A sub-topic began on the 150th Sharpsburg thread that the mods closed because it was getting off-topic, but they also suggeted starting it up elsewhere.
Under that thread, I suggested that the NPS LH event at G-burg for the 150th was lacking in its concept and I do feel it is not going to be all that it could be. There is no changing the bureaucratic fiddle-faddle at this point, it is what it is. But, IMO, had the NPS put some imagination to it, I think it did not have to be just another LH encampment like every other one on the planet. R.J. Stamp disagreed, or rather misunderstood my point, so I'ld like to answer him, if I may:
I said nothing about any military maneuvers at G-burg from early in the 20th century. Be they right or wrong, the point is moot. I'm talking about the 150th... nothing else.It's better than having the Army or Marines run reenactments with tanks and modern uniforms\weaponry on National Park ground.
...and possibly better than having veterans march across with suits and canes, shaking hands across the wall (now we know how THEY would have reenacted it\how THEY would have 'honored' those that went before).If a group of UCV and GAR reenactors, who were portraying the old veterans, wanted to do this, I'd have no issue with it, but again, the subject is 150th and living historians/reenactors portraying Civil War soldiers in the field on the Gettysburg battlefield.When the vets encamped at GBurg they used formal camps, duckboard walkways, modern tents.....
If by "bivouac style" you mean not setting up a regulation by-the-book camp, yes. If by "bivouac style" you mean at the end of the day, throwing your ground cloth down and, weather permitting, erecting no tents, sleeping on the battleline, not in an orderly encampment, then yes.What are you asking for anyway, a bivouac style encampment?
My question to you is, why wouldn't you want to do something special like that for 150th Gettysburg on the actual battlefield? Why wouldn't you want, just this once, on such a special occassion, bivouac on the field just like they did during the battle? Why does evey LH event have to automatically be the same dull encampment... every... single.... time? The endless reenactments of "Hardtack and Coffee" are getting old, folks. Gettysburg was a battlefield, not a Valley Forge-like encampment. So why are you (the NPS and its VIPs) creating an encampment?
I'm not talking about doing any kind of gruelling marches in 100 degree weather. A regiment-sized group of reenactors could spend most of the day in the shade, not in the frying pan that the PA monument LH encampment area always turns into in the summer. You could do the occassional firing demo for the powder-burners and public to "wow" over... but then, at the end of the day, lie down under arms, just like they did 150 years ago. It is still sleeping on the ground, just not in a regulation camp. If it rains, then adapt... set up tents.... on the battleline.... just like they would have on July 4, 1863 when it rained. I gurrantee that the armies would not have broken their battleline formation to set up nice camps with perfectly straight streets, all by the book, during the nighttime hours at the battle of Gettysburg. So why do it for the 150th? Oh, well its better than some military manuevers from 1911... or whenever. Whatever.
You can call my concept for what it should be a "reenactment" if you want, but I don't. Its simply showing the public how the soldiers actually would have bivouaced on the field during the battle. It IS NOT creating some fictious, fantasy encampment with a lot of nonsensical "dress parades". There is a dress parade every November for Remembrance Day. Why in God's name do the same thing again in July?
It seems to me that the 150th required doing something different to make it really, really special. But that's not going to happen. Its going to be another NPS encampment with reenactors with spotless uniforms giving the public a false impression about how soldiers looked in the field. Yawn. How much better it would be if you could come back from that event and say, "We slept in battleline formation, just like they did during the battle." Instead its, "We had a living history encampment, did the usual firing demos, and had a ceremony or two." To this I say... big deal.