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Thread: Food for thought, nothing more: discourage or abolish "hit taking"?

  1. #41

    Default A Field Officer's Perspective

    Rob Weaver
    Originally Posted by flattop32355
    One thing we almost never do at reenactments is to demonstrate the exchange of one unit in the line by another, and the replaced unit assembling behind the lines to regroup/rearm/take on water, etc. Usually when it is done, it is by some parade ground maneouver, or worse, by some reenactorism maneouver.

    I haven't seen units relieved on the line in 20 years, about the same time that the extreme rate of fire and "powder burning" rose in popularity. I'd like to see em again, too.


    Sorry, if this does not come out correctly, I'm new to this cut and paste stuff.

    I think that many would be surprised if they knew how much battlefield tactics are discussed among regimential and brigade commanders. All the good ones that I know spend time studying, and talking things over. They want to get it right, just as much as anyone in the ranks does, maybe more.

    And from time to time we try some different things, to see how they work in a reenacting setting, as opposed to a real battlefield. There are dramatic differences.

    But none of this is any different than what the real CW officers did. They used drills and sham battles against each other to test theories, and to find the best way to get things done. They learned on the job.

    The original plan for the Cornfield fight at MMM called for 3 battalions in line, with each battalion seperating two companies to the rear, as a second line. Then each battalion commander was to cause his own passage of lines, and relieve different companies at his discretion.
    However, once we got on the site, and saw how many we had, and how many were actually in each battalion, we made some changes. After consulting with my staff,and brigade commanders, we pulled one battalion out of that line and moved them over to the Iron Brigade line coming out of the woods. As evidenced by the reports of the participants, it was the right move to make.
    This type of thing is pretty normal for us. Registration lists only give us a possible ammount of each group. We do not get to reality unitl we get into camp.

    The men who hold division, birgade and regimential responsibilites at most events know of these things. And ideas are constantly thrown out there. But most of the time we simply do not have enough men to cover the ground, and still have a 2nd line to bring in. Usually we attempt something like that with skirmish lines, as that is the best we can do.

    Also, we cannot ignore history just to put on a good show. Take Brawner's Farm for instance. That fight lasted about 3 hours, and the Federal line basically just stood there and fired the entire time. They didn't execute a passage of lines with anyone.
    Now if we are doing a Gettysburg Wheatfield scenario, then passage of lines would and should occur all over the place.

    Mike Lavis
    49th NYVI
    Army of the Ohio

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    175

    Default

    It is intersting to note Special Order Number 26 from General John Crose concerning ammunition for those regiments armed with Henry repeating rifles. He orders a wagon load of ammunition for each regiment, Dec 7, 1864. Resupply was usually close at hand. While the Spencer rifle and the Henry rifle could fire a lot faster that doesn't mean that they shot until all of their ammunition was gone. Using a repeating rifle was intense fire in a short period of time, not for hours on end. Taking a hit in reenactments is necessary otherwise it is burning powder with no purpose.

    For those where "trigger time" or burning powder is not their thing, there are living history events where a person can "show and tell" about all aspects of the Civil War. However if the event is indeed a battle tactical or public battle not to have "trigger time" or taking of hits does not do justice to what the event organizers are trying to recreate. Those against firing can make the determinination to attend or not to attend. However trigger time whether a muzzle-loader or a repeating rifle should be on par with what the weapon could realistically fire as I had mention earlier.

    Somewhere along the way it seems that "trigger time" for at least some has become a negitive comment. It is hard to have a recreation of a battle without weapons being used and hits being taken. To fire 30 to 40 rounds per day in a 4 day event with all day tacticals the first 2 days and public battles the other 2 days would not be unreasonable.
    Andrew L. Bresnan
    Victory Thru Rapid Fire
    National Henry Rifle Company http://44henryrifle.webs.com/index.htm
    LBL Tactical 1991 7th Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry Henry Company
    Bentonville 2010

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,126

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 44 Henry View Post
    For those where "trigger time" or burning powder is not their thing, there are living history events where a person can "show and tell" about all aspects of the Civil War. However if the event is indeed a battle tactical or public battle not to have "trigger time" or taking of hits does not do justice to what the event organizers are trying to recreate. Those against firing can make the determination to attend or not to attend.
    I think you have misunderstand my point. I am not against firing or taking hits, just surrendering to the imperative that "the boys" must have "trigger time" or they won't enjoy the event, preferably until their boxes are empty, then they all fall down go boom.
    Somewhere along the way it seems that "trigger time" for at least some has become a negative comment.
    The term is meant as a pejorative, yes. The expression implies that playing soldier is more important than recreating history.

    If the purpose of the event is to recreate the history as closely as possible, then our use of firing should try to approximate the historical record (to the extent it is known). While we don't have sound recordings of battles, we can often find out how much ammunition was issued to each unit. We also have accounts that describe the action. We should try to hew to those accounts as much as is practicable.

