imagining what THEY experienced, since we can't really experience it (though it's harder when the person next to you is eating Pop Tarts or talking about going to "sutler row").

Bringing together disparite pards and groups, often from all over the place, to build a working facimile of the unit we're portraying.

Fir-per. Yes, first person. I love it. Hate listening to hobby politics or other modern ****. Give me a chance to speak German, and I'm there for the weekend.

Making do with what's at hand for cleaning my rifle (it seems I have 50 different cleaners, tools and paraphenalia at home). Amazing what a piece of cloth and some cinders can do for brass, too.

Watching the amazing impressions of fellow campaigners. Not just the gear. Will never forget the "camp show" put on by the participants at "Berkeley Hundred" years back. The "Pyramis and Thisbee" scene from "A Mid-Summer's Night's Dream" will never be the same for me. Or remembering an inebriated Rich Hill going down to the laundresses' tent and challenging them to a game of base ball.

Waking up Sunday morning with my three day's rations in my belly Friday night and thinking "I understand better why foraging was worth a court martial or even death."

Hating my officers because they make us do military things and show up to events with a schedule that rivals what THEY did back then, not meeting Saturday AM to figure out what to do until the sham battle. Hating ossifers is period-correct.

Doing the simple, everyday things THEY did, like:

1.) building a fire in the rain with wet matches with Fran Kiger;

2.) spooning with my son despite his twitching in his sleep;

3.) listening to fellow Rowdy Pards read from a dime novel in the mist while on guard duty;

4.) watching retired RP Amos Reynolds slink through the night like an Indian fighter;

5.) stumbling through the Wilderness, where the black powder smoke and the brambles and trees cut visibility to a few feet;

6.) listening to Bill Rodman complain;

7.) working with fine people to build events that bring home a more encompassing experience.

That's enough, let me pass the mike to someone else.

MDConfederate
06-11-2006, 09:50 PM
I like going to campaign events because its easy. Sure I like the authenticity and the more military feeling the campaign events provide, but being a campaigner is just easier for me. At Shenandoah 62 the regiment I was commanding had to relocate from one camp site to another Saturday night. We hadn't done anything wrong. The Confederate brigade just needed a regiment camped up at Madison Hall for diplomatic reasons to establish a relationship with the land owner on what had been the site of Jackson's HQ. The men grumbled. I felt badly for them after march most of the day, but we made the move quickly. Once we understood the reason for the move and the importance of the ground, the guys seemed very understanding. I like the ablity to travel light and move quickly.

It is assumed that the period rations aren't very good and even could lead to food poisoning, but it seems this is assumed by those who have never tried it. It is pretty cool once one realizes it is possible to survive the weekend without a cooler. As for rain and other forms of bad weather, it isn't much fun, but when you've learned to survive it with nothing but a gum blanket and shelter half, it sure builds pride. By doing campaign events I feel like I'm challenging myself and making some sort of accomplishment that I can feel proud of.

By the way, Frank Lilley, if you read this please email me at winderranger@comcast.net. I just have a quick question.

John A. Wyman

BobSullivanPress
06-13-2006, 11:28 AM
Back in the dark ages, when we were just called "Authentics", my favorite part was the following, which I believe happenned to me 3 times in my reenacting career:

1. Going to an event with just the proper "stuff".

2. Finding yourself in a situation in which you have to improvise something, where you need a certain implement, you don't have it, so you use something else. Or you have to accomplish a certain task, but you have no idea how.

3. Performing these improvisations and getting the job done.

4. Returning home, and then while reading a book written by a veteran aobut his experiences, reading that he also found himself in the same situation, and improvised in exactly the same way you did.

tenfed1861
06-13-2006, 04:10 PM
Women dig campaigners!!!
Cullen Smith

Doug Cooper
06-13-2006, 11:14 PM
I tried a big tent once - just could not get to sleep.

My car is not big enough to carry all that extra stuff.

but the major reason is: THEY WERE CAMPAIGNERS

AZReenactor
06-14-2006, 12:24 PM
Car Pooling with four campaigners in a small car beats the heck out of renting a truck to haul tents, flies, poles, cast iron cooking grates and gear, coolers of food and ice, numerous changes of uniforms, cots, sleeping bags, blankets and extra canvas to hide stuff under, cases of beer, a goodzillion rounds of ammo, cans of powder and extra newspaper to roll more rounds when needed, candle lanterns, kerosene lanterns, camp chairs, and all the other ******************** that tends to clutter up most all mainstream reenacting camps. All the money saved in gas and not buying unneeded garbage allows me to buy better, high quality, authentic gear and a library of reference books. :-)

Oh, I also greatly value the feeling of having been actually portraying and experiencing a glimpse of the life of a Civil War soldier, not merely participating in a bit of old-timey camping with poorly scripted and performed sham battles.

rebel yell
06-14-2006, 07:57 PM
I like it because it's only one trip from the truck, I have everything I need on me.

