I put a lot of thought into my hit taking, and try to porytray something nearly impossible to portray as well as I can. Without blood it will always be less than realistic. I now try to portray a wounded hit than being killed. I think the thing that we need to work on is more wounded waliking off the field as opposed to dead.
The year after 9/11, I attended a French and Indian War event at Fort Ligonier, PA, just a few miles up the road from where the plane went down. Those sponsoring the event decided that casualty taking would be inappropriate, and announced such to the spectators. While understanding their point, I did not agree with it.
When we simulate a battle, we supposedly try to simulate it as accurately as possible, within the framework of modern safety and reason. Removing casualties from that scenario, even when "done badly", I think takes away from some of that accuracy, potentially leaving the public with an even more skewed sense of history. With the exception of the original bombardment of Fort Sumter, I am not aware of any major engagement in the Civil War that did not entail casualties. It is a part of what we seek to portray and to impart to the public; a sense, if not the reality, of what it was like back then.
I have never seen it documented as to whether the veterans took casualties at their reenactments of their battles. Somehow, I doubt that they did. But then, they had already been through that, and didn't need reminding.
I think we need to go back to the “Death Angel”, routine, where in some of the cartridge boxes a round is replaced by the sergeant, a black round for death and a red round for wounded, then when the soldier fired his black round, he then died, or after he fired his red round, he became a wounded soldier. It is more sporadic and looks a whole lot better than everyone firing for 30 minutes, and then start to take hits cus were tired or out of blanks. Also with this “Angle” seniero you still have soldiers that go thru the entire battle unscathed, the “Angel of Death” didn’t touch them at all.
I also remember when it was agreed upon beforehand that when the artillery fired at advancing Infantry, 8 to 10 men would all go down after the blast, simulating the effects of artillery on massed troops, the crowd loved it so to speak. You could hear the intake of breath as they saw a whole left end of a column of troops falling and dropping from a load of “Canister”, it was a good educator as to how brave these men were, marching into the jaws of death, unafraid, or at least not showing it if they were. I remember when Calvary used to take hits, it looked a whole lot better than just ridding past each other and firing revolvers into the air and waving sabers, the men actually dropped off their mounts and held onto then reins to control the horse, others had trained there horse to go down and lay with them, on close inspection you could see the rider holding onto the horses head and talking to it, but from a distance it looked like horse and rider were both dead.
I myself believe we need more dead and wounded on the fields, we are not there to glorify war as a fun way of dealing with governments, but to remember and show what our ancestors went thru to make America what it is today. If we go “PC” anymore with our hobby we might as well go out on the field with no confederate flags, because it might offend someone, no weapons, cus it might offend someone or traumatize the children, no firing because it could hurt someone’s ears, no shooting at anyone because we don’t want to traumatize the children nor our fellow reenactor, he might think we don’t like him and develop a complex. No one should die because after all, we wouldn’t want to remind people that war kills and maimes, and we can’t allow folks to have nightmares or remind them of their dead family members, it could mark them with a sad experience.
You see where this could go if we allow any more Politically Correctness to intrude into our teaching of history.
Pvt. Gerald Drake
24 NC Infantry
I love the idea of marked cartridges.
"I love the idea of marked cartridges. "
How do I get them into my bundles?
Just a-funnin', just a-funnin'... :) :)
Hoping I'm not preaching to the choir.
With only a few exceptions, actual battle causualties were much less than one might assume.
Go back and read Company and Regimental reports!
X vs X on X day,standing 40 feet apart firing for 45 minutes.
Maybe 4 KIA and 8 WIA, with a few boys "captured" ( Either or both sides )
Most of the boys in Blue or Gray were hopefully like you and I.
Surely did not want to die, but also weren't that comfortable with killing the other fellow.
You can also go to events that are not battlecentric, living history events that only have firing demonstrations or no need to bring a weapon are available.
To take the idea in a bit of a different direction, I personally have become a bit anti-battle in my years in the hobby.
Recently, there seem to be too many events (at least in the midwest) that are becoming travesties. More and more inauthentic troops are coming in (I consider myself a progressive, nothing against my mainstream brothers, Im talking about the straight-up farb) that are to me, ruining events. The battles consist of 10 or so on each side, blasting away for 20 minutes, and when a hit is taken, totally ridiculous and I daresay, some make it "comical?" I mean, people "suffering" or being "funny" when they die? It's almost sick. I dont mean to sound self-righteous or holier-than-thou, but havent we all seen events like this?
At one battle, it became so bad I just vowed never to take the field at the event again; Buckskin indians and enough dismounted cav to make your eyes bleed from the amount of bright canary yellow. The battles are becoming some sort of sick "entertainment" instead of displays of history. How can I go on the field knowing how horribly my ancestors died in these battles, and make it....entertaining? This is not why I joined the hobby. I think that I will still attend these events, because simply not going and supporting the event is maybe even a worse thing to do than having a joke of a battle. I would be attending the event as a living history, with my small camp and my pards doing a little more up close and personal education. Until then, I think the only battles I will be attending as a combatant will be nationals, large-number events, and the small local events that are genuinely trying to be authentic and educational.
That's a good point. With most large reenactments the sense of unreality comes from hyper-close ranges and inordinately high rates of fire.
Originally Posted by Longbranch 1
The best stats I've seen indicate about 200 rounds fired for every hit -- not every death, but any hit at all. About 20-25 % of those would result in men killed outright.
The rate of fire from a muzzle-loading rifle-musket would reach about one and a half shots a minute. You can go on Youtube and see the campaigner battalion firing at Shiloh -- with about 400 men firing 600 rounds a minute, it sounds like an old Maxim gun, but the resulting casualties would average three men every 60 seconds.
No hits at all would look more realistic than no hits followed by a mass-die off in the last three minutes as we often see.
If we do take hits, most of them should result in walking or crawling wounded. And we should probably have at least as many men drifting back or going to ground unwounded as actual casualties.
Bernard, Kevin and Mr. Schaffner all have excellent points that made me think that there must be some middleground to represent both of these realities, and still provide some 'action' both for our own interests and for any spectators. Perhaps there might be better coordination at having fewer, well-done hits combined with more breaking of ranks, retreating/regrouping and flat out routes after a good volley or two. Having just read a history of the 1862 Valley Campaign (the first ACW book I have picked up in about 8 years), I was surprised to read about the number of units that broke with few or no casualties.
Just a thought.