    Where we lack specifics, then sound historical research can help. There were physical limits to how fast a CW long arm could be fired & reloaded. These are often ignored by cries to "pour it on," and the ingrained belief that we are competing against the other side. And as I pointed out earlier, fouling prevented CW muskets from engaging in the long firefights we concoct at modern events.

    Finally, the entire way we "take hits" and portray casualties is so out-of-step with the history as to be an obscenity: firing until one's powder is used up, lying on the field of battle watching the action or taking photos, or otherwise heavying-up the KIA at the expense of wounded men streaming to the rear.... None of this is historical.

    If you want to see it done right, watch the CVGs at any event. These young men not only look good, they try very hard to portray the boys of 186X as accurately as possible, including taking an historical amount of hits and running to the rear instead of dropping in their tracks. We need more reenactors like them.
    Bill Cross
    Treasurer, The Rowdy Pards

    'In the end, it's the history, stupid. If you can't document it, forget about it. And no amount of tomfoolery can explain away anything that makes history (and living historians) look stupid and wrong."

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    3

    Smile Fresh Fish offers up new way to fry old food.

    [QUOTE=Bill_Cross;212249]

    If the purpose of the event is to recreate the history as closely as possible, then our use of firing should try to approximate the historical record (to the extent it is known). While we don't have sound recordings of battles, we can often find out how much ammunition was issued to each unit. We also have accounts that describe the action. We should try to hew to those accounts as much as is practicable.

    Where we lack specifics, then sound historical research can help. There were physical limits to how fast a CW long arm could be fired & reloaded. These are often ignored by cries to "pour it on," and the ingrained belief that we are competing against the other side. And as I pointed out earlier, fouling prevented CW muskets from engaging in the long firefights we concoct at modern events.

    Finally, the entire way we "take hits" and portray casualties is so out-of-step with the history as to be an obscenity: firing until one's powder is used up, lying on the field of battle watching the action or taking photos, or otherwise heavying-up the KIA at the expense of wounded men streaming to the rear.... None of this is historical.

    QUOTE]

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    3

    Default Try Try again


    I am a newcomer, or fresh fish as it were ( I actually likethe term) to the field of Civil War Reenacting. I have always wanted to portraya union officer since I was a kid. I do apologize for that slight digress, butI wondered if anyone has proposed the following:



    Before any particular tactical or other such event, have selectcompanies of men stand before the audience and have someone describe thecasualty rates for units under artillery fire, or infantry to infantry, woundsand deaths. Whenever the announcer describes the company taking a volley fromthe other side, have select members lay down or walk out of the company to showthe audience the impact as it were of the minie ball or cannister round etc.



    That way you can engage in the manuevers and reduce the needfor hit taking.



    Put it another way :



    1. Company A has 100 men in formation.

    2. Artillery cannister hits Company A.

    3. 8 members take the hit and lay down within the formation. Everyone else remains where theyare. To show the effect have the 8 men in question all come from the first lineof soldiers.

    4. describe to the attending audience what just happened.



    1. Company A gets into a protracted battle ala infantry v.infantry.

    2. as the battle is described, have select members of thecompany lay down to signify kills.

    3. Have those selected for wounds step out of formation andmove to the side.

    4. As this happens explain to the audience what types ofwounds or death injuries would have most likely occured.



    The result would be a better understanding of theseriousness of the civil war battle in question. The audience would appreciateand better understand the plight of the american soldier blue or gray, throughthis demonstration.



    The company soldiers involved would likewise be recognizedthrough the demonstration as being actual individuals and not just bits ofuniform and rifle muskets.



    Think of the lessons learned. And of the stomach churningrealization of just what type of loss occurs when war comes upon us.



    Regards,



    Fresh Fish

    Konrad Dean Williams



    PS, I am working on portraying a union field and staffofficer, by volunteering over at Fort Pulaski. Wars come and go but paperworkis forever!

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    37

    Default strechers

    I try to take a hit at least once a battle because allot of times I am the only one doing so. something I do not see allot is the use of stretchers, or medics for that matter. Sometimes I see "Ice angels" or medical personnel walking around and checking on wounded but I never see them take anybody off the field. AT the 145th Shiloh I saw alt least 4 wooden foldible stretchers working at taking the wounded [and the dead] off the field to a field hospital. Why don't I ever see that anymore? I mean there was almost always corpsmen at the battles and if there weren't the wounded men's buddies would help/carried them off the field or out of the way, [NOT back into the line of battle were they could resume the fight]. Yes Cav not taking hits is kinda stupid looking, but the worst looking IMHO is a bunch of Infantry/Cavalry charging a Battery of cannons and taking no hits even though the cannons would be shooting Grape shot and Cannister. Thats my 2c.

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