Linda Trent
06-14-2006, 09:19 PM
Women dig campaigners!!!
Cullen Smith

Heck, some of us *are* campaigners, or at least the civilian equivalent. We can campaign/flee the coming army with just what we can carry at an event, or we can garrison/live in a house with all the material culture necessary to make it appear as though we actually live there. We actually get to do many of the same kinds of things, and worry about many of the same things (by immersing ourselves into our characters) our civilian counterparts would have done under the same circumstances.

I agree with everyone else, it's so much easier not having to haul around a tent, a cooler, and half a million other things that I did during my first couple of events, 15 years ago. And it's so much more fun to study up the kinds of things that concerned the civilian in that time and place and create a character through whom the story of the specific time and place can be conveyed. We all learn a lot more than we do at other kinds of events. :-)

Linda Trent.

reddcorp
06-15-2006, 10:50 AM
Just to see if I can still do it.

55 and still alive

A. W. Redd

bulletsponge
06-17-2006, 09:44 PM
Not having to hear "I dunno nuttin' about my regiment. I'm just here to keep the beer cold".

Argh.

Brandon313
06-23-2006, 11:43 PM
1 reason

because thats what they were

Button Whizzer
06-26-2006, 10:28 PM
At Shenandoah 62 the regiment I was commanding had to relocate from one camp site to another Saturday night.

John,

How many men were in this regiment and how little time did it take you to move camp. Being able to move quickly from one place to another is a great part of campaigning. Just think how long it would take if they all had to break down common tents and wall tents at a rate of one per man and one per officer, respectively.

Brandon

flattop32355
06-27-2006, 08:12 AM
Just think how long it would take if they all had to break down common tents and wall tents at a rate of one per man and one per officer, respectively.


Keep in mind that at this time, the eastern Federals were transitioning to shelter halves, and the valley troops may well not have gotten them yet. So their A-frames would have been in the wagon trains somewhere to the rear.

While the one man per tent part would be incorrect, the tentage may well have been accurate.

FWL
06-27-2006, 08:18 AM
John,

How many men were in this regiment and how little time did it take you to move camp. Being able to move quickly from one place to another is a great part of campaigning. Just think how long it would take if they all had to break down common tents and wall tents at a rate of one per man and one per officer, respectively.

Brandon


Brandon I was in John's Battalion. There were about 60 to 70 of us (John correct me if I'm wrong). I had a medical mishap with my knee (found out later it was a small cartilage tear). Inspite of that it took me about 5 min to pack up my kit and gather up our company's rations in a gum blanket, and about 10 min to hobble up the road to the grounds of a farm that formerly served as General Jacksons HQ in 1862. Easy. Nice event. Good ground.

Frank Lilley
formerly 1st Maryland, ANV

Brandon313
06-27-2006, 08:24 PM
was this on the first day or the second day of the event at Shenandoah? i was there with the 26th NC.

tompritchett
06-28-2006, 01:37 PM
It was Saturday night. The battalion he is talking about was camped down by the river on the right. My pards were the last to leave because literally half of our members had gone to the store when the order to move out came and we had to send a runner out to find them. We were not happy campers at the time but s**t happens and you have to roll with the punches. Besides, it was just another SNAFU - a true military term that was probably just as applicable then as it is today.

Brandon313
06-28-2006, 01:52 PM
haha i remember that store, i tell you, that period correct gatorade i got to swill after the march sure hit the spot!!

really makes you appreciate modern luxuries doesnt it!

tompritchett
06-28-2006, 01:59 PM
Wouldn't know. I stayed in camp cutting up firewood and resting the blisters on my feet - both of which made me less happy about the move. First, I had cut up all this wood only to have to leave it for someone else (had some nice blisters on my hand also) and then, having to march on pavement again after resting my feet for so long really aggrivated the feet blisters far worse than they would have been if we had just continued marching to this new site when we first arrived. But then again SNAFU's are definitely authentic military. But as I said, when in the military or pretend military, you have to roll with the punches.

Chuck A Luck
06-28-2006, 02:10 PM
John,
How many men were in this regiment and how little time did it take you to move camp.


I was in the 1st Maryland at Shen '62 (the unit to which John refers) & I can say safely that (despite my period-correct cussin' n' spittin') I was packed up & ready to go inside of 10 minutes. Just had to re-roll up my ground cloth & blanket & put my "harness" back on.

MDConfederate
06-28-2006, 02:39 PM
Brandon,

I'm sorry for not replying to your post. We had 59 men in our battalion. When the relocation orders came to us I was just waking up from a nap. It was a mess because the guys were either sleeping, touring the town, cooking, bathing, etc. My orders gave me five minutes to move out which was impossible. I did not push the men and in fact we kind of took our sweet time. I felt bad making them move camp. We were probably reading to go in about 20 minutes, but we could have done it faster if it was a life or death situation. Keep in mind as a battalion commander there is the time that YOU receive the order and the time the men learn the orders. You've got to factor at least 5 to 10 minutes just to spread the word. Some guys were faster than others, so it is realistic that individuals could be packed and ready in 5 to 10 minutes, but to get everyone together and ready took time. We had some stragglers who had been touring the town.

John A. Wyman
Chesapeake Volunteer Guard

MDConfederate
06-28-2006, 02:51 PM
I had another interesting campaign experience this past weekend. I was camped along the Gun Powder River at Jerusalem Mill for a small event. I had a shelter half set up over my stuff as rain was expected. The day was dry until about 5:00 PM. Then it rain and rained. We suspected that the river would rise. My shelter half did a good job protecting my stuff from above, but it completely failed to stop the inch or two of water that flowed underneath. Just about everything of mine was completely soaked. I quickly recovered everything and got it to a primative but good log cabin and canvas structure that was on the site. Yes, everything was wet, but it could all be dried and saved with little trouble. The more mainstream camp was not as lucky. A nearby creek flooded their camp with about a foot of water. An A-frame was knocked down and some haversacks started to float away. They could not as easily relocate. Plus, modern items in that situation added to the amount of items that became wet and needed to be moved. I'm really glad that I didn't have an A-frame, sleeping bag, or cooler.

I remember at McDowell a few years ago it rained and I just keep all my stuff in my knapsack and wore my gum blanket over me and my pack. Everything but my hat, shoes, and bottom half of my trousers stayed perfectly dry.

John A. Wyman
Chesapeake Volunteer Guard

Greg Deese
06-29-2006, 03:05 PM
If anybody is still campaigning at mainstream events, make sure to bring some traffic cones, and a strobe light, lest you get ran over by a ATV, golf cart, late arrival POV, RV, horse,, wagon, motorcycle, tractor, porta pottie truck, ice truck, hay/wood truck, shuttle bus, an extremely obese reenactor or any combination of the above. You might as well wrap up in a black gum blanket and go to sleep on I-85.

Or you could just attend better events where such traffic won't be on your company streets.

Button Whizzer
06-29-2006, 03:27 PM
Thanks for the answers. Moving a camp in five or ten minutes is very impressive, and pointing out how long it takes to find people at the sutlers or visiting other camps is something that I had not thought about.

Brandon

bill watson
06-29-2006, 06:53 PM
[QUOTE=Greg Deese]If anybody is still campaigning at mainstream events, make sure to bring some traffic cones, and a strobe light, lest you get ran over by a ATV, golf cart, late arrival POV, RV, horse,, wagon, motorcycle, tractor, porta pottie truck, ice truck, hay/wood truck, shuttle bus, an extremely obese reenactor or any combination of the above. You might as well wrap up in a black gum blanket and go to sleep on I-85.
QUOTE]

I seriously believe this problem was the real motivation behind the "we're campaigners, we'll sleep in the woods" thing.

This didn't dawn on me until we tried to set up a bivouac at a progressive event a couple of years ago and I realized that a handful of people didn't yet understand that the prohibition on vehicles after 6 p.m. Friday was a by-God real prohibition. It took the event organizers a few hours to round up the offenders and shoot them, and in the meantime we redeployed our bivouac slightly to get out of a travel way. Pretty scare to watch someone roll up in a rubber blanket, plop down and become a shadow in the grass, then see headlights coming around the corner..... WE didn't actually go in the woods, but we used the kitchen area and a brush pile as deflectors.

tompritchett
06-29-2006, 08:00 PM
That is why some events require ground guides when bringing vehicles into camp after dark. Standard procedure for my unit.

TeamsterPhil
06-29-2006, 08:16 PM
bringing vehicles into camp after dark

I try to avoid driving a wagon anyhwere after dark unless I know every rock and rut in the path.

Phil

114Zouave
06-30-2006, 07:24 AM
Being able to wear my knapsack in a battle, knowing I'm doing what I should be doing, and not whats easier.

MDConfederate
06-30-2006, 09:34 AM
It can be interesting arriving to a campaign camp after dark. At the first McDowell I ever attended, perhaps 5 or 6 years ago, I arrived around 11 PM. Fortunately, I was with two other guys as it was pretty creepy. We parked and got all of our stuff and then headed for camp. The first question was, where the heck is camp? We couldn't see any clear signs of a camp as they are all back in the woods all the Bullpasture River. We got some directions and made our way to the dirt road that led to camp. It was pretty spooky on that walking along the river. We found the camp but had to be careful about stepping on people. The next question was, who are these questions? It took some time but we eventually found our unit.

The other interesting campaign experience involving arriving after dark was at Recon II. That was the one at Cedar Creek. I arrived at about 10 PM and unfortunately was by myself. Registration was at the Cedar Creek visitor's center. When I asked about the location of the Confederate camp I was told that it was way over there, and the person pointed in a southwesterly direction. They told me to walk down the road and turn right at some monument. I saw some other guys and decided to follow them. They headed to Belle Grove and ended up running into some cavalry that must have been serving as some sort of advanced pickets. The cavalry directed us back to the road and said the camp was to the south. We couldn't see a darn thing, so we went back to the road and continued hiking to the south. We found the monument but only because we stopped to rest. While resting, someone noticed the monument and said, "Hey guys do you think this is the monument that marks the trail to camp?" Sure enough there was a trail, so we turned right as instructed. We hiked for a while up the trail and were arrested by the pickets. We were escorted to a second line of pickets and asked many questions. They concluded that we were not spies and released us to find our units. I was directed hear and there to various camps and could not find my company. Finally I got angry and told them that I was normally an officer in another organization and good friend of one of the organizers. It was interesting how quickly they helped me find my group. It was about midnight when I finally settled down, so it took me about two hours to get to camp.

John A. Wyman

Bill_Cross
07-02-2006, 04:44 PM
The more mainstream camp was not as lucky. A nearby creek flooded their camp with about a foot of water. An A-frame was knocked down and some haversacks started to float away. They could not as easily relocate. Plus, modern items in that situation added to the amount of items that became wet and needed to be moved. I'm really glad that I didn't have an A-frame, sleeping bag, or cooler.
I was tempted to say something about "having the good sense to come in out of the rain," but I thought better of it.

I feel bad for the folks whose stuff got wet. Maybe if they took less stuff to events?

The Boys of 186X generally knew enough not to camp in a low place where the water would flood them out. We don't have those field skills, and sometimes it shows.

flattop32355
07-02-2006, 10:37 PM
I was tempted to say something about "having the good sense to come in out of the rain," but I thought better of it.

Yeah, they weren't able to in 186X.


The Boys of 186X generally knew enough not to camp in a low place where the water would flood them out. We don't have those field skills, and sometimes it shows.

It was a skill that many of them had learn the same as us. Lots of them were city boys without field skills and had to follow the learning curve, too.

Bill_Cross
07-03-2006, 09:43 AM
It was a skill that many of them had learn the same as us. Lots of them were city boys without field skills and had to follow the learning curve, too.
Yes, they learned quickly to throw away everything but the most-essential. Cots and coolers would've been #1 and #2 on that list.

RJSamp
07-03-2006, 10:34 AM
The Boys of 186X generally knew enough not to camp in a low place where the water would flood them out. We don't have those field skills, and sometimes it shows.

Actually they camped where they were placed, and often it wasn't the ideal place to camp. Plenty of quotes of bivouacking in corn fields.....rain filling the ruts.....even an officer who moved his rubber blanket that was acting as a dam and he was flooded out of his sleeping position.....[Antietam].

Mosquito's, bad water, lowlands, etc....

My guess is they camped in the 'raised' ground for military/tactical decisions (the defensive advantage of the high ground had long been known), not field skills or escaping flood waters.

Field Skills? I think Bernie and you have this idea that they camped out more than modern Boy Scouts do.....whether city, farmer, craftsman, town, lumberman, or riverman they tended to sleep under cover...with a fireplace, working kitchen, and a structure to ward off the elements. The winter quarters they created were a substitute for home, but not a replacement.....but certainly closer to what they had lived in as a civilian than any 'field skill' development you all are thinking about. Even the Indians in northern Wisconsin who served in many different regiments didn't 'camp'/bivouack in the 'campaigning' sense of the word unless they were out hunting.

Even the pioneers had the sense to sleep UNDER of in their wagons.

We tend to forget that many of the infantry soldiers had driven their family to town with a 1 or two up team...could ride well even though they were now trudging around the country side......slept on decent beds with glass windows and a hot iron to warm them through the night....and had a rain and wind proof room over their heads even though they lived out in the 'country'.

Bill_Cross
07-03-2006, 10:57 AM
RJ, you're making a good point, though not drawing the obvious conclusion: campaigning isn't the same thing as free-style camping.

This may seem obvious, but campaigners who attend mainstream events often go off and camp in the woods just to be different, rather than being a part of an integrated unit. The result is a divide that has more to do with hobby politics than history. While the campaigners are camping the way THEY would've back then, they're also off on their own, something that would NOT have happened in the face of the enemy. So in a sense, both wings of the hobby are acting ahistorically at mainstream events in the way they camp.

The desire of many of us to discard the impediments of mainstream reenacting doesn't mean that it's OK simply to lie down anywhere in the trees and "do your own thing." THEY were campaigners because they had to be, often out-marching their supply trains, or worse, having no supplies reach them for long periods at a time. The fact that Rebels slept without tents shouldn't be seen as a badge of honor, but a statement of necessity: CSA troops would've gladly had the tents their bluebelly opponents often took for granted.

My attempt at humor in pointing out that THEY would've discarded their cots and coolers is because THEY had to. While I don't expect to change anyone's mind about "heavy camping," my point was to prod the young and newbies not to think that a cot is historical in anything but a garrison or Winter quarters scenario (and a cooler never).

Ol'Hickory
07-03-2006, 12:55 PM
I cant really say why becuase I havent done it before, but its that historic thing..the human race can learn a lot, not jsut from mistakes made e.g. somme, scots at colluden, rebs at gettysburg but also from the wisdom of the older generations, those people who have passed but left their mark like churchill, Nelson or wellington.

I'd love nothing else than getting away from the ignorant modern world and living a different life in a different time.

Trimmings
07-06-2006, 02:02 PM
The Civil War soldier definitely had some skills, and he certainly wasn't stupid, but if you have ever been in the army you'd know the army can put men in stupid situations on a regular basis. Some outfit has to take the low end of a bottom land pasture with a storm approaching, the hind end of the column on a dusty pike, or march across a freshly plowed field in the rain. Soldiers adapt, improvise and overcome these problems or just tough it out. Reenactors get damp, get soiled, or get cramps from too much funnel cake and slink on back home.

Eat a banana. It is good for you.

Ray Prosten

Ol'Hickory
07-06-2006, 02:06 PM
The Civil War soldier definitely had some skills, and he certainly wasn't stupid, but if you have ever been in the army you'd know the army can put men in stupid situations on a regular basis. Some outfit has to take the low end of a bottom land pasture with a storm approaching, the hind end of the column on a dusty pike, or march across a freshly plowed field in the rain. Soldiers adapt, improvise and overcome these problems or just tough it out. Reenactors get damp, get soiled, or get cramps from too much funnel cake and slink on back home.

Eat a banana. It is good for you.

Ray Prosten

What bannas on a reenactment??, they are indeed good for you! nice potassium

I eat lots of fruit now, like plums and peaches and apples we havent had any good fruit in recently its been going mouldy fast but we should be greatful for mould..its a living breathing organism like us, ooh if we have any blackcurrent or rasberry bushes thatd be really good.

captdougofky
07-06-2006, 03:02 PM
If I had to do it all over I might have went A/C I have been to events and I see you guys loading up and heading out and I'm still trying to get the Cannon loaded. I would not have to worry about having 7 people working the gun etc. Now at my age those long marches are for the younger guys. Reminds me of my youth heading out for a weekend with a 22 rifle and ol pup tent, cutting the poles for it when we got there. I went Artillery which I do love its just all the things that go with it at times that get old. But the fun and fellowship with others is what keeps me in the hobby.

Always Doug
Lyons Batery
Kentucky